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Covid-19, the recovery will be "Guest Experience Centric" [2/2]

The health crisis of Covid-19 has brought the world economy and especially travels to a halt for very long months, plunging the tourism industry into one of the biggest crises in its history. From reorganizing the production of an agile and adaptable service, to designing a 360° experience, to taking into account societal and environmental issues, today more than ever, is the time to reinvent tourism and the guest experience.


Lockdown has forced us all to use tools that are now well known to us all to get online. A GlobalData study reports that the Covid-19 crisis has changed the behavior of Internet users, who now spend more time on social networks. Forced to create more physical distance between people, hoteliers and restaurateurs very quickly saw the potential of digital technology to simplify interactions between staff and guests in their properties. The interest is to make the guest more autonomous in booking services, and to dematerialize communication media that are still mostly paper-based, such as room service cards or restaurant menus.

According to Astrid Lelièvre, from the Barrière Group: "Our group is all the more affected by this imposed distance, and this is prompting us to accelerate our digital revolution." As soon as the lockdown ended, the group launched the new version of the "Barrière App", which provides access to all the services offered by the property, designed to "become our guests' new companion during their stay: sharing the station's news on the application, presentation of activities, service reservations, city map, etc."

Hôtels en Ville uses WhatsApp to communicate with its guests within its hotels, with a test on the Eugene En Ville property, as well as a robot on its hotels website.

The website is naturally a strategic tool for effective communication, a showcase for the presentation of the property's services, but also for the actions implemented in the current period. It is therefore essential today that it is "Responsive" and adapts well to mobile navigation, that it is compatible with all browsers and screen sizes, that the navigation is fluid with short tree structure menus and that the pages load quickly, that it fits in well with the seduction operation with beautiful illustrations that help to project oneself, that the information is up to date by highlighting the flexibility in the booking conditions and of course that the booking engine is well accessible from all pages.


Opportunities emerge from every crisis. The health crisis has, among other things, boosted the volume of live bookings as well as the volume of pre-booking telephone calls, with customers hoping to hear a smiling and reassuring voice, as well as precise explanations of the services available and the health procedures put in place.

This is therefore a good time to regain control of the customer relationship as soon as the reservation is made, when OTAs are less present.

It is therefore essential that the teams in charge of handling calls demonstrate a good knowledge of the product and the destination. The dynamism perceived by the customer, the attention paid to his request as well as the proactivity and anticipation of his possible questions increase the feeling of effective care. This is the moment to put him in the conditions to convert him into a loyal customer of the brand or the property: "Be reassured, we take care of you!"

Here again, there are 2 interests: since beyond the warmth of the exchange, it is also an unmissable opportunity to regain control of the customer's personal information and increase the share of direct sales. Contact details and all useful customer information up to the mapping of the social network identifiers of visiting customers must be carefully recorded in a CRM that will easily identify the multichannel interactions of visiting customers.


"Location, location, location"... But not only!

The largest gateway for visitors remains the Destination. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the client selects a destination before choosing his accommodation and planning his tourist activities. He most likely arrived by a transportation company (plane, train or bus) and then took a rental car, cab or public transportation to his temporary accommodation.

After settling in, he will probably eat in a restaurant and visit cultural and trendy places in the destination and so on until he returns home. It is therefore essential to conceive each offer as part of a whole. Like the Paris Regional Tourist Board or the Marseille Tourist Office, institutions in charge of tourism take the subject head on and try to bring together the different tourist professions present in their destination. But the challenge remains to maintain a satisfactory and equivalent level of service from one service provider to another throughout the visitor's journey. This project can only be effective by codefining an ideal scheme and a promise of a strong experience, in concert with the various players, and by regularly measuring the level of compliance with the objectives set.

As more and more players recognize, "the current situation is certainly difficult, but it also offers an opportunity to test product developments. Covid-19 pushes us to be inventive. "The manager of FadaBike (specialist of the guided tour of Marseille by bike) testified. The current context is therefore particularly favorable to innovation and to regaining control of customer relations, to find new business levers and to renew the guest experience.

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