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Know your Guests! What do hoteliers say about CRM?

Today, less than 25% of all the hotels have a CRM or a loyalty program in place. Hoteliers often say that they don’t have time to take care of their customer relationships or that they simply don’t have the right tools available that can help them. Sometimes, hoteliers try to do “at least something” by using simple mailing campaign engines but it gets very complicated because all too often, data is hidden away in old, monolithic systems. Trying to find the data is one thing, making it usable is yet another, and getting it into a usable spreadsheet can be challenging, and then merging it into a mailing engine often presents plenty of problems. Then, you must start all over and do it again, for the next mailing. And yet nothing is saved, nothing is reusable or tracked in a management report. No wonder hoteliers tell us that they don’t have the time or the tools. Still some hoteliers say: “But at least I did something”.

OK, but trust me, there is a lot easier way of doing it. Just think of these 3 letters: CRM. Customer Relationship Management. It can change a hotelier’s database nightmare into a pleasant, productive reality. Imagine, having all your data in one place, coming from many different sources, being able to segment and target whatever you want, and even automate campaigns in just one click. Sound too good to be true? Well, it is very real.

And it doesn’t have to stop there. What about a loyalty program? Sure. Integrated into the same CRM solution? Yep. Using the same segmentation, targeting, and automatizations for loyalty?  That’s right. Gee, that means that I could not only manage my guest relations but also win back my existing clients so when they do come back, they book direct, saving all those OTA commissions? Absolutely.

So rather than us going on about what’s important and why; we thought it would be much more interesting if you hear it directly from our clients, who are the real experts.  So that’s exactly what we’ve done.   We’d like to give a big thanks to Charles Sebbag (Paris Inn Group), Hannibal DuMont Schütte (Stayery – Germany), and Christoph Peppers (Samuel Braun – Germany) for their input for this article.

We asked 5 simple questions and our experts gave their stimulating responses.

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1. Why do you think CRM is important for a hotel?

Charles Sebbag says:

The trivial need is at least to centralize the customer data we have collected and enriched with information collected directly from them. This allows us to provide this information to customer relationship management tools.

Then knowing our customers allows us to adapt our products, services and communication. If we do not know our customers, how can we meet their needs and anticipate their demands?

Christophe Peppers says:

There are different areas, that a hotel group like ours benefits from having from a CRM. First, it is a crucial tool to manage all our guest data in one place. This provides the opportunity of knowing all the details and preferences for each individual. This leads to good customer satisfaction and brand awareness, especially when you are operating a brand-new hotel (like ours). In addition, we can keep track of a lot of KPIs supporting our hotels production. Sending out different mailing campaigns may it be for seasonal purposes (Valentine’s Day, Summer Promotion etc.) or massive special deal offerings. But what shouldn’t be underestimated is the reduced workload for the reservations department. Having individual and automated transactional mails in place, the reservations team can focus on guest services and other internal procedures.

Hannibal DuMont Schütte says:

The most important aspect of using a CRM is understanding / getting to know the customer, with the ultimate goal of retaining the customer and increasing direct bookings.  It becomes more important, as the size of the property increases, to retain your staff because a CRM tool allows your staff to know your customers even before they walk in, which creates brand awareness and guest retention.  It’s also important to be able to have an automated process regarding booking confirmation/ pre stay / post stay and or in-stay contact with the guests through emails, newsletters, SMS, etc.  Also the ability to have a loyalty program, which allows you to compete with the big guys.

2. What were your 3 main reasons for choosing your CRM?

Charles Sebbag says:

The ease of implementation, the ability to use the data collected and the simplicity of use.

Christophe Peppers says:

Actually, all of the points above.

Hannibal DuMont Schütte says:

1) Possibility / Degree of automation; 2) Ease of use for employees; 3) Integration with existing IT Infrastructure

3. How important are your marketing campaigns?

Charles Sebbag says:

Campaigns are of paramount importance for two reasons.

