The hospitality and leisure sectors have undoubtedly been two of the hardest hit during the pandemic. Closures due to lockdown restrictions, along with social distancing measures forcing lower capacity have been driving down revenues for hotels, B&Bs, leisure centres, holiday providers and restaurants. This, coupled with a reluctance from patrons concerned about exposure to Covid-19, has made the last two years very challenging.
But as we slowly return to normal and the appetite among consumers for getting back out and enjoying life grows, hospitality is bouncing back – albeit in a different guise to 2019 and now under the cloud of the Omicron variant. Players in this industry must evolve their approach to engaging this new post-pandemic customer and meeting their needs.
Never has it been more important to engage potential and existing patrons and communicate the right information at the right time.
Identifying evolving customer considerations
With many new challenges and concerns facing visitors to hospitality, travel and leisure venues, operators need to identify these so they can adapt and react accordingly. In a world where social interactions and behaviour has changed beyond recognition, catering for these changes in venues that are essentially geared up for social interaction is challenging but necessary.
From hygiene practices and personal protection equipment implementation to social distancing measures and capacity limitations, visitors may be scrutinising these areas more closely. Ensuring the measures that are being taken are not just visual but communicated in other ways can help reinforce the message that efforts are being made.
Using intuitive solutions that provide sophisticated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) capabilities, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, enable organisations to easily execute multi-channel campaigns. This can help communicate organisation protocols in the areas that are important to visitors. Campaigns and communications can be seamlessly executed across email, web and social platforms. And with the capability to obtain deep, real-time insights on customer sentiment, marketing campaigns can be developed to hit exactly the right note.
The solution’s powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities can help provide better customer experiences by filling in data gaps and determining a next best action based on real-time insights. Maximise upselling and cross-selling opportunities in a competitive market with intuitive data analysis that provides insights from which personal, multi-channel campaigns can be developed.
Investing in technology that improves customer experience
Customer experience is king, especially in industries focusing on travel and leisure activities. Even before the pandemic, patrons of hospitality venues were becoming used to easy and contactless interactions when it comes to booking of hotels or restaurants, ordering and paying for food and drinks, and checking in and out of accommodation. With more people now keen to minimise touch points and social interaction, this has become a more important feature.
Investing in technology solutions that can facilitate mobile app-based functions to achieve the above tasks is crucial in this evolving landscape. Having contactless processes such as this that can automatically populate the CRM system with behaviour and buying habits data, can be used to inform business decisions – and this is a feature of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution, which facilitates a 360-degree view of the customer. Not only does having such capability improve customer experience but helps with an understanding of customer behaviour.
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Maximising revenues in a competitive landscape
Consumer finances are being squeezed more than ever, with rising energy, fuel and food prices meaning necessity is in many cases winning out over luxury. This means that any funds consumers divert to treats and nice-to-haves such as eating out, holidays, days out or memberships will be spent more considerately and carefully. There is a more discerning customer to cater for as a result.
A good experience is a major driver for decision-making among many customers, cost and value holds the trump card for others, and loyalty is a huge aspect for some. Therefore, hospitality operators need to understand each customer type and preference and react with schemes and offers accordingly. Loyalty schemes have been a firm fixture in the industry for a long time, but incentives may hold more weight and become more important to consumers as costs rise, their disposable income dwindles and people make more careful decisions on spend.
Having a customer loyalty system that operates in one silo, email marketing campaigns that sit in another and social media being executed separately will reduce opportunities for upselling and cross-selling. Furthermore, executing disjointed communications won’t offer the customer the seamless experience and service they are seeking.
Using a solution that enables the organisation to execute all activities from one platform, where cross-channel data can be used to unlock deeper insights, is vital to success in this industry. Microsoft D365 provides out-of-the-box custom interactive reports, which allow businesses to optimise the all-important customer journey.
The hospitality, travel and leisure sectors have experienced unprecedented disruption and turbulence as a result of the pandemic. While this has created a challenging landscape for industry operators, choosing the right technology solutions will be key to adapting and evolving to meet the fluctuating demands of patrons in this ‘new normal’.
From identifying and analysing sentiment and engagement from marketing campaigns, through to managing loyalty schemes and offers, the 360-degree view of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) that Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides gives one version of the truth, which will help in the quest to attract, engage and retain customers.
Want to learn more about how your hospitality operation can benefit from Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM? Why not complete our call back form and one of our expert team will be in touch to learn more about your challenges and goals.