As part of the Hilton Luxury Worldwide chain of hotels, the Hilton Garden Inn at London Heathrow Airport serves hundreds of thousands of guests every year. How can the hotel stay connected to its guests in a meaningful way even after they’ve checked out?
Part of the journey
Airport hotels like the Hilton Garden Inn London Heathrow have a lot of opportunities to connect with and engage guests during their stay. They’re serving those guests, impressing them, entertaining them, comforting them, and serving them while they spend some time away from home.
In an age of third-party booking, though, that close connection is often severed at check-out.
“It’s very difficult for airport hotels to remain at the forefront for all guests,” says Neil Hodgson, Deputy General Manager at the Hilton Garden Inn. “Especially with the amount of competition that’s out there, and the amount of more transient guests that just pick airport hotels based on cost or location.”
While the Hilton Garden Inn benefits from the Hilton’s larger loyalty program and some of the brand’s global marketing efforts, it’s tough to make the kinds of deep meaningful connections guests need to return to the same hotel year after year, trip after trip – especially when it comes to transient, on-the-go guests.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint
Building meaningful connections with guests isn’t about talking fast and loud. It’s about being there when they need you. It also takes time. A quick conversation at the check-in counter alone isn’t enough to create a life-long customer. Guests need more points of engagement over a longer period of time. As most guests come and go rather quickly, finding those points of engagement that can be tricky.
So, as we worked through our PressReader solution for the hotel, we wanted to make sure we maximized the opportunity for real connection. That manifested in two ways:
With PressReader, the Hilton Garden Inn became part of every guest’s overall journey. It became a point of engagement that continued and repeated long after the guest had checked out. We focused on extending the points of engagement past their regular limits.
“One of the big advantages of having PressReader is that guests can download their newspapers at the hotel, or their magazines, and then read them at the airport or while they’re on the plane,” says Neil. “Wherever they are and wherever they’re going, they can use our facility, our benefit, during their travel.”
With in-app branding and custom content categories hand-picked to be most relevant for a hotel’s guests, PressReader helped strengthen the connection between the Hilton Garden Inn and its guests.
“Being an airport hotel, many of our guests only stay for one night,” says Neil.
But PressReader helps extend the duration of that engagement.
It was also important for our solution to help the Hilton Garden Inn retain guests. We wanted to encourage repeat visits and longer stays. That only happens when hotels take the time to offer consistent, personalized service.
We knew that the Hilton Garden Inn serves hundreds of thousands of guests every year. Nearly 60% of them speak English, but the rest speak German, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, and other languages from other parts of the world.
Our solution was able to seamlessly and automatically deliver relevant content to each of those guests in the language they prefer.
That’s meaningful connection.
That’s relationship building.
Putting in the work
Building these kinds of connections, though, isn’t as easy as setting up your hotel’s PressReader account.
Seriously, we wish it was.
Hotels like the Hilton Garden Inn know they have to put in the leg work to make guests aware of the offer.
“We’ve got cards on the breakfast tables, we’ve got posters at reception, we’ve got it on-screen in our interactive lobby TV system, we’ve got collateral in the bedrooms, we mention PressReader to people when they’re checking in,” says Neil. “Because we know that once they actually see it, when they see that they can get all of their local newspapers from wherever they’re coming from, when they get onto the app – that’s when they really see the value.”
Neil and his team promote PressReader in their hotel as much as they can without undermining the quality of their own hotel brand. Not for any reason other than, simply, it brings value to the guests and to the hotel. It’s that trust in PressReader as a solution to a real business challenge that has led to the partnership’s success.
“It just makes things a bit more seamless for the guests,” says Neil.
This kind of relationship building is only effective if it’s sustainable. Even then, it’s only really valuable if it’s scalable. Hotels have to find a way to build relationships without wasting resources. And they have to find a way to do it 500,000 times a year.
PressReader’s custom hotel solution helped the Hilton Garden Inn do both.
“The amount of newspapers that were being thrown in the bin before definitely contributed to the hotel’s carbon footprint,” says Neil. “One of the reasons we went with PressReader as a service was the amount of waste that partnership could eliminate.”
Neil and his team used to order 240 newspapers every week. Most of which would be disposed of, on-site, without ever being read.
Staying two steps ahead
In a time when some hotels are still insisting that a physical paper available only in one language, covering only one location is good enough for their guests, hotels like the Hilton Garden Inn at London Heathrow Airport are getting ahead by cutting costs, eliminating waste, and – most importantly – building stronger relationships through deeper, more meaningful engagement.
“For us,” says Neil, “it’s really about looking at things that the hotel can do to make the guest’s journey more enjoyable and more seamless.”
If you want to know more about how you can improve the way your hotel engages with its guests, get in touch with the sales team.