The Impact of Continuous Guest Engagement

For hospitality providers, guest engagement is no longer restricted to the period between check-in and check-out. Thanks to the variety of digital communication tools available, hospitality businesses are now able to reach out to and engage with prospective customers before they have even made a booking, and continue the conversation long after they have packed their bags to leave. In this article, we’ll explore the strategies available to hospitality providers to implement a joined-up approach to guest engagement at each phase of the journey — from booking to departure and beyond.

In this 5-minute read we’ll explore:

  • The importance of engaging with guests early in the process
  • How multi-touchpoint engagement during the stay boosts satisfaction
  • Why guest engagement doesn’t end at check-out
  • How guest engagement has a real impact on profitability
  • Why the future of guest engagement relies on integration

Understanding Guest Engagement

In the hospitality industry, engagement refers to the various ways in which hotels and similar establishments interact with their guests to enhance their experience and the lasting effect that this has. Historically, guest engagement was limited to face-to-face interactions during the stay — now it means engaging guests throughout their hospitality journey. The pre-stay phase involves initiating contact and building anticipation, the in-stay phase focuses on enriching the guest’s experience while on the property, and the post-stay phase aims to maintain the relationship and encourage repeat visits.

By anticipating guest needs and exceeding expectations, hospitality providers can achieve higher levels of guest satisfaction and loyalty — leading to increased repeat bookings and revenue. A holistic approach to engagement not only enhances the guest experience but also fosters a sense of connection and belonging, vital for brand loyalty and profitability in today’s hyper-competitive market.

Pre-Arrival: Setting Expectations For The Stay

Pre-arrival engagement sets the tone for the stay and begins the process of building trust between the guest and the hotel — or renewing and reinforcing the relationship with repeat guests.

Personalized communication is key here — addressing guests by name and tailoring messages based on their preferences and previous interactions gives a positive impression of the hotel’s commitment to meeting their needs. It’s equally important to communicate with prospective guests via the methods they’re most comfortable with — so while a welcome email may be appreciated by older guests, younger generations might prefer communicating by WhatsApp or social media.

An efficient and integrated multi-channel approach is therefore crucial to ensuring all guest interactions are captured and acted upon in the lead-up to their stay. Pre-arrival concierge services are one way of facilitating this, with hotels increasingly turning to specialist CX teams to assist guests with travel arrangements, record special requests, or answer queries — making the planning process smoother and more enjoyable, and paving the way for a memorable stay.

Opportunities for self-service planning can also add value and build anticipation. For example, advanced mobile experiences, including augmented reality, have become a useful tool in increasing pre-arrival engagement — allowing prospective guests to explore the property, check amenities, and prebook services like spa treatments or restaurant reservations.

During The Stay: Delivering An Enhanced Experience

Engaging with guests during their stay is pivotal in creating a memorable and personalized experience — it’s where hospitality providers can truly showcase their commitment to exceptional service and attention to detail.

The cornerstone of in-stay engagement is the ability to provide a customized experience tailored to each guest’s preferences and interests. This can range from room customizations, such as pillow preferences or temperature settings, to personalized recommendations for dining or entertainment. Digital concierges offer an efficient and accessible way for guests to get information, make requests, and provide feedback in real time. For a more personal experience, an offsite 24/7 customer care team can handle the same types of requests while adding a valued human touch.

Proactively offering special services and amenities can enhance the guest experience further — such as complimentary upgrades, late checkouts, or small tokens of appreciation like a free breakfast or a welcome drink. These types of gestures, though relatively low-cost, can contribute to a more memorable stay, and increase in-stay spending and lifetime value well beyond the immediate cost of the gift.

Providing guests with insider tips on the best local dining, shopping, and attractions can enrich their experience and help them feel more connected to the destination. Alternatively, hotels can build more immersive experiences in-house, such as welcome receptions, wine-tasting sessions, or movie nights — further deepening guests’ connection to the property. Overall, effective in-stay engagement is about exceeding guests’ expectations and creating moments that resonate, leading to higher satisfaction and the likelihood of them returning or recommending the hotel to others.

