It has always been legally prohibited to contact or market to a guest, who came through an OTA. But since OTA websites are valuable channels to acquire new guests, only a few hotels followed this. If a guest, who has already stayed at a hotel, continues to book through the commissionable channel and not directly with the hotel, the hotelier has a problem with his marketing.
Not only does the new Booking email address have a negative impact on communication, it also impacts quality of the available data. This is particularly the case, if the guest profile is transferred via the Channel Manager interface directly to the hotel PMS or even more so, if the data is merged. Typically, the PMS adds the newest email address to the guest profile. This means that available contacts may be lost to the OTA, if the system overwrites the already existing and correct guest email address with the one created by Booking.com.
The impersonalized email address also has impacts the rating platforms. If a questionnaire is sent to the guest after departure to the Booking.com email address and the results are automatically transferred to a rating site, such as HolidayCheck, the review can no longer be considered by the portal, as an independent contact with the guest is no longer possible.
How can you as a smart hotelier react to this challenge? Here is our recommendation:
1. Send a normal pre-stay email directly to the guest and make use of cross- and up-selling potential.
2. Adapt your Registration Card: The registration card provided by dailypointTM, for example, does not show other email addresses, which means the guest can add his personal address.
3. Make sure that your guest has to provide his personal email address for identification purposes and to allow for automatic transfer of his review to the rating site.
4. By using dailypointTM external email addresses are automatically deleted from the guest profile and not considered during updates of existing profiles. This prevents existing personal email addresses to be overwritten with external unencrypted ones.
5. Encourage your Front Desk staff to use the daily arrival report to ask the guests for a valid email address.
Of course, the success of such activities has to be analyzed constantly. Another option is to incentivize the front office staff on the collecting of email addresses. An automatically generated report can show the updated OTA profiles and calculate the bonus to be distributed. No matter if you pay out one, two or five euros per correct email address, the effort will pay off. Not only you as a hotelier and your employees will benefit from it, you will also see a huge impact on the guest loyalty.
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Operating at the intersection of business and technology, Dr. Michael Toedt helps hoteliers with the software dailypoint™ to use the tremendous increase of data in order to become data-centric. Dr. Michael Toedt has over 25 years of experience in operations, technology and marketing. He is the author of several books – among others the German version “Big Data – Herausforderung und Chance für die Hotellerie (ISBN: 978-3-8751-5305-7) and “Data Revolution – How Big Data Will Change the Way of Doing Business” (ISBN:978-3–7375-1688-4) and his articles are published by journals on a regular basis. Dr. Toedt holds a doctoral degree in management science. He is lecturer at several universities and assistant lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences of Munich for the subject “Customer Relationship Management in Tourism”. Apart from this he speaks at various hospitality events and fairs such as ITB, HITEC, Internorga, Austrian Hotel Society ÖHV or Cornell Hotel Society.
Managing Partner, CEO