Travel Trade Journal
Fostering Deeper Connection with Guests
Over the last decade, the hotel industry has been constantly evolving to meet the changing wants and needs of its guests. However, post-COVID, guest expectations have evolved faster than ever before, which is putting pressure on hotels to offer more. Abinash Manghani, CEO, WelcomHeritage Hotels, shares some pointers on how they are attending to the needs of the ever-changing guest expectations, digital nomads, and guest engagements.
India’s hospitality sector is currently experiencing significant growth in terms of revenue and room nights sold, led by emerging classes of travellers who seek quality, comfort, hygiene, variety, and services. However, getting guests regularly is hard when many of them make their choices based on preference or price. At WelcomHeritage, their hospitality and services consistently go beyond the ordinary satisfaction of guests, earning a strong sense of loyalty from them.
“We see our guests returning in our reviews to savour a WelcomHeritage experience again. Adding to this, encouraging guest engagement is a powerful strategy that can influence potential clients’ behaviour and lead to increased hotel bookings, brand loyalty, and customer retention rates. To achieve this, it is crucial to maximise online presence through social media and a user-friendly website as well as utilise effective communication channels that facilitate interaction with potential guests throughout all stages of their journey, including the pre-trip, during their stay, and post-trip phases,” says Abinash. Some strategies that WelcomHeritage Hotels follow consistently to maintain engagement with their guests are: Text-based communication strategies:
An effective strategy to ensure continuous engagement with guests throughout their entire buyer’s journey. Use of social media: Social media has emerged as one of the most effective engagement strategies in the hospitality industry. It enables hoteliers to not only build brand awareness but also connect with potential guests in a meaningful way. Clear brand identity and tone of voice:
This helps to build trust and recognition, making it easier for potential customers to identify and engage with our brand across different channels.
Leveraging data: In today’s digital age, by using available data with them, they effectively create messages that resonate with guests, increasing the likelihood of engagement and ultimately conversion.
With travellers intending to combine work and travel in the future, there is a growing need for Indian hotels to adapt to the needs of digital nomads. Abinash mentions, “By catering to the needs of digital nomads, we can attract a new demographic of travellers and establish our properties as a destination of choice for remote workers who prioritise work-life balance and flexibility.” WelcomHeritage hotels cater to the demands of digital nomads in a variety of ways, including:
High-speed internet: WelcomHeritage hotels are investing regularly in highspeed and reliable internet infrastructure to ensure that such guests can work without interruption. Dedicated workspaces:
WelcomHeritage hotels have created dedicated workspaces for digital nomads, such as coworking spaces or private work areas, to provide a professional and distraction-free environment for work. Comfortable accommodations:
WelcomHeritage hotels provide amenities such as ergonomic chairs, work desks, and comfortable beds to make their stay more comfortable. Flexible check-in/check-out: Digital nomads may have unpredictable work schedules, so they offer flexible check-in/ check-out options to accommodate their needs. Access to recreational activities:
Their hotels offer access to recreational activities such as fitness centers, yoga studios, and swimming pools to cater to this need.
Technology-enabled services: Many of WelcomHeritage hotels have adopted technology-enabled services such as mobile check-in, contactless payments, and digital concierge services to cater to the needs of digital nomads who are often tech-savvy.
To compete today, hoteliers must rely on various methods as guest expectations are rising and evolving faster than they ever have before. “Overall, meeting guests’ ever-rising expectations and experiences requires a holistic approach. Our hotels continuously evaluate and improve the guest experience to stay ahead of the competition. This may involve investing in new technologies, updating room designs, and improving service offerings,” informs Abinash.
Personalisation: Personalisation is key for WelcomHeritage hotels. This may include customised recommendations, tailored experiences, and personalised services. Technology: They use mobile checkin, digital concierge services, and virtual tours to enhance their guest experiences.
Customer feedback: Guest satisfaction is a priority for them. They solicit and incorporate guest feedback to identify areas for improvement and make positive changes.
Consistency: Guests expect a consistent experience across all properties of a hotel chain. And WelcomHeritage focuses on maintaining consistent standards in terms of amenities, services across all properties to ensure that guests know what to expect. Staff training: A defining experience for guests is the staff they interact and engage with. WelcomHeritage invests regularly in staff training to ensure that staff is knowledgeable, and helpful, and provides exceptional service.