Hotels have such a unique set of needs that it’s hardly a surprise that the exploding field of customer relationship management software (CRM) has produced so many great platforms dedicated specifically to Hotel CRM.
Basic CRM unifies the major three departments: marketing, sales and service — and for most point-of-sale business, there’s not too much going on beyond the exchange of money for goods or services.
Hotels, however, must add a fourth term: operations (between sales and service). After the initial sales process, as a customer becomes the welcomed guest, there’s a whole bunch of special needs and cares that a hotel must attend to before, during and even after the stay. CRMs for hotels cover those specific tasks.
CRMs give hotels—franchises or boutiques—next-level marketing advantages that go beyond wide-net advertising. By leveraging data, automation and intelligent segmentation, marketing excels at personalization from the first touch-point of the customer journey.
This way, when the guest arrives, they can count on that personalized touch which is the foundation of delivering five-star customer satisfaction.
Benefits of using a Hotel CRM
A hotel doesn’t merely “rent” a room for a night or two, it doesn’t just “sell goods” like food or souvenirs, and it isn’t only about “providing services” like tours and activities. The totality of the hotel’s dedication to each guest’s experience is way more than the sum of these parts.
Similarly, CRM software is designed to be an all-encompassing solution that can handle the myriad needs of a hotel, and help hotel brands go above and beyond satisfying needs of room, meals, and entertainment.
Hospitality CRM, with its industry-specific suite of tools, offers next-level advantages to all sorts of businesses in the hospitality industry, from major international hotel chains to boutique hotels and independent BnBs.
Between B2B sales activities to help land corporate contracts and book major events, to B2C marketing features which attract potential guests and ensure they have a stellar experience before, during and after their stay, hotel CRM is a critical aspect of good hospitality business, and not to mention a solid boost to drive revenue.
Customer relationship management
The relationship between a customer and a hotel begins well before check in. CRMs help manage that customer journey from the moment a guest has visited your site, contacted your team, enjoyed their stay, and after they’ve gone. It’s all about delivering personalized experiences.
From the sales staff to the front desk; from the kitchen to housekeeping to the lifeguards; from the customer service to post-stay feedback: There’s a lot of people in different departments gathering and using guest information. And with multiple hotel locations, a centralized CRM is a must.
Analysis of customer information
Some people need a special mattress, others have food allergies. Some travel with kids and use nanny services, others travel alone and are always signing up for group activities. CRMs analyze guest data and use it to upsell with personalization, or for creating marketing campaigns for potential customers with similar preferences.
Build customer loyalty
Every guest has the potential to bring repeat business, especially when you’re a large hotel franchise. Hotel CRMs often have tools dedicated to loyalty programs, targeting guests with special offers. Post-stay surveys also gauge the experience, showing your customers your dedication to constant improvement.
There is no single PoS protocol or sales process with hotels. There are multiple channels and even third-party bookers. Whether prepaid on a credit card or with the balance due upon check-in, there’s a lot to keep track of. CRMs also monitor the success of your sales activities to help your reps crush their targets and drive revenue.
Key features of Hotel CRM
Track inventories & rooms occupancy
Hotel CRMs either work closely with or even incorporate tools from operations management (OM) and property management systems (PMS). This covers a range of features from high-level stuff like reputation management, to on-the-ground details like room service, housekeeping and supply management. Everything generates data, which a CRM unifies and analyzes.
Schedule follow-ups for employees
Every business has employees, but hotels have great numbers of staff all trained in a huge variety of roles. And hotel chains need to manage a workforce across the globe. A good hotel CRM can help HR in the complex task of scheduling interviews, doing follow-ups, hiring, and training of new recruits.
Automate invoice & quotations
CRMs have taken on basic accounting features that every hotel business can benefit from, especially when it comes to larger corporate contracts or dealing with vendors. There are tools to create quotes with your hotel’s custom branding, then automate those quotes to invoices, and get notifications when they’re due or paid.
Manage your inquiries
These days, both major hotel brands and individual hotel operators need to have the widest communication channels to handle inquiries. CRM platforms unify phone, email, SMS, live chatting and social media accounts into an omnichannel dashboard, where fewer reps can handle incoming customer interactions 24/7, and even do it from a mobile app.
