Have you ever checked into a hotel and felt like the staff knew your name before you even introduced yourself? Maybe they welcomed you back or had your favorite room ready just for you. This type of personalized service delights return guests, making them feel valued. But how do hotels pull it off? The secret lies in the data contained within every guest’s folio.
What Exactly Is a Hotel Folio?
A folio is the record of each guest’s stay, containing their personal details, reservation information, service requests, and itemized spending. Whenever you check-in, order room service, visit the spa, or purchase anything on-site, it gets added to your folio.
Folios include gems like:
- Name and contact info
- Loyalty program status
- Room type booked
- Special requests or preferences
- Charges for dining, spa services, amenities, and more
This data provides hotels with insights into your preferences and habits over multiple visits. By analyzing folio trends, staff can better anticipate guest needs and deliver personalized touches to exceed expectations.
|Guest Data||Reservation Details||Charges & Spending||Requests & Preferences|
|Name, contact info||Room type, rates||Room service orders||Pillow type|
|Loyalty status||Length of stay||Spa appointments||Late checkout|
|Company/group info||Payment method||Meals & drinks||WiFi login|
|Address, nationality||Travel purpose||Gift shop purchases||Room location|
Folio Analysis for Actionable Insights
How exactly can poring over folios provide hotels with insights to improve guest experiences? Here are some of the key ways folio data is put into action:
Identifying Loyal Guests
Properties can easily spot their most frequent and highest-value guests by looking at past folios. Guests who stay often, book expensive room types, use on-site services, and rack up charges demonstrate loyalty and deserve recognition.
Personalized amenities or upgrades for these VIPs make them feel special on each return visit. Even just using their name at check-in provides a touch of personalization they will appreciate.
Understanding Booking Patterns
Looking at past reservation details, hotels can identify peak booking dates and seasons when demand is highest. This allows strategic planning around staffing, pricing, promotions, and other operational decisions.
Folio data also reveals the most popular room types, package features, and length of stays by market segment. All this informs pricing strategies and service offerings.
Noting Preferences and Patterns
By studying past folios, hotels can identify preferences like pillow type, WiFi packages, smoking vs. non-smoking, bed type, and specific room locations.
Noting patterns around room service, dining outlets, amenities, and leisure activities also helps hotels anticipate needs proactively. If a guest routinely orders coffee via room service, staff can have their regular order delivered automatically each morning.
Driving Relevant Upsells
Folio spending habits reveal opportunities to provide personalized add-ons and offers most likely to resonate with each guest. Someone who frequents the spa could get a promotional massage discount at check-in. For wine aficionados, a customized tasting and tour package in the on-site vineyard could entice additional spending.
Turning Insights into Personalized Service
With the insights gleaned from mining folio data, hotels can now put them into action through small personal touches that delight guests. Here are some examples:
- Welcome Back Notes: Letters for return guests mentioning previous stays or preferences make VIPs feel remembered.
- Custom Room Prep: Having guest’s preferred room temperature, pillows, shower products, and refreshments ready on arrival exceeds expectations.
- Proactive Issue Resolution: Being aware of past service problems allows staff to be extra diligent and remedy matters preemptively.
- Relevant Upsells: Providing tailored spa, dining, or amenities promotions based on spending history drives incremental sales.
- Loyalty Recognition: Surprise room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, or bonus points for frequent guests increase engagement.
|Repeat customers||Welcome back gift or amenity|
|Early arrivals||Priority room prep and early check-in|
|Late checkouts||Notify housekeeping of delayed departure|
|Overnight laundry||Offer express service and delivery|
|Pool/beach time||Set up cabana with sunscreen and beverages|
The options are endless. Even small, thoughtful touches go a long way in making guests feel understood and cared for.
Protecting Data Privacy
Of course, mining guest data raises important privacy considerations. Hotels must be transparent about how they collect, analyze, and act on customer information. Some best practices include:
- Clearly explaining data usage at booking and check-in
- Allowing guests to opt out of data collection or targeted marketing
- Anonymizing data before performing analytics to avoid connecting behaviors to identifiable individuals
- Securing systems that store and analyze confidential guest information
- Restricting internal access to sensitive personal data only to staff that require it
- Promptly deleting folio information after the guest checks out when no longer needed
The GDPR and various data privacy regulations around the world mandate certain rules.
Beyond legal compliance, protecting privacy is also good business. Guests will only share information willingly if they trust it will be handled responsibly. Maintaining that trust is paramount.
The Future of Personalization
The hospitality industry is only just beginning to tap into the power of folio data. As properties adopt more sophisticated systems, the ability to gather in-depth insights and respond with highly tailored service will continue evolving.
Eventually, machine learning algorithms can analyze millions of data points across the hotel chain to predict customer needs and preferences with pinpoint accuracy. Location data from mobile apps can also help customize offerings for on-site guests in real-time based on where they are physically at any moment.
However, technology alone cannot replicate the human touch of an attentive staff member. So while data and AI will enhance hotels’ ability to deliver personalized service, the unique hospitality factor will still come down to people skills and emotional intelligence.
At the end of the day, we all want to feel special on vacation. Hotels that can use our folio data responsibly to surprise and delight us will earn our trust and loyalty. So share your preferences generously, and let the hotels work their magic! You may just find your favorite bottled water or a welcome fruit basket waiting in your freshly prepped room next visit.