Post-Visit: Fostering Loyalty And Advocacy

Post-stay engagement is crucial in solidifying a long-term relationship with guests — maintaining the connection established during the stay and encouraging them to return. Effective post-stay engagement strategies can transform a one-time guest into a loyal patron and a vocal advocate for the brand.

Follow-up communication, such as thank you emails or satisfaction surveys, plays a key role in post-stay engagement. These communications should be personalized and express genuine appreciation for the guest’s business. Feedback surveys also provide valuable insights into the overall experience, and analytics tools can help extract insights from the results — allowing hotels to address any issues and continually improve their service.

Loyalty programs are another important aspect of post-stay engagement — offering rewards or incentives for repeat bookings can encourage guests to choose the same hotel or group for future stays. These programs can also be tailored to reflect the guest’s preferences, making them feel valued and understood.

However, relying too heavily on automated communications can have a negative impact — if guests feel overloaded with digital messaging they may disengage. To build genuine personal connections, a blended approach is effective — complementing surveys and emails with customer calls to gather verbal feedback and draw out any overlooked issues. With an effective data strategy in place, tasks like these can be outsourced to specialist CX teams, armed with up-to-date information about individual customers — allowing in-house staff to focus on welcoming the next intake of guests.

The Impact And Benefits Of Continuous Engagement

A study by polling firm Gallup reveals the importance of guest engagement to hospitality sector bottom lines. Guests who felt engaged with a hotel and its staff spent on average $185 more than those who felt disengaged. And the benefits of engagement aren’t limited to greater spending during a single stay. Engaged guests are far more likely to become repeat guests — and are less price sensitive when booking accommodation with a brand they trust.

As an illustration, the same survey reported that only 21% of guests strongly agreed their most recently booked hotel took care of their well-being — but within that group, 4 out of 5 felt engaged with the brand. The opposite is true of guests who didn’t feel well looked after, with only 6% reporting feeling engaged — and 28% actively disengaged.

It’s clear that building engagement translates directly into increased CSAT and therefore customer lifetime value. However, the best way of building engagement may depend on the individual guest. While all guests rate comfort, price, and location as key factors in their choice of accommodation, for older generations the responsiveness of staff is important, while for younger guests technology and connectivity emerge as higher priorities.

Balancing different generational needs is therefore crucial for hospitality providers looking to maximize guest satisfaction and loyalty. While “digital native” guests will make up more of the total customer base over time, it’s important that older guests don’t feel “left behind”. Human interaction must be complemented, not replaced, by technology — retaining its role as a valued part of the guest experience.

How Emerging Tech Will Shape The Future Of Guest Engagement

Innovation in engagement will continue to focus on creating a unique, memorable, and seamless experience for guests throughout their relationship with a brand or venue. Emerging trends such as the use of augmented reality for virtual tours, AI for highly personalized recommendations, and IoT for more connected room experiences are set to redefine the guest experience.

However, to implement these innovations effectively, integration will become increasingly central to a smart hospitality strategy — not only ensuring that devices and software work seamlessly together but also ensuring that consistent and comprehensive guest data is available at each touchpoint.

The personal factor is key — ensuring that within an increasingly tech-driven experience, there are moments of genuine human connection. For example, if a guest uses an in-room tablet to book a restaurant, the CX agent they speak to ahead of their next stay should be aware of this and be able to recommend other locations serving similar cuisine.


From pre-arrival excitement building to post-stay relationship maintenance, each phase of engagement plays a crucial role — not just as an aspect of commercial and operational strategy, but by creating an experience that resonates deeply with guests, creating lasting impressions, and fostering enduring relationships.

Integrating technology and data analytics, complementing in-house staff with dedicated and specialized customer care teams, and responding promptly to the changing nature of customer expectations are all important contributors to guest engagement.

Looking to the future, it’s clear that those businesses in the hospitality industry that can innovate and adapt their engagement strategies in an agile and responsive way will be best positioned to succeed. If you’re looking to streamline customer communications as part of an enhanced guest engagement strategy you could benefit from a partner like SourceCX — off the latest strategies and technologies, as well as trained, informed customer care agents who will care for your guests as deeply as you do.