Outreach & engagement
Marketing CRM makes it easy to create email campaigns. It lets you plan and pre-schedule social media ads. It leverages marketing automation to send personalized messages to segmented audiences and fills in the guest data of whoever engages with your ads or messages. This primes the sales process with the necessary info to land more bookings.
Top 15 CRMs for the hotel industry
- Revinate’s rich guest profiles include booking methods, total number of stays, total number of nights, total money spent, time since during last stay, upsell requests, special preferences, as well as guest information from other CRMs and PMSs
- Does reputation management culling reviews from Google, TripAdvisor, social media, and hundreds of other sites
- Offers guest feedback and survey forms for more detailed accounts of the customer experience
- Marketing campaign modules help create, send and manage campaigns for multiple hotel locations and a unified brand messaging
- Performance tracking lets you compare the booking rates and customer satisfaction data between multiple hotel branches and locations
- It could use more robust lead scoring to track prospective customers who have entered the pipeline but are not yet ready to book a stay
- There is no real service module that can handle customer inquiries and tickets over the phone
- Thryv isn’t hotel CRM specific, but its focus on SMBs makes it a handy tool for independent and boutique hotels and B&B establishments
- There is an online appointment booker that could be used for making reservations, which let guests add notes, make payments, and sends reminders
- Unified omnichannel communication dashboard lets hotel reps handle reservations requests and customer support issues
- A reputation management module includes review forms, notifications from social media mentions, and in-depth analytics
- More a platform for a hotel business looking to maintain operations rather than scaling up significantly
- Doesn’t offer hotel-specific tools like upsells or loyalty program features
- Experience Hotel is a hotel CRM software that focuses on strengthening customer loyalty by helping hotel staff ensure top quality experience before, during and post-stay
- Special concierge tools to help with upsell campaigns for a range of offers including restaurant deals, spa treatments, and room upgrades
- Minimal and unobtrusive surveys can be peppered throughout a guest stay to anticipate any issues before they become a complaint
- Comprehensive segmentation features let you build campaigns for targeted prospective guests based on things like nationality, age, interests, or how familiar they are with the hotel’s regional location
- Easy re-booking tools which are totally in-house with your hotel brand to avoid third-party commissions for returning guests
- Lacks stronger integration with PMS interfaces
- While there is good automation regarding notifications, it could use more marketing automation in their email campaigns
- Freshsales is not particularly designed for the hospitality industry, but as far as CRMs go, it is a broad favorite among many businesses for its range of tools and scalability
- Has built-in telephony and email modules to bring major communication from potential guests into one simple dashboard
- Sees what web pages leads have clicked on to give context regarding their engagement level and score their conversion potentiality
- Incredibly versatile analytics and robust reporting by sales team or rep, territory, or specified duration
- Integrates with the larger Freshworks ecosystem as well as other useful SaaS like Zapier, MailChimp, HubSpot Marketing, and Google Calendar
- Again, there is no hotel industry-specific focus here
- There are no project management tools, which for a hotel CRM could be useful for event planning
- Lots of features, and to learn them all takes some time
- Blossom plan is $12 per user/per month, billed annually
- Garden plan is $25 per user/per month, billed annually
- Estate plan is $49 per user/per month, billed annually
- Forest plan is $79 per user/per month, billed annually
Freshsales CRM offers a 21-day free trial.
- NetSuite CRM is part of the larger NetSuite SaaS family, which highlights the hospitality and restaurant industries as one of their intended verticals
- The CRM tools integrate nicely with other useful NetSuite products for handling accounting, inventory, marketing, and loyalty programs
- Can support larger hotel enterprises spawning multiple brands, locations across the globe, and employee management systems from part-time staff to hotel managers and corporate executives
- Salesforce automation works on both the B2B level for large corporate accounts, as well as on the B2C for individual guest booking and upsells
- Complete guest 360 profiles make for customer service issue resolution in a personalized and timely fashion
- It’s a heavy-duty platform, which means be prepared to put in the hours figuring everything out
- Likewise related to its size and capabilities, there have been some complaints that it behaves sluggishly at times, or even goes down for a period
- Advanced reporting and searching gets complicated
- One big advantage of any product here is how it fits in with the all-encompassing Salesforce line of apps to help any business scale up in a multitude of directions
- Hotel CRM features include active real-time social listening so hotel owners and managers can read current and past guest online reviews about their experience
- Case management features allow hotel support representatives to receive, respond and solve any issue for travelers and guests with minimal delay
- Full data-gathering opportunities that track the customer experience through the sales lifecycle, and the guest experience during stays, all of which help with upsells and rebooking
- You can build custom-branded mobile apps for guests to use for booking, check-ins, requests, or to receive special offers
- There are so many plans with separate tools for various industries that picking the right one with everything you want (minus the features you don’t need) is quite the challenge
- While the site tries to emphasize hotels and the hospitality industry as a vertical, there are no truly hotel-specific CRM tools
- Lots to learn, and customer support is not as responsive as it could be to help you along
- Essentials plan with all-in-one sales and support is $25 per user/per month, billed annually
- Professional plan with complete CRM for any size team is $100 per user/per month, billed annually
- Enterprise plan with customizable sales CRM is $175 per user/per month, billed annually.
