Surprise and delight campaigns evoke emotions in guests that go further and deeper than the standard guest experiences. These extra efforts can drive customer retention and brand affinity which can result in additional revenue from happy guests.
Surprise and delight campaigns can be somewhat controversial amongst hoteliers as they require extra resource expenditure that may or may not deliver a direct revenue return.
As the Front Desk or Guest Services manager, determining who the recipient of the surprise and delight will be is a process in itself. However, if done correctly, surprise and delight can have a major impact on the guest experience.
Imagine if hoteliers could monitor daily arrivals via social profiles and look at individual interests or “badges” to determine which guests are to receive surprise and delight service.
For example, say Mr. Rob Smith stayed at the hotel ten months ago and booked a golf simulator event during his stay. Unfortunately, while the majority of his stay was fantastic, he had a less than desirable experience with the golf simulator, and let the hotel know of that in a post-stay survey. The hotel identified Mr. Smith, via a CRM and marketing automation platform, as a candidate for a surprise and delight a week prior to his stay. To ensure his second stay is unforgettable, the hotel can reach out to Mr. Smith to welcome him back and offer a customized activity agenda that caters to his interests.
While this example speaks to a surprise and delight campaign happening pre-arrival, campaigns can be identified and executed throughout the customer life cycle. A popular option is to send a campaign upon arrival, or shortly after, which can go a long way toward an above-and-beyond service experience.
To create a powerful connection with your guests, the campaign should be personalized as much as possible. For example, say Mr. Johnson arrives at the hotel after a long day of travel and appears tired. The front desk or concierge notices upon check-in that he has previously booked with the spa. A personalized surprise and delight initiative might be to offer to book a massage for him at a discount.
Additionally, surprise and delight campaigns should value the little things and the smallest details of a guest experience. These offensives should be incorporated in every hoteliers weekly routine. Personalized touches are a key part of guest retention, which is absolutely imperative in a hyper-competitive environment.