Evolving hospitality: meeting guest expectations in a transforming world

guest expectations
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You could have the best customer service and the cleanest, most comfortable rooms to offer guests. But they expect much more from their experience to deem it the perfect stay.

The thing is, guest expectations and needs are always changing and it can be difficult to keep up. Still, you must be able to meet ever-evolving guest expectations and deliver exactly what they want in a stay if you want to sustain success in this industry.

Let’s guide you through the best practices for creating personalized guest experiences that cater to their unique needs and preferences.

Personalize the guest experience with the help of data

The first step in providing guests with a tailored stay is getting to know who they are and what they need.

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Hopefully, you’re doing what successful businesses in other industries are doing, relying a lot on digital tools, specifically data, to learn about customers and improve customer retention. Data analytics tools collect and process guest information across a variety of channels, including:

  • Website analytics
  • Social media
  • Email marketing software
  • Surveys and polls
  • Chatbots

Depending on the channel, you can compile customer data related to:

  • Demographics
  • Lifestyle behaviors
  • Content choices
  • Travel patterns
  • Hotel accommodation preferences and special requests

Filtering this customer data into a customer relationship management (CRM) system makes tailoring each guest’s stay much more manageable.

Everything you need to know about your guests and their interactions with your hotel is in a central location. As a result, your team can quickly identify opportunities to elevate the experience and provide recommendations to guests based on their needs.

Gather feedback from guests

It’s just as vital to get direct feedback from guests as it is to use data to personalize visits to your hotel. Information straight from a person’s mouth or mind is much more useful than inferences from data when we’re talking about tailoring stays.

With a genuine account of their experiences, customers will give you suggestions for how to make things better for them next time.

For example, a guest might leave a 4-star review saying everything went well, but check-in took forever. Then, they’ll go on to say if you had mobile check-in you’d be getting a 5-star rating. You get genuine feedback and a specific way to elevate their next stay, helping you continuously meet guest expectations.

Approach gathering customer feedback strategically. Choose specific channels for guests to leave reviews on, like your website, Yelp, or Google Reviews. You can also send satisfaction surveys out to customers via email a day or two after they check out.

Keep your feedback requests simple, only asking them to rate their experience and mention what went well or didn’t. Allow video reviews in addition to written reviews. Finally, don’t be pushy about feedback.

Strategize how you can go above and beyond

You’ve analyzed customer data and feedback. Now, it’s time to define how you’ll better meet guest expectations and take their experience to the next level.

What your guests specifically suggested should be your priority. But in the ever-evolving hospitality world, it’s also smart to look at trends and what’s in demand to provide things your guests may not say they need but you know they’d enjoy.

For example, there’s an increasing demand for sustainable products and wellness amenities in hotels. However, it’s important to not just choose the cheapest products and assume your customers will be ecstatic with them. Some products can even harm your customers if you’re not careful. In fact, many personal care products, specifically, contain harmful ingredients like phthalates that can irritate the skin, disrupt its hormone levels, and provoke allergic reactions.

The health and beauty industry made consumers more aware of this fact. And then started creating more natural, environmentally friendly products as alternatives, and they’re flying off the shelves.

Offering sustainable personal care products in your hotel will meet a need many of your guests are likely to have whether they disclose it or not.

The key is understanding which ingredients are most harmful in soaps, shampoos, body washes, sunscreens, and other personal care products. Then you can vet suppliers thoroughly to ensure their products don’t contain these ingredients.

Other ideas for meeting and exceeding expectations guests have for their stay are:

  • Offering free transportation options;
  • Partnering with local restaurants and offering a culinary experience package;
  • Introducing self-service tools like contactless payment and mobile check-in;
  • Working with off-site venues to host exclusive events;
  • Leaving personalized welcome gifts in each guest’s room;
  • Incorporating smart tools into each room, such as smart thermometers and in-room digital assistants.

Strategize with your team about how you can go above and beyond for your guests. Think about the feedback your customers gave you as well as the trends in the industry to land on the best offerings for your unique hotel guests.

Develop a tangible plan for implementing changes

Knowing how you’ll meet guest expectations is only half the battle. The other half is implementing the necessary changes to provide customers with their ideal stay. You need a tangible plan to ensure seamless execution.

Answering the following questions will help you define the steps you’ll need to take to execute any changes you want to make to give guests a more personalized experience:

  • What exactly are you changing?
  • What will you have to do to make the shift?
  • What resources will you need to execute the change?
  • How will the guest experience be affected in the meantime?
  • What are the costs associated with the change?
  • What’s the timeline for completion?
  • What are the project milestones on your timeline?
  • Who’s involved in the project?

The goal is to leave with a blueprint for how you’ll transform the guest experience.

Meeting guest expectations when they’re always changing isn’t an easy task. However, it’s necessary to stay relevant and on top in the hospitality industry.

Tags: customer retention, , guest expectations, personalisation

Freelance Technical Writer,

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