Hotels and hospitality are fiercely competitive sectors across the world - a room is a room, is it not? Standing out from the crowd when there are so many choices available and the offering is, at its core, much the same as the hotel next door, is a challenge in the friendly war for bookings.
With Dubai hosting Expo 2020, it is anticipated that the number of hotels will grow by 11 per cent in the next two years, with 132,000 rooms forecast to be in operation by the end of 2019. As more hotels open ahead of the Expo, Dubai hoteliers face the challenge of filling rooms now and activating strategies to ensure they stay filled once the influx of tourists leaves the city post-Expo - an exodus of a predicted 25 million people.
Determining which hotel to book with, typically comes down to brand recognition, positive reviews and value-added services. If the brand is not universally recognised, there are still reviews and services to tip the favour. But what if a hotel is brand new? What if there has never been an investment in the brand or online reviews? How do prospects and customers learn about a brand and develop recognition and loyalty?
The answer is customer relationship management (CRM).
Dubai has long become accustomed to the incoming and outgoing of tourists and short-term residents, but when all of the fuss dies down, it is going to be essential that customer relationships are strong and continually strengthened, in order to keep business up when things are settling down.
In the pursuit of new customers and the management of existing relationships, all Dubai hotels need CRM.
5 Best CRM for Hotels in Dubai, UAE
For hotels, CRM software captures data, developing a database of customers, their orders, preferences, and booking habits, giving hotels unique ammunition to feed their customers the most relevant communications (discounts, offers, holiday inspiration) to convince them to plan a trip and make a booking.
All of the CRM suggestions included here have all the features a Dubai hotel needs to capture customer data and leverage it to create custom communications to convert browsers into buyers.
1. HubSpot CRM
HubSpot is a global favourite for data capture and inbound marketing. The HubSpot CRM is free, user-friendly, and works well in hotels as it's able to be used by anyone in the business and has features to automatically capture online and email communications, saving staff from having to jump through too many hoops to capture information.
HubSpot's free offering includes a fully functional CRM and a Sales Hub, which integrates with Gmail and Outlook calendars and email, as well as customisable contact properties, deal stages, pipeline, opportunity tracking, tasks, website chat and bots, email tracking, reporting, meeting scheduling link per user. Hotels looking to bolster their bookings are likely to want advanced features like the HubSpot Sales Professional which has multiple pipelines, and HubSpot Marketing so that the hotel can add campaign management and marketing automation integrations into the CRM.
HubSpot CRM ranges from free up to $400p/month for five licences. They offer a free 30 days trial on advanced features.
Salesforce.com is a widely loved CRM tool that, like HubSpot, has a loyal following of users thanks to its easy to use interface that helps hotels to capture and leverage data to improve customer relationships and automate marketing communications.
Their starting plan includes basic contact management features, task and event tracking, Outlook and Gmail integration, mobile app access, a content library, reporting, and Chatter (their internal chat tool). To bring marketing into the mix, the Salesforce Marketing Cloud service add on's include users email, mobile, social, advertising, journey building, marketing automation and data management.
Salesforce.com starts at $25 user/month for Salesforce Essentials and goes up to $325 user/month for Lightning Unlimited, with the Marketing Cloud features able to be added onto these plans for an additional cost. They offer a 30-day free trial.
3. Microsoft Dynamics 365
Microsoft Dynamics is worth considering for the larger hotels with multiple locations and a large number of users. It is the enterprise-size option on this list and as such comes with a host of features, as well as some added complexity to manage.
The Microsoft Dynamics 365 marketing campaign app gives businesses the tools to create and nurture leads, align sales and marketing, and make smarter decisions with AI-powered market insights. It works for 2,000 contacts with 10 or more users of Customer Engagement and Dynamics 365 Plans.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 starts at $115 user/month and goes up to $210 user/month for Dynamics 365 Plan, which gives users access to all the apps. They have a 30-day free trial.
4. Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM is a popular option with small to medium sized hotels, those looking for a user-friendly interface and the right features to capture data and help staff to create better engagement strategies with marketing automation.
Their entry package comes with workflow automation, sales gamification, and a sales process builder. Hotels looking for advanced features can add on Google AdWords integration, and AI sales assistant, as well as their marketing automation tools, which allow users to create manage and track campaigns with visibility across the teams to improve engagement.
Zoho starts at $12 user/month for Zoho Standard and goes up to $100 user/month for Zoho Ultimate. They have a 15-day free trial.
Infusionsoft is a feature-rich, award-winning platform for small hotels looking to keep on top of their leads, track client behaviours and improve interactions.
Their entry package comes with unlimited landing pages, CRM, marketing automation, unlimited emails, invoices and payments, and free customer support. The advanced plans then include sales automation and online selling features.
Infusionsoft starts at $119 p/month for the Basic, including 2,500 contacts, and goes up to $399 p/month for the Premier plan with 10,000 contacts.
As with all hotel software, the best CRM option needs to be evaluated based on the size and needs of the hotel, but all of the above CRM tools have the power to attract, capture and keep business.