By Divya Bhat
With Aerosmith, Ludacris, Cardi B, Maroon 5 and the likes setting the scene, the city of Atlanta is all set to host the Super Bowl 2019. This is the third time that Atlanta will be hosting the mega sporting event, after 1994 and 2000. This obviously comes as great news (with its own set of challenges) to all hoteliers in and around the city. In fact, most accommodation options almost always sell out months in advance when it comes to Super Bowls! But is that all there is for hoteliers to cash in on? We think not.
Assuming that you’ve hit jackpot just because you are sold out for the Super Bowl season is a big mistake. Getting your bookings in place is half the battle won. There are multiple other things you will have to focus on to truly make the most of this season. In this blog post, we will be discussing some of the most effective ways by which hotels can improve their Super Bowl season guest experience. An improved guest experience strategy, as we all know, is a definite way to increase guest loyalty, improve online reviews and reputations as well as increase revenue in the long-run!
Events like these, provide you with the golden opportunity of building long-term associations with your guests. Here’s how. Let’s take a closer look at your Super Bowl guests. These are everyday people who leave their lives behind to come and be part of sporting history. They travel great distances to be at the host city and to watch the matches live. These are not your regular leisure guests who have come to you to relax and unwind. Their reasons are different and very specific. And in this detail lies your treasure.
Here are a few things you can do, to bowl over your Super Bowl guests:
Here’s a pointer that is more strategic than tactical. Most business owners don’t give customer experience due credit in that they assume it is a short-term solution to an immediate situation at hand. It is not. When done right and with the proper measures in place, guest engagement can take you a long way in redefining your brand as a guest-centric one. And if that is not relevant to the hotel industry, I don’t know what is!
Let the Super Bowl LIII be your first step towards transforming your guest experience strategy. Here are four quick strategies you can adapt to improve your hotel guest experience during the Super Bowl:
1. Make sure your pantry is well stocked
Coming back to the point that guests who arrive at your hotel during this period are there for a very specific reason. It is essential, therefore, to equip yourself with everything that they might need during their stay, so they wouldn’t have to go looking elsewhere! And history suggests that Superbowl fans need little outside of beer, chicken wings and pizzas! I kid you not. Check out these stats:
American consume a total of 325 million gallons of beer, 1.33 billion chicken wings and 12.5 million pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday alone! In fact, according to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, the Super Bowl is the second largest food consumption day in America, after Thanksgiving!
Super Bowl fans, whether they have made a reservation at your hotel or they are at your bar to watch the match, need their steady supply of beer. Make sure you plan well and stock up adequately because beer sales are going to soar during this period!
2. The devil is in the details
Make sure your finger food menu is exciting by renaming items on the menu to go with the Super Bowl theme. Using names of teams could be one way to go about it! Get creative and add elements of football to the names of the items so your guests never lose touch with their Super Bowl reality.
Same with the cocktails and signature drinks. You could use the colors of the teams to create new drinks or even just switch to a football themed presentation. There are myriad ways in which you can make this experience unparalleled for your guests. How far you are willing to go is totally up to you!
For those guests who are at the stadium for the matches, you might want to get thoughtful and design a hangover cure kit and attach a catchy name to it, so your guests wake up fresh next day! These little things can go a long way in designing their stay experience.
Your décor needs to keep up with the raging adrenaline, so spice things up by creating a Super Bowl feel at the most frequented parts of your hotel – around the lobby, at the resto, the bar, perhaps even the pool area! You need to win over your guests by making yourself a part of the community. But you also don’t want to over do it lest it appears cheesy!
3. Don’t forget the before-after part of guests’ stay
Make sure you draft your pre-arrival email thoughtfully and cleverly such that your guests look forward to staying with you! Tell them what awaits them and keep ’em hooked. The same applies to the post-departure email.
Convey how much you enjoyed hosting your guests while they witnessed one of America’s greatest sporting events. Keep it crisp yet impactful, simple yet genuine. Things like this will stay in their memory and will go a long way in building long-term guest relations.
4. Guest Loyalty is real. Act on it when you can.
Collecting guest data at the most appropriate time so you can reach out to them and nurture the association over time is one of the fundamental ways of building guest loyalty. Also, make sure you build a culture of guest-centricity across your hotel’s departments, so service is prompt, genuine and pleasant. Every single touchpoint creates an impression on the guest, which is why you need to make sure that there are no loose ends.
Loyalty is a tricky thing because not all unhappy guests hate you and not all happy guests will promote you! Playing your cards right is where the trick lies. When you get a negative review, respond to the review and address their concerns gracefully. If they have a reasonable point, validate it and promise them that it will be fixed. When you have fixed it, communicate to them that you have, in fact, worked on it and that you are ready to host them again at a discounted rate! This could convince them that you are a hotel that takes guest loyalty seriously and they might just turn into promoters.
At the same time, happy guests are not synonymous with loyal guests. Loyalty in this case is nurtured over time. When you repeatedly and consistently delight them, they stand a higher chance of being loyal to your hotel and promoting you in their circles.
For all of this, you will have to actively seek feedback which can be automated, thanks to a PMS. A robust PMS will also help you stay on top of all the reviews your hotel receives on online review portals so you can deep dive into them and learn where you can improve. We’ll understand the importance of having a PMS during events like the Super Bowl in the next section.
Here’re some other ideas for you to win at the guest experience game, this Super Bowl:
- You could rename your rooms to suit the occasion, perhaps team names or MVPs from the previous season. This could just add that extra sense of football fraternity in your guests!
- You could stock up on football merchandise at your souvenir/gift shop POS. This is a great way for people to remember you by!
- Another great way of delighting your guests is by offering a free Super Bowl goodie bag with carefully picked out memorabilia/knick knacks. It doesn’t have to be grand or opulent. Even something like a couple of cookies with a lovely message on them would do the job.
- Take it up a notch at the bar too by throwing in football themes coasters. Teams would be a great starting point so that the supporters of each team could pick their respective coasters, bringing in some healthy competition at the bar!
- To deliver a more child-friendly guest experience, you could have a photobooth at your lobby or around the pool area so the kids could pose with cut outs of their favorite football players!
These are but a few ideas. With creativity on your side, the world is yours when it comes to winning your guests over.
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Wondering if it’s too late for you to cash in on this year’s Super Bowl? Don’t worry. You can still put up a fantastic show next year to attract the Super Bowl crowd, no matter which city you are in. With Hotelogix powering you, you can be sure of getting it right.