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Offering Trip Planning to Improve the Guest Experience

Helping guests have an amazing time in your area will make your hotel unforgettable.

Planning a trip can be an epic task: making hotel reservations is just one important part of the process. And making trip planning easier is one way for hotels to offer personalized service and become indispensable to guests.

Trip planning help comes in many forms, from the traditional concierge who knows all the best restaurants in town to the array of brochures in your lobby to digital trip planning tools that use data to tailor recommendations to each individual guest’s needs and preferences.

“Travelers now prefer to tailor their activities according to their schedules, interests, habits, and needs,” Mariana Baeta writes on the Smartvel hospitality technology blog.

One example: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts this year launched its road trip planner, an interactive tool that allows guests to plan an entire road trip and book all their hotels along their route. In addition to the tool, Wyndham has a wealth of content that offers road trip ideas, packing lists and even tips on bringing your dog along for the ride.

Here are five  reasons to offer trip planning help  to provide better service to your guests:

  1. It takes an item off their to-do list. Any trip planning help you offer your guests makes their lives easier by taking a task off their plates. A successful trip that seems effortless requires a lot of legwork upfront. By providing your guests with ideas and a trip planning roadmap, you make travel more fun and less stressful.
  2. It sets you up as a key part of the travel experience. Becoming indispensable to customers is always a good thing. Offering travel planning help is one way to make your hotel a go-to advisor for your guests. Getting in on the travel planning experience can ensure that your guests turn to you next time they need travel help – including, of course, a hotel booking.
  3. It allows you to know your guests better. Putting your hotel in the middle of a guest’s trip planning process allows you to get a wealth of information about your guests: who they are, why they are traveling, how much money they plan to spend and what types of activities they want to do while they’re in town. You can collect this data and use it to better assist your guests and further personalize their experiences down the road.
  4. It helps guests avoid travel mishaps. Planning a trip from afar is difficult, especially when you’re relying on reviews and other information that may be months or even years old. A guest who relies on online research alone may arrive looking forward to an experience only to find that an attraction has changed its hours or a restaurant has closed. Being immersed in local travel, you’re in a great position to help guests get the most current information and avoid disappointments.
  5. It’s an easy way to upsell. By being a part of the travel planning experience, you can upsell and promote your partners’ offerings in a way that won’t feel heavy or intrusive, and in fact will likely be welcomed by your guests. “Having the possibility to personalize an itinerary not only adds value to [the guest] experience but also allows you to promote your third-party ancillaries in a less intrusive way,” Baeta states.

Even if you already offer trip planning help, consider adding a digital trip planning tool to your repertoire to allow guests to access trip planning help when and how they need it, and to make it even easier for you to understand your guests needs and travel habits.