CRM software is an important part of all sales processes, but for hotels and the hospitality industry, the generic CRM options on the market might not be the best solution.
Hotels need features that integrate their guest information management software with email marketing, customer support, customer loyalty programs, and reputation management to ensure they see improvements in sales and revenue.
It’s possible to see improvements to your sales with generic CRM software, but with an emphasis on B2B and smaller numbers of highly personalized and time-intensive contracts, the hotel industry will start to struggle to make the solution work.
Instead, hotel owners should focus on hospitality CRM software for the hotel industry, as the collection of features makes for a far better user and business experience.
In this article, we’ll be looking at what CRM means for the hospitality industry as well as the options for the best CRM software for Hotels.
What is CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and covers the entire process of bringing in new leads through to convert them into sales.
CRM software is designed to aid in all aspects of the CRM process and forms part of your larger CRM practice.
CRM software solutions bring all your customer and lead information together into one easily searchable database.
With a single source of truth, you can avoid the siloing of important information and make sure all your staff is using the same, up-to-date information. It also means that whoever needs prospect and customer information can find it at a moment’s notice.
The first stage of your CRM process is finding new leads to add to your sales pipeline stages. There are many ways to acquire new leads, including marketing campaigns, lead generation tools such as web forms and landing pages, meeting prospects in person at conventions and events, and so on.
Lead generation techniques also vary by industry. Hospitality businesses are far more likely to find customers through marketing and lead generation techniques where prospects are able to approach the company, as leads looking for hotels already know what they’re looking for.
Therefore, in the hospitality industry, ensuring a strong online brand presence through a good reputation and easy discoverability are some of the best ways to boost your lead acquisition.
Lead nurturing is the process by which businesses guide potential customers who have entered the sales pipeline through to a sale.
Each individual business will have its own way to bring prospects through to a sale, depending on its industry, the services it offers, and customer expectations.
For hospitality businesses, this can involve providing your leads with the information and assurances they need to gain confidence in your service and convert them into a paying customer.
It can also involve upselling your services based on the information you’ve gathered about your leads. By using data about your leads, you can make informed recommendations about additional services that could be of interest to them that could elevate their stay.
Once your prospects are ready to commit to a stay with your business, having a great system for ensuring quick and easy payments is vital for improving your customer experience.
Unless your hotel offers bespoke services that involve negotiations and custom pricing, your sales process should be straightforward, and most likely done through either your own website booking system or a marketplace platform like Booking.com or AirBnB.
Regardless of your final sales process, all the records of what your customers have purchased and their unique requirements will be taken on board and stored in your CRM software’s contact management system to ensure your records are up-to-date.
Hospitality businesses are in a somewhat unique position to add value after a sale has been made via upselling to provide additional benefits to a customer’s stay. This can be done by using customer information to target them with services and offers that might be of interest to them.
This is also an opportunity to upsell with marketing campaigns, such as seasonal events, promotions, and discounts that could be of interest to your customers.
Also, if you provide a high-quality service for your guests, then there’s a good chance they may wish to revisit your hotel in future or recommend you to friends and family.
This is a good chance to use loyalty programs to help encourage repeat customers and prolong your customer lifespan with your business, while also gathering more guest data so you can target them with further advertising and services they may enjoy in future.
Gathering data feedback from your CRM process is one of the best ways to drive improvement. By using auto-generated and customer reports, you can make sense of your sales metrics and see the areas of your customer relationship management process that are bottlenecking your sales and need work, and you can also see the areas that are excelling.
CRM reporting is also a fantastic tool for creating revenue forecasts so that the rest of your business can budget effectively and upper management can know what to expect from the coming months.
Your sales and marketing efforts don’t occur in a vacuum, and an excellent way to save time and reduce human error is to integrate your CRM software with the rest of your software stack.
CRM software is designed to talk to the other software you use to speed up the transfer of data to connected systems, so you can instantly pull information from your CRM into the software that needs it.
Why Use Hospitality CRM Software?