- Unlimited plan for “unlimited CRM power and support” is $325 per user/per month, billed annually
- Copper CRM is fully integrated into G Suite, and while not specifically tailored for the hotel businesses, is quite popular with the industry
- Includes a simple yet fully-comprehensive customer data dashboard which is accessible for whole teams across various hotel branches and locations
- Does pipeline management allowing for visual drag-n-drop automatic workflows to monitor and nudge leads as they shop for hotel bookings
- Notifications about contacts are updated in real-time to help keep track of new sales and booking opportunities
- Has a dedicated mobile app for iOS and Android which is great for independent hoteliers to offer speedy responses
- Some might be turned off that this isn’t specifically designed for hotels and the hospitality industry
- There are but a few customization options
- The reporting tool is a bit on the lightweight side
- Basic plan is $19 per month for up to 3 users, billed annually, and $24 per user/per month, billed monthly
- Professional plan is $49 per user/month, and $60 per user/per month, billed monthly
- Business plan is $119 per user/month, billed annually only
Copper offers a 14-day free trial.
Guestfolio (by Cendyn)
- Guestfolio specializes in helping B&Bs, boutique, and independent hotels
- Email automation tools maintain brand awareness for prospective, booked and checked-in guests, as well as post-stay customers, for gathering valuable feedback
- There’s a trip planner feature to assist concierges in suggesting local activities as well showcasing special in-hotel services and amenities
- A Mobile Concierge app allows guests to browse and book activities before and during their stay
- Guestfolio integrates with a suite of other Cendyn platforms for sales, marketing, and revenue management services
- Some tools require a bit of getting used to, like customer segmentation, labeling, and note-adding
- Email designing, while at first a simple drag-n-drop interface, can get glitchy
For-Sight (by Forth)
- For-Sight is a data-driven Marketing CRM system that uncovers deeper customer insights for improved guest experiences, more upsells and intelligent marketing
- The CRM module captures customer information from a variety of sources including PMS tools, Wifi registration, and Reputation Management platforms
- Query Engine performs deep data searches on your full database and saves the criteria and results for future or collaborative purposes
- Omnichannel marketing starts with a simple visual editor to create campaigns, then leverages intelligent segmenting to distribute them, followed by clear analytical reporting from the engagements
- They offer professional services to help with setup, onboarding, and training sessions for a variety of things like campaign building, marketing automation, data management, and creative best practice planning
- Doesn’t really have tools to handle customer support issues
- Lacks loyalty program features
- Email campaign builder could be more flexible
- Guestware is a guest experience management multi-plan solution that helps with seamless upscaling as a hotel business grows in size and scope
- Allows for super fast guest responses to requests and issues based on automated task assignments using data analytics
- Incorporates basic PMS tools to help manage maintenance, room cleaning and inspections
- Guest recognition software prepares all front desk staff for new and returning guests with highly-personalized data from sign-up info, social media, and past visits
- Point-based and tiered scoring systems for returning customers built into the loyalty program which feeds back to 1:1 remarketing efforts
- This basic platform lacks more basic CRM tools like lead management and marketing outreach tools unless one goes for the more pricier packages
- The dashboard is crowded and visually unappealing
- Guestware Select plan starts at $112 per 50 rooms/per month, billed annually and gets cheaper with more rooms added
- Guestware Suite plan starts at $200 per 50 rooms/per month, billed annually and gets cheaper with more rooms added
- For the Guestware Plus plan, contact the vendor
TRACK Hospitality CRM
- This CRM software is a subset of the total TRACK Travelnet Solutions stack of hotel and hospitality apps, which also include PMS and ERP systems for hotels, vacation rentals, and contact centers for large chains or affiliate hotel families
- A unified omnichannel communication tool helps hoteliers work together with marketers to identify prospects, convert leads and retain customer loyalty
- Automated messaging via email and text responds to segmentation and customer engagement behavior and delivers increasingly personalized communications throughout the booking and hotel-stay lifecycle
