A positive guest experience can result in glowing online reviews, return visits, and a brand reputation that contributes to ongoing growth.
If guests enjoy their stay at your hotel, they are more likely to return and refer your hotel to others, helping you attract even more guests. With more than 83% of guests looking at recommendations from friends, family and an active online community, guest experience is critical for conversions.
So, what is guest experience?
The guest experience focuses on the relationship between your hotel and its guests. It includes every interaction or communication with your guests, whether direct or indirect, even if it doesn’t result in a booking.
From before they arrive and visit third-party sites or OTAs to look for accommodation or online reviews to your website, email communications and the actual stay – everything contributes towards guest experience.
Clever ideas to improve guest experience
#1 Pre-arrival contact
In the enquiry, discovery or any pre-arrival stage, guests could use your social channels, website chatbot or other channels to find out more. It is important to be consistent and punctual when dealing with these queries.
For booked guests, make email contact and send regular communications about their upcoming stay. These communications become a fantastic opportunity to upsell your services.
Make it easy for guests to reach out to you, pre, during and even post-stay – staying connected = responsiveness = great guest experience.
#2 Allow perosnalisation
Enable guests to send their preferences through in advance of their stay for a personalised experience. This closely ties in with creating a guest profile where you understand their need – do they have special dietary preferences, would they like assistance to book local experiences, etc. Allow guests to choose their rooms before they arrive.
The more you know about your guest, the better as you can even leverage this information later for marketing.
#3 Seamless booking process
Do you leverage a business website to drive direct bookings? If so, make sure it is fully set up to provide a seamless and stress-free booking experience. Some elements you need to enable to allow this are:
- Comprehensive and easy-to-read information about room types
- Lots of visuals and videos
- Promotions and rates should be easily discoverable. Incentivise them to book directly by providing value-added offers that make a booking via your website more attractive than OTAs
- Mobile friendly
- Safe online payment
- Integration with your PMS and channel manager to ensure the website always reflects accurate information
Equally, for guests booking via other online channels, making sure your information, availability and rates are accurate is important to avoid overbookings that definitely leave a negative experience for guests.
#4 Smooth check-in
This ties in closely with pre-arrival communications. Allow online check-ins and making it easy for guests to choose their rooms before they arrive. This will ensure that they never have to wait more than a few minutes at the front lobby.
A mobile app to help guests check-in can be handy not just in reducing wait time at the lobby, but manage guests’ entire stay and more opportunities to upsell services that directly increase revenue.
#5 Make guests feel special and heard
This is a no-brainer for hoteliers, who are generally geared to be always at their hospitable best. Ensuring your staff understand and imbibe this is important for a positive guest experience.
Be polite. Address guests by their names where possible. Be empathetic towards guests who may have had a long journey before getting to your hotel. Room upgrades are always a winner – without impacting your revenue, if you have better rooms available, offer them at a highly discounted rate. If guests are at your hotel for a special occasion such as a milestone birthday or anniversary, partake in their celebrations by offering something from your end. Provide local recommendations – become their guide to your destination.
If guests have a complaint, listen to them. Be responsive in addressing the issues and make sure you communicate about the measures put in place to mitigate future occurrences of the issue.
#6 Post-check-out communications
Make check-out as easy as check-in. Follow up with guests for online reviews on their stay. Guest surveys are a great way to understand your strengths and weakness and have a roadmap to improving your guest experience.
Stay in touch with your guests even after they depart. Depending on your audience segmentation and repeat visitation, you can send offers, build them into your loyalty programme or create opportunities for them to become ambassadors for their friends and family.