Most CRM software on the market is built with more generic, B2B style sales in mind, where leads are guided through a sales funnel with meetings and product demonstrations in mind, before negotiating a bespoke service based on the client’s needs.
This style of customer relationship management software puts the emphasis on proactively going after fewer, but more targeted leads, taking the time to understand their pain points, and working to provide a solution.
And while this style of CRM software can work for hotels and hospitality businesses in a pinch, it’s not designed to handle the sales process that works best for them.
How do the best hotel CRM software solutions help?
The best hotel CRM software is designed specifically for the sales workflow of hospitality businesses, meaning they offer benefits unique to the hospitality industry that can improve sales, lessen the time spent on your CRM process, and increase your customer satisfaction.
Unified selling platform designed for the hospitality industry
By understanding exactly how a hotel wants to interact with its customers and leads, hospitality CRM systems can unify all your sales and marketing efforts into one platform.
Plus, it’s easier to provide the outreach you want, as these hospitality CRM systems know what you’re trying to achieve. Instead of shoehorning your specific needs into a generic marketing and sales platform, you can instead use the features of these CRMs to provide the services your business needs.
Database with guest-specific fields
CRM databases are designed to house all your customer information, and while some allow users to create custom fields, some don’t.
The needs of the hospitality industry differ from generic business when it comes to the information it needs to store about its customers. Hotels need to store more than just contact information; they need to store the guest’s visit history, their satisfaction levels, their preferences and needs, the services they use, and so on.
By setting yourself up with hospitality CRM software that understands the information you need from the outset, you’ll quickly and easily be able to store all the guest data you need to make the most of your opportunities, while also providing your guests with the best experience you can.
Your guests operate on a range of communication channels, so it’s important to reach them where they are.
When you’re marketing, you need to reach your prospects on the channels that are most likely to reach them and interest them, especially when they’re in the right frame of mind to be receptive to your message.
But for the hospitality industry, communicating with your clients is more than just emails and social media marketing campaigns.
You’ll need to ensure you’re ready for each guest, so if they have specific needs they’ll need to be able to reach you in a way that works for them. Emails are great here, but so are phone calls, as you’ll want to make sure everything is clearly understood.
But you can take your communications even further. Forms, check-ins, feedback surveys, and more; you can open up your communications to text messages and landing page tools too.
With a hospitality CRM system that uses built-in omnichannel support, you’ll open yourself up to more opportunities, and more chances to engage your customers to boost conversion rates and the chance that they’ll want to use your services again.
Advanced customer segmentation
Hospitality CRM software understands your need to segment your customers and leads into lists so you can offer them the right services at the right time.
As you gather information about your customers and leads, you’ll be able to understand their needs better and put them into categories that reflect aspects of their personas.
By using these lists, you can make sure that you reach out to them with the right marketing and promotional messages at the right time to boost your chances of upselling or converting a sale.
Customer relationship management CRM for hotels allow you to quickly and easily segment customers from your PMS and guest data into customer lists so you can reach out to them with targeted messages.
The Best CRM Software for the Hospitality Industry
Now we understand what to look for in the best CRM systems, let’s take a look at some of the top contenders on the market today, including our Serchen community’s top picks for the best hotel CRM software.
Looking for more options? Then check out the rest of our CRM software reviews
Price From: Price upon inquiry
Revinate‘s Guest Communications Solution suite combines a collection of excellent features together in one package to provide your hotel with everything it needs for fantastic CRM.
The Guest Communications Solution system brings together Revinate’s Marketing, Sales, Ivy, Feedback, and RezForce software in one package, giving you the reach and information management software features you need to maximize your booking opportunities.
Revinate is an omnichannel solution, meaning you can reach your guests and leads across voice, text, email, and web. By bringing all your guest inquiries and bookings into one centralized system, you’ll be able to use your customer data to create custom segmentation, target them with personalized campaigns, and automate them over your communication channels.
Revinate Marketing lets you deliver personalized, automated email marketing campaigns based on your hotel CRM customer segmentation. Upsell rooms and services through your targeted marketing campaigns, and create automated drip email campaigns that guide your guests through their journey without needing staff input. You can even target guests who’ve abandoned their bookings to help boost your conversions.