The most obvious one is also for me almost secondary: loyalty. I don’t really think we can trigger many buying reflexes on one-off campaigns. On the other hand, receiving news from the hotel you stayed in a few months ago will make you keep it in mind to choose it when you return to the destination.

The less obvious one is crucial to me: allowing our customers to recommend us to their network. It is estimated that nearly 25% of travellers choose a new hotel based on recommendations made by their direct network. In terms of acquisition, it is a major source!

Christophe Peppers says:

We will have a high focus on these campaigns, as we can benefit from several trade shows and different events in Berlin that attract a lot of visitors (e.g. Festival of Lights, ITB, IFA, InnoTrans, Concerts, Christmas markets), besides the traditional seasonal campaigns you can send out. But also, the brand idea can be used to get people’s attention. In the about:berlin Hotel we focus on the great things Berlin has to offer, especially the ones, not everyone knows about. Certain districts, hidden places or food markets will be a big focus for us, which we want to make people aware of.

Hannibal DuMont Schütte says:

We have a fairly new property and therefore the campaigns are not that important yet.  However, as the property becomes more mature, the customer base will increase, and the number of returning clients will increase, so as we continue to add new properties, this will become more and more important.  Of course, marketing campaigns about staying in touch are important but also for doing special promotions and discounts to loyalize customers are fundamental.

4. What did you gain by having a CRM?

Charles Sebbag says:

As the Paris Inn Group, this has enabled us to automate our customer relationship management and our loyalty and acquisition marketing campaigns. A real gain in efficiency, time and relevance.

Christophe Peppers says:

Another level of guest interaction. Meaning, we pro-actively ask our guests to be part of our subscriber group. We can share more information about our hotels and the special ideas behind them.

Hannibal DuMont Schütte says:

Currently, we are focused only on the automated processes regarding the communication with the customer.  However, in future, we will focus on the loyalty program and therefore customer retention, direct bookings and good reviews.

5. What additional features complementary to CRM would you like to have?

Charles Sebbag says:

Segmentation! I would like a CRM to be able to qualify our customers into segments that can adapt our communications and even our products and services.

Christophe Peppers says:

An integrated upgrade tool would be very beneficial, as we would have all in one place and don’t have to manage several systems.

Hannibal DuMont Schütte says:

Currently happy with the CRM as we still have not yet utilized its full power.


As you can see from our hotelier experts, having a CRM is very important and it helps them (and their teams) to be more productive and manage their relationships with their guests.

If you’re interested in taking back control of your guest relationships, becoming more productive, loyalizing your guests, and getting them to book direct, then you need to get to know HotelAppz.  We are a CRM for hotels/apartments or a guest data hub.  We collect data from lots of different sources (PMS, Channel Mgr, POS, social media, chat, etc.), put it into the database, help hotels de-duplicate it, and then use the data for very targeted marketing campaigns (pre, during, & post stay) that covers the entire customer journey.  We also have a complete loyalty program and can help hotels manage the entire GDPR process.  We are quick to implement, very aggressively priced, which give hoteliers an excellent ROI.

Contact us today and we’ll set up a meeting / demo.

About HotelAppz

HotelAppz is a cloud-based CRM solution enabling hoteliers to aggregate customer data, pilot your customer relationships and communications and regain loyalty of customers.

About our hotel partners

Paris Inn Group (France)

The French specialist in the management and promotion of 4-star and 5-star independent hotels. Paris Inn Group now manages 9 5-star hotels and 20 4-star hotels totalling 29 hotels, 1896 rooms and 1000 employees.

Samuel Braun Group

Samuel Braun group consists of 3 hotels: about:Berlin, Savoy Hotel,  and the Ku’ Damm 101


The STAYERY. The very, very extraordinary Serviced Apartments. We provide you with plenty of services, that make us so extra very, very; from super-fast Wi-Fi to stress-free parking.

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Todd Kramer

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