Every hotelier’s goal is providing guests with the best service possible. But sometimes, sadly, that is not enough. Today travelling is easier than it has ever been. That translates into more properties opening each year, which enlarges the competition. Hoteliers have to find new ways to not only attract new customers, but also to increase the number of those who come back to their properties. One way to do it is by offering them extra benefits to improve their experience. Here are a few examples of how to use them.
How important are extra amenities?
Studies show that customers are now pickier than ever. They know what they want and are aware of all the options they get to choose from. Travellers realise how many hotels are out there and that if they don’t like one of them, they can usually simply choose another one. That is why it is crucial for hoteliers to offer something special for their potential guests. This way they increase the chances for bookings.
Free Wi-Fi or complimentary breakfast may be key factors in choosing the property. Special benefits are especially important for business travellers who are looking for efficiency and comfort.
Some OTAs have already realised the power of extra benefits. Instead of charging commissions,ÊBidroom.com for example, asks hoteliers for discounts and extra benefits for their guests. The more special amenities you offer, the higher it lists your property in the rankings.
It may be very beneficial for your property to add amenities to your offer.
Wi-Fi is a must
Let’s face it – most of us are addicted to our phones. I personally find it challenging not to go on the Internet to check my emails or simply go through my social media. And so do millions of other people. That is why in recent years, Wi-Fi became the most sought-after amenity for hotel guests.
It is not surprising. Guests are usually far away from home and want to keep in touch with their loved ones and stay up-to-date with everything that is happening – not just among their friends, but also in the wider world. The easiest way to so this is by surfing the web.
While many other extra benefits are optional and could be saved for loyal, regular customers, free Wi-Fi should without question be available for all guests. Many reports show that access to high-speed free Wi-Fi is one of the main factors in choosing a property.
What will convince new customers to visit your property? The amenities you offer are often considered one of the most important factors, alongside the price, your ratings and your presence online.
What can you offer to attract them apart from an Internet connection? The second highest ranked amenity is a complimentary breakfast. People want comfort, and nothing ensures it quite as much as not having to worry about what you will eat first thing in the morning. And when it is free? That is the ideal situation.
Many properties do not feel like they can afford including free breakfast in their offers. But often it is not about lowering the price. It is likely that if people have to choose between cheaper room without breakfast and slightly more expensive one with it, they will opt for the latter. It is easy to arrange and can be very attractive to potential customers.
Secondly, consider adding free parking to your list if, of course, your property owns a parking space. Many guests, even if they do not come to your property by car, will rent one on location. Having a place to park it, without the need to make circles around the area, is a huge plus, especially for families with children.
You may also consider adding services and products dedicated to allergy sufferers. Having gluten-free, lactose-free and vegan food options will help many of your customers and attract those who might have previously been wary of coming to your hotel.
You should also remember about the disabled, ensuring you have wheelchair access, audio-visual fire alarms and possibly have at least one room with lower handles and an accessible toilet and shower.
While regular customers would also appreciate those amenities, you might consider adding a special ÒsomethingÓ just for them to show your appreciation and thank them for coming back to your hotel.
Some of the best ways of doing that is by offering them a fruit basket, a welcome drink, a bottle of wine or at the very least, a chocolate truffle and a note. You can also offer them a nice meal at your hotel’s restaurant or (if it is an option for you) a spa treatment.
All that doesn’t require much energy or resources, yet leaves an enormous impact.
Another type of customer in the hospitality industry is the business traveller. Their needs are significantly different from those of leisure-oriented guests. Of course, for them free Wi-Fi is crucial. What they also appreciate is having a workspace within their rooms or at least a business centre inside the hotel. They also appreciate an access to free computers in the lobby.
Since they often have to commute, free airport transit can also play an important role for them.
Families, especially those travelling with children, may appreciate different amenities. A playground or a playroom is often sought-after. Toys, colouring books and crayons are always nice. Having a special chair for the youngest guests in your restaurant can make their parents’ lives a lot easier. Similarly, smaller cutlery and plates could be a big advantage. Offering at least one crib for parents travelling with infants could change their entire stay.
Once again, these offerings mostly require rather small efforts that can make a huge difference.
Flexibility as a service?
Lastly, you can use flexibility as an amenity. How? By offering aÊ 24-hour front desk, for example. Often flights, especially of budget airlines, are scheduled for either very early in the morning or very late at night. Therefore, guests may find it difficult to arrive at your hotel at certain times.
Similarly, offering them an early check-in or late check-out could improve their experience and save them a lot of hassle. While I understand that many properties cannot afford to do that, especially during peak season, it may be useful to bear these options in mind during less busy months.
Of course, each property is different and your guests may expect something entirely different to those of another hotel. So talk to your customers, see what they like and what they do not like. Which amenities are most important and which are least important? Once you receive the answers, craft your service around their needs. Extra amenities are not the single most important factor in a hotelier’s job, but they are becoming more and more important each year and are worth constantly reconsidering.