Revinate Sales brings you the tools to get the most out of your leads, boasting increased revenue over voice channels by at least 20%. With features like guest data capture, you can increase the personalization of your guest’s booking process to improve your revenue and keep them engaged.
Plus, with the ability to route your income calls to agents with the right expertise, and with integrated call coaching and scoring, you can ensure your staff is ready to convert, and that they can learn how to improve their sales as they go.
Revinate Ivy gives your hotel the power to leverage AI to manage your repeated customer interactions, such as checkouts, as well as personalized upselling options and basic guest requests and inquiries over text. By using AI this way, you can free up your staff to work on more important tasks that need a human touch, while letting Revinate handle the admin.
Revinate Guest Feedback gives you online reputation management abilities, as well as opportunities to improve your guests’ experiences. By centralizing all your online rankings for you to manage in one place, you can handle all your incoming reviews, and with guest surveys and reporting, you can boost your customer loyalty and improve your future performance.
And with Rezforce, you can use highly trained US-based call agents to capture your leads when your staff is all engaged or offline, meaning you no longer have to have any phone sales downtime. And with a pay-for-performance pricing model, you only have to pay for what you use!
Centralized omnichannel solution
Capture your guests’ data from all your communication channels into one hotel CRM system that your staff can access from anywhere.
Build custom lists based on your guests’ data so they can be grouped by key traits for you to personalize future marketing efforts.
Use your custom lists to create personalized omnichannel marketing campaigns for your leads and guests to increase the chance of a sale and promote upselling opportunities, as well as automate your campaigns to guide your guests through their stay.
Collect, manage and respond to your customer reviews across online platforms in one place, plus boost your review rate with automated guest surveys and get insights into how to improve your services.
Use Revinate’s Ivy system to automate all your repetitive messaging with guests across their stay, and even respond to basic inquiries and requests.
Price from: 95 EUR per month, +1 EUR per room, Free trial available
Experience Hotel CRM brings your hotel everything you need to complete all your CRM processes by combining their Guest relation and Marketing tools into one, though you can also subscribe to just one system if that’s all you need.
Experience Hotel breaks down its features into five main categories: customer data platform, guest experience, e-reputation management, email marketing, and multi-hotels.
The customer data platform performs all the centralized database tasks your hotel needs for the backbone of your CRM process. With fields specialized to the needs of hotels, you can capture lead information, including emails, and all their related data from their visits.
Plus, you can also use the CRM database to segment your leads and guests into lists for priority management and your automated marketing campaigns. And with importing features to bring your old records into your new hospitality CRM software, you can be up and running in no time.
The guest experience features give you the power to manage your bookings and support your guests from the moment they make their booking. Use automated booking confirmation messaging to get in contact from day one, and automate welcome emails with pre-stay surveys to understand your guests’ exact needs, so you can personalize your communications, offers and the services you provide them.
By understanding what your guests’ expectations and use cases are, you can offer them extra services and features that they’re most likely to enjoy, and boost your uptake in the process.
You can also send out automated quality control emails during your customers’ stays, ensuring you can take the initiative, impressing your guests by responding to any problems during their stay, and avoiding possible bad reviews for issues that could have been prevented. There are even guest satisfaction surveys based on over 30 guest profiles to ensure you’re giving your guests exactly what they want.
And for your online reputation management, Experience Hotel CRM brings it all under one roof, no matter the platform it was posted on, giving you full visibility of your ranking. Experience Hotel CRM also gives you an average of your most recent ratings, so you can predict future reviews and where your e-reputation is heading.
When it comes to email marketing, Experience Hotel CRM makes use of segmented guest lists using over 50 different categories to provide personalized email marketing automation for over 5000 scenarios and templates, bringing an impressive 31x ROI. With an intuitive yet powerful drag-and-drop email builder, you can build marketing materials to send to your lists. And, with clever software tracking that understands sales triggered by your marketing campaigns, even across devices, you can easily determine the cost and effect of your marketing efforts.
