Personalisation in hotel marketing – how to do it effectively, as told by Clare Reid, Hospitality Marketing Consultant.

Today’s travellers crave unique and memorable experiences. Gone are the days when a one-size-fits-all approach will suffice. Guests now expect hotels to understand their needs, preferences, and behaviours, and to respond appropriately. In this article, we’ll delve into the nuances of effective personalisation in hotel marketing and explore how you can leverage this approach to stand out in a crowded market place.

Understanding the Power of Personalisation

In the fiercely competitive landscape of the hospitality industry, hotels are constantly seeking innovative ways to attract and retain guests. Personalisation in marketing is one key strategy that has gained significant traction in recent years. The power of personalisation lies in its ability to create a connection, making guests feel valued and understood. It is not just a buzzword; it’s a fundamental shift in how hospitality businesses engage with their guests, which not only enhances guest satisfaction but also fosters brand loyalty. 

In a sector where guest satisfaction reigns supreme, personalisation is the secret sauce. Since setting up my marketing consultancy in 2021, I have worked with some of London’s leading hospitality businesses on their marketing strategies and plans. Prior to this, in my most recent in-house role, I spent five years at Dishoom, a restaurant company paying loving homage to the Irani Cafés of Bombay. 

At Dishoom, where I led marketing strategy and planning, we understood the significance of tailoring the guest experience to individual preferences. Whether it was offering a menu suggestion to round out someone’s meal, or recognising regular guests, the goal is always to make every visit memorable and unique. Hotel marketers can take a page from this book by leveraging data intelligently, understanding guest behaviour, and tailoring their communications.

Crafting Personalised Communication

The way hotels communicate with guests plays a pivotal role. Generic promotional emails and messages are no longer effective. Instead, hotels must adopt a more nuanced approach, tailoring their communication based on guest preferences.

The backbone of effective personalisation is data. Harnessing data from booking histories, guest feedback, and social media interactions effectively can offer insights into guest preferences, behaviour patterns, and even predict future needs. The key is to use data to anticipate guest desires and proactively offer tailored solutions. For example, if a guest frequently books spa services, a personalised invitation to a tailored spa package can be sent ahead of their stay. Or, if a guest often dines in the hotel restaurant, menu recommendations or special dishes can be shared ahead of their meal. A business traveller might appreciate a personalised email offering high-speed Wi-Fi and a quiet workspace, similarly, a  family might find value in personalised recommendations for nearby child-friendly activities or attractions.

Always lean towards offering guests extra value, rather than a discount, to avoid devaluing your services or making an exchange feel too transactional. The goal is to make guests feel valued and understood, not to knock money off a service they were probably going to pay for anyway. By segmenting guests by their characteristics and behaviour, and customising communication accordingly, hotels can enhance engagement and ensure their messages resonate with the intended audience.

Balancing Personalisation with Privacy

While personalisation offers immense benefits, it’s crucial to respect guest privacy. Hotels must be transparent about the data they collect and how it will be used. Additionally, guests should have the option to opt out of certain personalisation features if they prefer a more discreet stay. By prioritising data security and privacy, hotels can build trust with their guests, ensuring that personalisation efforts enhance rather than infringe upon the overall guest experience.

At a time when guest expectations are higher than ever, personalisation in hotel marketing has become a game-changer. Successful implementation involves leveraging data intelligently, crafting personalised communication, creating customised experiences, and embracing technology. As hotels continue to evolve their marketing strategies, the ability to offer tailored experiences will be the defining factor in attracting and retaining guests in an increasingly competitive market.