Delivering a great hotel guest experience is key to building customer loyalty and maintaining consistent revenue. Some guests might even become lifelong supporters of your brand.
Today’s traveller is deal-seeking, tech-savvy and has more buying power than ever. Going above and beyond to provide an exceptional experience is critical to standing out from the competition and increasing those all-important repeat bookings.
Follow these nine essential strategies to nail the guest experience and boost customer loyalty.
Understand your guests’ wants and needs
Make sure you understand what your customers want before and during their stay. Setup automatic emails to your guests, pre and post-stay, so you can collect useful feedback.
Find out why your guests are staying at your property — perhaps they are getting away for a milestone anniversary or maybe they have to travel to your town for the funeral of a friend. The purpose of their trip is extremely important for you to know how to cater to them.
Use that information to personalise the experience and establish a connection with your guests.
Ensure guests can book and pay easily
Your website should not only showcase your property but also provide a simple booking experience for guests.
With this in mind, your online booking process has to be up to scratch. A lot of elements of your website come into play here – including comprehensive room and rate information, secure payment processing and a positive mobile user experience.
Make first impressions count
First impressions are everything in hospitality, as you know. Your guests need to feel welcome and at ease from the moment they book a stay with you. When they arrive, make sure each and every guest is greeted warmly.
Whenever possible, you should strive to be available to meet your guests and offer them hospitality. Warm cookies fresh from the oven, a tray of local fruit or a glass of sparkling wine from a nearby vineyard are just a few ways to surprise your guests and leave a lasting positive impression.
Prioritise customer service
Simply put, customer service is king. Anything you can do to make guests more comfortable and reduce issues will be noticed and remembered when a guest reviews their visit, makes a post on social media, or decides where to stay on their next trip to your area.
In person, you need to let your personality shine! After all, this is probably one of the reasons why you started your own bed and breakfast – you’re a ‘people person’.
The fact that you can truly personalise each guest’s stay is what makes your offering so special. Personality can’t be taught and replicated by the big hotel chain next door.
- Don’t push the most expensive room, or try to upsell the most expensive add-on. Put the guest first and think about what would truly benefit them.
- Pass savings onto your guests instead of pushing the bottom line.
- Remember information they shared with you the last time they stayed with you.
- Create a customer service standard statement (why you do what you do, how you want them to feel, and how you will accomplish this) and share it with them. Have it prominently displayed at your front desk.
Use technology to increase convenience and efficiency
Travellers in all market segments are becoming more reliant on technology, particularly when they travel. Stay on top of industry news to learn about the latest technology that is available, and implement what works best for your hotel.
For example, a mobile app designed specifically for your hotel or B&B can allow your guests to order room service, make special requests and check-in remotely prior to arrival.
Include upgrades when you can
Whenever possible, surprise and delight your guests with a better view or more luxurious linens at no extra cost whenever you can. This will resonate with customers and encourage them to tell their friends and family about their stay.
Many hotel and B&B operators also choose to reward those who booked with them directly as a way of encouraging further direct bookings in the future.
Provide added customer service to repeat guests
Once you start getting repeat bookings, provide special service to guests to encourage their continued patronage and positive reviews.
From welcoming guests at check-in by their name, providing a complimentary treat in their room (say, a cookie or fresh fruit platter), or upgrading their room if space is available, repeat guests will enjoy the VIP treatment – and you’ll enjoy more visits from your loyal customers.
Follow up post-stay
When your guest’s trip is complete, close the loop and follow up with your customer with a simple email asking “How was your stay?” or “Is there anything else we should have done or can do for you?” An all-in-one online front desk and booking system can automate this follow up email for you.
Use the insights you receive to implement initiatives that provide real value, elevate the customer experience and turn guests into returning advocates of your hotel’s brand.
Introduce a dedicated customer loyalty program
Customers appreciate being rewarded for their loyalty. Creating a dedicated rewards program is one of the most effective ways to encourage ongoing business. What this program looks like will depend on your hotel or B&B, but could include incentives such as upgrades, add-ons, freebies or discounts for repeat customers.
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