Customer Portals Give Hotels a Distinct Advantage

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by Alex A. Kecskes

In these tough times, hotels can't afford to fall behind in the technology revolution that's sweeping all industries. With ubiquitous mobile access to the Internet, every tool must be exploited to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. Granted, most hotels have websites of one kind or another, but few have ascended to using its full power.

One way some hospitality organizations are exploiting this power is by adding a Customer Portal to their Internet strategy. The portal gives hotels the opportunity to frequently update content while offering guests a multitude of self-service options. It can include links to a hotel’s web booking system, car rental reservations or airline check-in options.

Adding a Customer portal gives customers a single, convenient point of access to all their travel scheduling needs. It also adds an extra layer of security for guests concerned about submitting personal information. Through the portal, customers can easily request room assignments, review concierge offerings and make other requests. They can also request housekeeping services, review their bills, and schedule spa or dog sitting appointments.

Finally, Customer Portals can be an effective selling tool. They can promote additional hotel services—like grooming (manicure/pedicure/tanning), dry cleaning, fitness classes and many others. And this selling can continue after customers have checked out with online surveys, special email offers, and updated or preordered preferences for future stays. Rewards programs can also be easily implemented via Customer Portals, allowing customers to redeem reward points, purchase gift certificates and request upgraded accommodations.

If you want to move up in your hospitality career, you should consider acquainting yourself with some of these

Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients.

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