- Direct 1:1 texting tools for individual customers to manage their bookings, which gets saved as data in their contact profile in the CRM database
- The campaign builder could use better integrations with Google or Facebook Ad platforms
- There is a mobile app for guests to use, but it could be a bit more intuitive in terms of its design
TravelClick GMS (by Amadeus)
- TravelClick is a guest management solutions platform (GMS) that focuses on booking, upsells and loyalty programs to increase repeat business
- The Hotelligence360® feature does solid business intelligence reporting to identify leads and gain a better understanding of guests
- Performance reporting offers real-time data on the success rates of marketing campaigns
- It lets you communicate with guests via mobile texting, Facebook Messenger and WeChat
- Post-stay tools include surveys, remarketing efforts and loyalty programs
- The overall graphic interface is not as intuitive as other platforms and could be difficult to navigate
- The email marketing campaign designer is limited
- Quore is a massive platform loaded with tools for all things hotel and event planning related, including CRM tools for sales and pipeline management
- B2B sales tools for corporate events handles contact management, contracts, multi-room arrangements, menu planning, and more
- A suite of front desk features include SMS concierge services, automatic guest request fulfillment, a complaint manager, and satisfaction callbacks
- There’s a vendor management tool similar to a CRM that databases outside vendors for things like food, linens, cleaning materials, as well as hotel staff
- Very comprehensive data analytics of historical trends and reporting to guide future planning
- The sales features only come with the premium version
- The web browser version is not so intuitive and slow with load times
- Tagging and setting priority statuses is a bit on the sloppy side, which hinders advanced searching
- Clairvoyix is an ROI-focused collection of marketing and sales tools for major hotel chains which sync with basic CRM data
- The database sorts and cleans contact data from campaign engagements, identifies duplicates and de-dupes them, and flags old or inactive info
- There’s a slew of sales tools for B2B marketing to help hotel chains land corporate clients, book conferences and events via highly-qualified leads
- Offers specialist assistance in creating and managing social media posts for Facebook Ads and other sites
- There’s an email campaign editor that feeds into analytics with statistical reporting on opens, shares, subscriptions and even a heat map
- While there is a guest profile database that serves basic CRM functions of contact management, it is not exactly a full-on CRM
- Many users have reported the platform’s disparate dashboards make logging in and switching modules feel like an excessive number of steps and clicks
- Navis is a dedicated CRM solution for hotels and hospitality businesses that unify the efforts of sales teams, marketing departments and analytical feedback
- Reservation sales modules help sales reps with coaching over virtual telephony and chatting, and post-sale scoring and analysis for further improvement
- Marketing suites include segmentation, automation, surveys, and behavioral preference recognition
- Analytics combine data from sales and marketing to help measure ROI and KPI, as well as inform future marketing strategies to find potential customers
- Limited integrations with other SaaS including third-party booking sites
- While the price is not listed on the site, some users have mentioned it is costly compared to similar platforms
Customer experience is the number one thing that modern businesses need to master. And no business is more about “the experience” than the hospitality business.
So hotel franchise owners, hoteliers, and independent hotel managers everywhere can be grateful that some of the most effective digital tools out there for improving CX has finally booked a permanent place within their industry: Hotel CRM goes beyond automating marketing, boosting sales and streamlining customer service; it offers a total front-to-back solution for the entire hotel operation, from property management to personalization of every guest’s experience.
The traveler and tourist put a lot of effort into their plans, more than just money and time. It’s about an escape from the every day, a chance to adventure, or dial down the pressures of work and domestic life—to be somebody else for that special time away from home. And those who travel for work also rely on a smooth stay to help them stay productive.
With everything your guests invest in their plans, your decision to invest in the best CRM solution for hotels should be crystal clear. And we hope this guide points you in the right direction when choosing the ideal platform for your hotel business.