As hotels begin to re-open globally, occupancy levels will be lower than anything we’ve experienced before. The goal for hotels is to maximize the revenue per available guest.

Optimizing revenue may seem like a daunting task during these unknown times. But it doesn’t have to be.

“As travel companies redesign their traveler experiences to address risks and anxieties related to COVID-19, they should remember that the pain points and trends that existed before the crisis—such as the shift toward a more digital and personalized journey, and an increased emphasis on wellness and sustainability—have not gone away…. Companies need to move beyond reassuring customers to exciting them, perhaps by looking for opportunities to create exceptional travel experiences.”  - McKinsey & Company

It’s time for hotels to think differently and be innovative. This time is about making more money with fewer customers. This may involve getting creative with new ideas and packages for delighting your guests. Or for many hotels, in the most basic form, the shortest path to revenue is through your most loyal customers.

How can you improve your guest loyalty and optimize revenue?

Reward your loyal hotel guests

First things first: make sure that you are making your loyal guests feel like the VIPs that they are. Nothing will make their loyalty run colder than being treated like a nobody after they’ve stuck their neck out to book with you during this tough time.

Cross-reference your PMS with your Loyalty Database to recognize loyal guests before check-in. Utilize your available room inventory by automatically offering them a room upgrade, if available. Make sure to notify the guest that they have been upgraded! Some may not recall the room type they originally booked so if they are not notified, your generosity may go unappreciated.

If more deluxe rooms are not available, or if you want to go the extra mile beyond just the upgrade, make sure that your loyal guests are given the VIP treatment throughout their stay. 

Be creative about upsell opportunities

Once customers walk through your doors - loyal or otherwise - the creative opportunities for you to further monetize their stay begin. 

Get a head start on this by showcasing upsell offers in a pre-stay welcome email, with links to contact you to book.

During stay, come up with creative revenue-generating opportunities. A few ideas we’ve heard include offering romantic private dinners in empty rooms, and partnering with local attractions and restaurants to create bundled packages.

Did you capture the guest’s contact details and get their marketing consent? If so, after the guest checks out, send them thoughtful next stay messages with personalized special offers. 

Give customers more choice and control

Wherever possible, empower customers to customize their guest experience using smarter, connected digital tools. Make it easier for them to modify or cancel their plans. In this period of uncertainty, flexibility may matter more than brand or price when it comes to cultivating customer trust and loyalty. 

Make an extra effort to personalize guest experiences

In this time of masks and social distancing, the most memorable guest experiences in hotels are ones where staff have gone the extra mile to add a human touch. We’ve heard of hotel staff calling first responders who were quarantining in their hotels to check on them and including notes of encouragement in their bagged lunches. What thoughtful gestures can you incorporate?

It costs up to five times as much to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. So use your time wisely and efficiently. Look after your existing customers. Give them a personalized guest experience and nurture their customer loyalty. By treating your loyal customers like the VIPs they are, you’ll optimize your revenue and create brand ambassadors.

Local Measure has compiled a comprehensive Covid-19 Re-Opening Playbook for the hotel and hospitality industry - a best practice guide based on observations from thousands of hospitality customers across the globe. Download the full guide here.