By Kacey Bradley

Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps brands more effectively connect with customers. You may not think it’s necessary to use in the hotel and hospitality industry. But, it’ll soon become clear that having CRM technology at your disposal can grow your brand and increase consumer satisfaction.

What Can CRM Software Do for You?

One misconception people often have about CRM software is that it’s merely a customer database. CRM software has a component that keeps information on all your customers, but it does much more.

For example, it can help you track which promotional materials you send to customers and how they respond to those methods. Then, you can maximize your budget and target people to encourage favorable actions. Many brands use their CRM software to send emails and track open rates. If an above-average number of recipients opens an email, that could indicate high interest in a topic.

A CRM interface can also inform you how many times a customer stayed in a particular hotel property over a specified period. If the tool indicates a person has a relatively new relationship with the brand but visited the hotel’s locations approximately once every three months, it might trigger your representatives to tell the customer about a loyalty program and encourage them to sign up.

Investing in CRM software can also make it easier to enhance customer experiences through access to one-of-a-kind treats that guests couldn’t get elsewhere. A CRM tool could show that a higher than average number of hotel occupants signed up for a fee-based cooking class with a celebrity chef. In that case, the brand might decide to offer a one-on-one cooking opportunity with that expert for the guests who can afford to splurge.

Or, if a hotel learns that a world-famous band is coming to town, it could form a partnership with the musicians that offers guests exclusive opportunities to buy backstage passes or something else not available to the general public. CRM tools help hotel and hospitality brands go above and beyond to please customers

Which Characteristics Should You Look for in CRM Software?

There are so many CRM software options on the market that it can be challenging to choose a solution that’s best for you. However, the task becomes less daunting if you focus on a few specific things.

First, ensure that whatever you choose can scale up as your business does. Then, it’ll be easier to justify the cost and, if necessary, convince your superiors that now is the time to purchase.

Also, prioritize user-friendliness. It’ll be harder to get your staff on board with the technology if it’s intimidating to learn and might require days or weeks of intensive training. Moreover, find a tool that offers quick access to help if things go wrong or questions arise. Having assistance available can help you feel more confident about making a change.

Aim to buy CRM software that takes care of all your needs within a single platform, too. For example, Configio is an event management platform that assists in every aspect of an event from start to finish. Use the tool to build an event website, sell tickets, distribute reminders to attendees and more. Generally, the more that CRM can automate manual processes, the better.

Finally, look for CRM software that fits your budget. If the software prices make you hesitant, think of the anticipated long-term payoffs. When CRM software saves you a substantial amount of time, it should boost productivity, too.

How Could CRM Software Give You a Competitive Advantage?

The internet substantially changed how people handle their travel needs. Many individuals book hotels themselves without depending on travel agents. This shift means that professionals in the hotel and hospitality industries must improve how they engage with guests. CRM software can help you continually meet and exceed guest expectations better than brands that don’t use such technology.

For example, CRM software provides historical data about things such as the time of year a person likes to travel, the average length of their excursions, the star level of the hotels they like best, the airlines they usually choose and more. Such information enables travel agents and other professionals to provide highly personalized travel advice for every client.

Without that collection of information, you have to rely on things like your memory and gut instinct. There’s no harm in making those things factor into the guidance you give customers. But, it’s even better to dig into detailed statistics that show an individual you remember their habits and preferences.

CRM software also works well for increasing guest retention rates. Imagine if a guest usually stays in allergy-friendly rooms at a property but forgot to request one of those units when making a reservation. CRM software could help a front desk representative notice that oversight and ask the customer if they’d like to switch to one of those special rooms instead.

Investigate CRM Solutions This Year

This overview of what you need to know about CRM software should make it clear that the technology offers an assortment of advantages that can help you do business. It’s a good idea to make firm plans in 2019 to at least see what benefits CRM tools could bring for your brand.