Plus, for businesses that need to manage more than one hotel over their hospitality CRM software, Experience Hotel CRM provides the solution by centralizing all your hotels’ data in one platform, while still providing oversight about which guests are associated with which hotels, as well as managing all your customer ratings and email campaigns in one place.
Multi-hotel hospitality CRM software
Centralize all the guest data you have from one or more hotels in a database specialized for the hospitality industry, bringing together your guest information, activities, and past interactions with your hotels.
Lead data capture
Use booking confirmation emails, pre-stay forms, and more to capture data about who your guests are and what they expect from their stay, so you can provide them with the services and upselling opportunities that are most likely to get the results.
Guest satisfaction management
Preempt any issues with quality control emails to fix issues before they drive a negative review. Plus, with guest satisfaction surveys, centralized review management software, and rating forecasting, you can see at a glance how your business is rating among the rest, and what you can do to improve.
Create automated, personalized email campaigns based on lists created from over 50 customer filters, and use the drag-and-drop email builder to quickly create professional emails without needing coding know-how, or make use of the automated scenarios to quickly reach out to your guests.
Price From: Price Upon Inquiry
Cendyn is a fully-featured hospitality CRM software system that brings together business intelligence, marketing, reservations, sales, and revenue management features, built around the Starling customer data platform and the Pegasus cloud-based reservation system.
Cendyn is also a modular system, so hotels need only subscribe to the features they need to solve their issues. Plus, with a wide range of features, Cendyn can be used by independent hotels, chains, management companies, and ownership groups, and appeal to the spectrum of target audiences.
We’ll be focusing on the CRM system and associated features, but if you’re interested in all Cendyn has to offer, then we suggest checking out their website to discover more.
eInsight, the Cendyn CRM, works hand in hand with Starling, the customer data platform. Think of starling as a database providing a single source of truth for your business. By integrating with all your data silos, you can consolidate all your guest data into one clean and easily-accessible system, so that your data can go wherever it needs to at a moment’s notice.
By working with the Starling system, eInsight brings the rest of the hotel CRM software features you’ll need. By providing you with single guest views, you can bring together all your guest’s personal data, such as their stay history, their likes and dislikes, their lifetime spending, and so on.
By using your individual guest data, you can then use eInsight to segment your guests into audiences based on a range of categories, and you can even use rules-based automation to have eInsight do the admin work for you, providing personalization and upsell opportunities.
Then, with integrated digital marketing automation, you can use your guest information to build multi-channel marketing campaigns using the campaign flow manager to guide your guests through their journey and provide them with personalized upsells and offers. Plus, with the built-in email builder, reps can quickly create beautiful marketing emails with dynamic content to reach the right leads at the right time.
And, with business intelligence, you can analyze the success of your marketing campaigns across your channels to get the full picture of how you’re interacting with your guests, and how you can improve your system.
Centralized guest data platform
Keep all your guest data in one centralized platform with Starling by integrating all your customer data platforms with the open API, preventing unclean data with consolidation features.
Single guest view
Bring all your valuable individual guest data into your centralized database, ensuring you have a full picture of your guests’ histories, lifetime values, preferences, and more.
Use automated filters to divide your guests into lists based on a wide range of categories to aid with personalized marketing efforts
Create custom automated marketing campaign workflows to target your segmented guest lists with the right message at the right time. Plus with a fully-featured email builder, you can create professional marketing materials in minutes with dynamic content to target your guests with personalized messages and offers.
Which Hotel CRM Should You Use?
Ultimately, the best CRM for you is the one that works the best with your business, and the processes you have in place.
All of the options we’ve covered in this article provide fantastic CRM systems for the hotel industry, while also integrating easily with wider software systems.
It’s key to understand the features that your business needs to move forward; whether it’s a more fully-featured reputation management system, automated marketing campaigns, guest information consolidations, segmentation options, or whether you’re looking to adopt an entire system, there are options for you.
By understanding what your business needs to achieve its goals and targets and address its pain points, you can make an informed decision when selecting your new hotel CRM software, ensuring it brings you and your business the results you’re looking for and making it the best CRM for you.