The demand for a domestic getaway has never been higher. With so many New Zealanders looking inward rather than overseas for their next trip away, the importance of standing out from the crowd and ensuring your guests receive nothing but the best possible experience has never been more important.
As more and more hotels are clamouring for the same cliental, review websites such as Traveller or TripAdvisor are a go-to source to find out about different aspects of your hotel – and most importantly they provide potential guests with the latest customer experiences, and just one poor review can turn that potential visitor into hundreds of guests avoiding your hotel.
So how do you ensure a guests have a pleasant stay? Well, we’ve compiled the best tips and tricks to turn that ‘okay’ stay into an experience they’ll never forget!
Whether guests have booked your hotel for a relaxing break or for a business trip, they expect a high standard of customer service as well as a high level of comfort. Every guest in your hotel should feel special and that they’re important to your business. Continuously looking for different ways to make your hotel guests feel special will encourage repeat business and also have a positive impact on your brand.
Now everything can be considered as customers service. From the moment you receive a booking enquiry to the second they arrive at the front desk, customer service can make or break a vacation. So, these are our top customer service tips:
- Offer flexible booking policies (preferably without added fees)
- Offer certain amenities such as Wi-Fi & breakfast for free or as part of their package
- Ensure communication with your guests begins before their stay and remain attentive to their needs. Honeymoons, anniversaries, birthdays – try and discover what brings your guests to your hotel to offer little extras such as pamper vouchers, bottle of wine etc.
- Local attraction information – walking distances and times involved and assistance on securing taxis/shuttle buses
- A friendly, welcoming smile when your guests are checking-in (goes without saying)
Hotel Quality Comfort
How many times have you been to a hotel and thought ‘wow, that bed is comfortable’ or ‘these towels are so soft!’ That’s exactly what you want your guests to feel. You want them to experience buttery soft linen, an ultra large, highly comfortable bed and a plethora of immaculate pillows – all of which they wish they had at home.
It’s the perception of the unattainable you wish to create. And the only way to experience it is to visit your hotel. Ask yourself the following questions during a review of your hotel:
- Are the beds comfortable with soft and clean sheets?
- Are there different pillow options?
- Are the mattresses supportive and comfortable?
- Is there a good supply of towels and fresh linen?
- Are the rooms kept at a comfortable temperature?
- Is all the hotel information, such as the remote instructions and service guide, easily accessible?
- Is every amenity available that you’d like the have?
If the answer to any of the above questions is no, it’s time to train your hotel staff to make adjustments as quickly as possible.
How many times have you scanned your Countdown Onecard or handed over your local coffee shop card for a stamp, knowing that you’re only a few more visits away from receiving something off your next shop or a free coffee? And we’re betting that Countdown or your local café becomes your go-to choice in the process despite all the other businesses available. Well, with a loyalty program you could become the primary hotel of choice in your region.
Now going as far as creating something like Onecard is possible but could be a tad extreme, and using a stamp system doesn’t exactly scream hotel-quality does it? Our tip is to begin with small steps such as:
- Tagging or referencing your hotel on their social media channels for a free item or % off their stay
- Subscribing to your email newsletter for exclusive offers
- Leave a customer review (preferably 5-stars) on TripAdvisor for $ off their next stay or a competition to win a free holiday
Our preference would be the final method, as we’ve illustrated before just how important customer reviews can be in the decision process for future guests choosing your hotel.
Now a loyalty program of sorts may not work for your type of hotel so we recommend observing the reception once you’ve implemented these steps and determine whether or not to take it one step further and create a system like Onecard (complete with user accounts etc), focus directly on the best performing option (rather than spreading your loyalty channels) or scrapping it altogether and focussing resources on advertising.
Checking-out doesn’t mean goodbye
Our final bit of advice is to treat your current guests as future guests in the making. What do we mean by this? When your guests are checking out, we strongly suggest that your line of communication doesn’t end once they’ve left the foyer.
- Try sending them a personalised email thanking them for their stay
- Offer incentives to visit again
- Send them a ‘happy holidays’ card or email without promotional attribution
- Encourage referral benefits
Effectively, you want to be present without overstaying your welcome. Try to find a happy balance of polite and conversational with an element of marketing innuendo – aim to be that trusted friend who will never lead you astray, even when it comes to making a purchasing decision.