In the hospitality industry, there’s nothing more important than delivering on guests’ expectations. When you’re competing with major global chains, however, it’s easy to lose pace with industry developments. As more and more hoteliers focus on delivering everything their clients could want, things that were once a novelty in the hospitality industry are fast gaining traction as necessities.
Today we look at some surprisingly simple, yet effective, ways to deliver a fantastic guest experience without blowing the budget. Remember, it’s not always about the fanciest lobby or the best decor, but the mood and memories you leave your clients with.
Welcome Guests BEFORE They Arrive
Something as simple as a pre-arrival email that brings guests up to speed and onto the same page as you can work wonders for shaping their entire stay with you. Especially if it helps smooth check-in and other arrival processes. While some guests will inevitably skip the mail, the kind who have hundreds of questions will definitely appreciate it. And they tend to be the most demanding guests, too.
If you’d rather avoid a cookie-cutter template, take steps to personalize the experience by using names, adapting to the seasons or current attractions, or using their demographic information to create a great fit.
Service with a Smile
While they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, your guests definitely will. Invest in your staff, so they in turn can create a happier customer experience. Little things, like greeting people by name and staying positive and smiling, can go a long way to create a great first impression. Remember that travelers are often weary and sometimes irritable after long transits, so creating an ‘oasis of peace’ can help quell fractious tempers and make things easier on your staff, too.
If possible, you can take it a step further with a welcoming treat. A complimentary drink, or a tasty snack, can ease the wheels and get everyone into a more positive frame of thought- even something as simple as a refreshing glass of water.
Make Life Easy for Guests
While a smooth customer service experience matters in all businesses, if you’re running a staffless enterprise (like a short-term rental or AirBNB), making it easy for them to get in touch is extra critical. You don’t have a front desk ready to help with every pitfall, after all.
There are some fantastic mobile apps for guest experience out there you can trial. These are particularly effective for businesses with younger tech-savvy and interaction-shy guests. Additionally, you also make it easier for mobility-challenged guests to have a great stay, as well as those who’d like to stay discreet.
Streamlined and efficient communication channels are always a win for the hospitality business.
Help Them Enjoy the Locale
Honestly, there’s nothing as cringeworthy as an establishment that seems to float loose in time, unaware of anything going on beyond their doors. Welcome books are a common practice for the industry, helping guests explore the facility and learn all the how-tos for the property.
Take it to the next level, and expand your horizons to include some helpful local tips, tricks, and destinations they may enjoy. This doesn’t even have to be a traditional print format. Again, there’s plenty of excellent digital solutions out there to help. Of course, staff should be in the loop, too, so that they’re empowered to answer guest questions and learn the local areas.
You can take this a step further, and actively partner with local attractions and vendors. These relationships are often a win on both sides. Guests feel like they have an ‘inside track’ into things they want to enjoy. It could be as simple as a small discount at certain partners, or you could launch a whole social media campaign as brand partners. Don’t be scared to think creatively.
Keep Guests Connected
With mass wi-fi solutions becoming simpler and cheaper, even the smallest establishment can easily offer fast, stable, and free wi-fi services to guests. It’s the 2020’s, and everyone wants to stay connected. There’s absolutely no excuse for expecting guests to settle for spotty coverage and mediocre responses, no matter how remote the location. Make sure you also inform guests about these policies, so they know how to access them.
Celebrate With Them
In the hospitality industry, it’s common to meet guests who are celebrating achievements and milestones. From anniversaries and birthdays to weddings and honeymoons, it’s worth asking if there’s something special afoot in your guests lives. In fact, this can easily be slipped into your pre-welcome email.
Not every traveler wants (or appreciates) a big fuss, but a simple token of celebration in the room can be enough to create a favorable impression.
Additionally, it pays to find out if there’s any spokes in the works before your guests arrive. From meal preferences or room preferences down to allergies, you don’t want to find out you made a mistake when you have an angry client yelling at you- or the EMT squad on the premises. Again, there are plenty of mobile solutions that can make asking for these preferences a breeze, and the more you meet expectations, the better everyone’s experience will be.
The Housekeeping Conundrum
Environmentally conscious guests are cutting back on housekeeping expectations as they travel. And this class of consumer is growing at a record rate. This is a win-win for you, too, as it cuts down on staff and laundry costs. Let guests know that they have this option available to them, but reward them if they take you up on it. Something as simple as a free drink from the minibar can do a lot to sweeten the deal, and provide a greener, better, guest experience.
While these ideas are great places to start, it pays to listen to your staff, too. Remember, they’re on site daily, and have a finger on the pulse of what guests want and need. Even if you’re running an unstaffed hospitality operation, the feedback from previous guests can be an invaluable way to improve the next guest’s experience.
While there’s always a customer or two you simply can’t please, when you’re engaging with customer feedback and trying new ways to improve your guest experience, you’re well on the way to creating a great hospitality experience.
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