Travel Trade Journal

Welcom-Heritage Hotels

Fostering Deeper Connection with Guests

- Prashant Nayak

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.

 ?? ?? ▲ Abinash Manghani
▲ Abinash Manghani

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