What makes a hotel profitable can be summed up in one thing: its customers! Guest experience is the main driver of continued revenue for any successful hotel. When guests are unhappy with their stay, they are unlikely to return or recommend your hotel to new guests.
In the digital age of online reviews and bloggers, customer experience has become even more important. Once a guest has had an unsatisfactory experience at a hotel, hoteliers can do nothing to stop them from sharing that with the world.
However, what hoteliers can do is focus on ensuring an exceptional guest experience every time. Guests who enjoy their experience will return to your hotel, recommend it to others, and perhaps write a glowing review about it online!
Use customer experience to your advantage
The value of word of mouth marketing is often overlooked, when it shouldn’t be. A happy guest can easily bring in friends and family who will bring new business to your hotel.
Moreover, in today’s world, word of mouth goes far beyond a person’s personal circle. People can share their experiences on social media, blogs, or online review platforms for the public to see.
Hoteliers need to focus on fine-tuning their guest experience to make it unforgettable. It can be difficult to know where to start when looking to improve the customer experience – but we’ve got some helpful tips below.
An amazing customer experience starts with the basics. If your hotel is disorganized, the guest experience immediately suffers. It all starts with making sure you have the right systems in place to maintain top-notch operational efficiency within your hotel.
For example, a customer checking into their hotel and waiting in a long line will have a negative first impression. Fortunately, there are hotel technologies available to mitigate these situations. By investing in a property management system, hoteliers can reduce check-in times and avoid frustrating queues.
A PMS can allow hotels to verify guest information and payment details before they even arrive, making check-in easier. Some cloud-based PMS systems even offer remote check-in, where guests can check in themselves in their room at a kiosk or on their own devices.
With a PMS system, your front desk can easily access upcoming reservations and ensure they are fully prepared. This avoids bad guest experiences, such as the reception not having a key ready or the room not being cleaned on time.
A cloud-based property management system tracks all operations in a hotel – from housekeeping schedule to up-to-date availability, making it easy for staff to greet guests with the click of a button. Without integrative technologies like these, operational efficiency can suffer greatly.
To increase operational efficiency, hoteliers need to identify where problems are occurring and why. If guest rooms often aren’t ready upon arrival, it’s time to explore that. Perhaps the housekeeping team would benefit from mobile software like a cloud-based PMS that allows them to communicate which rooms are ready.
Optimizing your operational efficiency should be a priority – without it, guest experience will suffer even if a hotel does everything else right. Additionally, operational inefficiencies can cost your hotel more in labor and error mitigation, which hurts revenue.
Customization and personalization
Hospitality is a people-centric industry. When embarking on a travel experience, customers expect their needs to be catered for. Hotels that go above and beyond to show guests they care will have higher satisfaction ratings.
With today’s hotel technology, it’s easy to personalize a guest’s experience. When customers book online, they can enter any relevant information about their trip, such as the occasion they are traveling for. By asking guests to write down the reason for their stay, your staff can prepare personalized touches for them.
For example, if someone notes that they are coming for their honeymoon, this may be the perfect time to “wow” your guest! Simple touches, like a bouquet and a bottle of champagne in their room, can make all the difference. Some hotels may even offer discounted upgrades to larger suites for people traveling for a special occasion!
Even for guests who choose not to write down their reason for visiting, hotel teams must make efforts to personalize the experience. Staff should be trained to relate to guests and go beyond the typical scenario when speaking with guests.
If a customer is struggling with their luggage, a concierge should be there to help. If a guest mentions not knowing where to eat in the area, a staff member should enthusiastically offer suggestions for nearby restaurants.
Whatever the reason for someone’s trip, a hotelier must always ensure that every guest feels special and taken care of, from the moment they set foot in the lobby. This is best accomplished by combining the use of technology and in-person relationship building.
Positive online reputation
Assuming a hotel does everything in its power to make the guest experience smooth and enjoyable, a positive online reputation should be easy to maintain. However, there are always isolated incidents and guests who have false expectations about their visit. In short, you can’t please eeverybody.
So what happens when one or two negative reviews for your hotel pop up online? Negative reviews are frustrating to receive, but they can be a huge opportunity for hoteliers.
Hoteliers should have a member of management, or a dedicated customer support team, who responds empathetically and in a timely manner to any negative reviews. Responses to negative reviews should always include a sincere apology and provide contact information for the customer to get in touch with the business.
Hotels should offer incentives to rectify the situation, such as a credit for a future room or a small chargeback on money spent, if necessary. Showing that you are aware, responsive, and empathetic to customers who have a negative experience tells potential customers that you care about their experience.
Hoteliers should also use negative reviews as constructive feedback. If the same topics keep coming up in customer reviews, it’s time to revisit the items that are getting low ratings. For example, if guests aren’t happy with the cleanliness of rooms, maybe check your housekeeping services and see if you need more staff.
By paying close attention to your online reviews, you can ensure that your online reputation is excellent, which will encourage more people to book rooms at your hotel compared to the competition.
If you want more revenue, your customer experience should be your priority. Hotels that provide exceptional guest experiences rank higher in online reviews, get more referrals, and secure business for more loyal guests. All of this translates into higher revenue and a better performing hotel!
Hotelogix editorial staff
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