Why investing in a strong guest relationship throughout the stay is essential for a hotel
Initiating and maintaining contact with a guest has a lot of advantages. Here are 6 ways hotels will benefit when they invest in their guest relationship by listening to them, being ready to help and providing information when they need it.
- Meeting guests' expectations
Guests come to a hotel to relax, therefore it is imperative to provide them with a smooth and seamless experience. Hotels should offer to simplify the guests' journey by allowing them to check in online, access hotel services from their mobile phone and by giving them information about their stay before they even arrive (the hotel's address, reception hours, check-in time, luggage storage, etc.).
Guests want to be reassured and put at ease. They should be told how their stay will be organised and what they will need to do upon arrival and departure. The hotel must be able to anticipate and respond to the guests' expectations: the guest will want information and support.
Personalisation is essential in order to offer the guest things that interest them or best suit their preferences. The reception team already does this when they are with the guest, but it can be more proactive and accompany them even when they are not physically at the front desk. The only way to give such a personalised experience, is to have all of the guest's information centralised in a detailed database.
- Increase the sale of extras
Maintaining contact with your guest means building a bond with them. By creating this connection, the guest feels more able to ask for (and share) information and is more likely to turn to the hotel for extras such as activities, restaurants, etc.
The hotel or concierge can therefore become the guests' point of contact for all aspects of their stay. The guest will consequently prefer to ask the hotel for restaurant information, tourist recommendations, for a taxi, etc. rather than researching online themselves.
It is therefore in the hotel's interest to help the guest and to suggest ideas for eating out, places to visit or intineraries. The hotel should also be readily available if the guest ever needs their assistance.
- Detecting (and rectifying) problems before it's too late
Only asking the guest if everything is going well as they check out of the hotel is counterproductive. It's really important to detect any problems that may have arisen during the stay by actively asking the guest, even if it is a minor problem (any delays, hiccups, slight defect of an appliance, etc.), with the aim to resolve these issues before the guest leaves. It is also a great idea to give a more in-depth satisfaction survey to your guests after their stay.
The results of these surveys should not only be used internally to correct or improve the guest experience, but also to ensure that if the guest returns to the hotel and has reported a problem, the problem is not repeated again. It is therefore vital to keep a record in the guest's profile of what they did not like so that they are not offered it again (location, room configuration, facilities, etc.).
It is equally as important to follow up on this internal feedback, and of managing the communication between the teams that look after different areas of the hotel (reception, housekeeping, etc.). There is nothing more effective for managing guest requests than a ticketing system where a ticket is created for each request. The people whom the request concerns are notified and kept up to date with the status of the problem. The system automatically sends reminders or notifications to a superior if the ticket is not processed in time. The aim? To ensure that no request is forgotten and that the hotel provides an optimum level of customer service at all times.
- Improve the guest's arrival
Initiating the relationship with a guest as early as possible helps to prepare and therefore speed up the arrival, which is never very convenient after a long journey. Guests are already very used to checking in online before a flight. This process, adopted by all airlines, does not eliminate identity and security checks completely but simplifies the procedure on the day.
The time before a stay is a good time to build the guest's excitement for their upcoming trip. They have (presumably) chosen to come to your hotel, so show them that they have made the right choice. Encourage their enthusiasm by showing them all there is to do there, by offering ideas for walks, experiences, activities, by listing the 'must-see' spots and some new experiences to try.
- Improve the hotel's reputation
Focusing on the guest relationship will improve the hotel's reputation. It is no secret that when you put yourself in the guest's shoes, by collecting their feedback, you can better adapt to accommodate them. You can ensure the quality of service is consistent for all guests and better organise your operations. Consequently, guest satisfaction increases, and the hotel's reputation follows, leading to a greater retention rate and ultimately more revenue generated.
A hotel will never be criticised for being too reactive, too attentive or too considerate. By coming to a hotel, the guest is looking for hospitality, for pampering and even a personal point of contact, otherwise they would have chosen another accomodation option. Offering a service to the guest that is adapted to their profile, that is straight-forward and corresponds to their needs, inevitably increases their satisfaction and consequently their inclination to leave a positive review of the hotel or to recommend it to friends and family. This therefore increases the reputation of the hotel.
- Increasing guest loyalty
Maintaining contact throughout the stay allows hotels to be attentive and to create this relationship that is so valued by the guest. If returning, most guests will choose an establishment where everything went smoothly and where they felt looked after.
Therefore, re-engaging with guests by tempting them back with personalised offers, makes the guest feel remembered and valued. You have a lot of information about your guests, make the most of it! Suggest that they celebrate their honeymoon or wedding anniversary at the hotel, or if they were there for a meeting or trade show, offer to provide the sales services again but with a discount.
These 6 advantages are just a few motivating reasons to keep in touch with your guests. OTAs have long understood this. They don't provide the accommodation nor are they on site, yet they are the people who attract the guest, accompany them, suggest activities, get their opinions, offer to try out local experiences, give them tips on the destination and much more.
However, initiating and maintaining contact with the guest requires an efficient platform to automate emails and messages, provide useful information, personalise each guest experience as much as possible, and manage requests and orders without increasing the workload for teams. The aim is even to free up their time so that they can concentrate more on their core mission: building a personal rapport with guests.
Image source: Brooke Cagle (Unsplash)
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