When someone stays in a hotel, they expect a certain level of service and hospitality. Whether your hotel caters to business people, couples, families, or all sorts of travelers, your #1 goal is to keep your customers happy.
Hotel management has always centered around customer satisfaction. In today’s social media age, where a couple of bad reviews can have hugely detrimental effects on a business, guest satisfaction is more crucial than ever. There is ever-increasing competition in both the hotel market and from short-term online rental services like Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, FlipKey. Hotels need to make sure they stand out for all the right reasons.
So what steps can you take to improve hotel guest satisfaction? There are actually quite a few, ranging from tried-and-true standards of customer service to new ways to leverage technology.
Your First Impression Occurs Before Your Guests Arrive
These days, nearly everyone books their hotel stays online. This means that long before your staff ever has the chance to greet your guests, they have already formed an opinion of you based on your website (and reviews, which we will address later).
Your website needs to reflect your hotel and your brand. It is well worth it to invest in a good website designer to make sure your website is mobile friendly, attractive, and easy to use.
Once your guest has booked, take this opportunity to reach out and get more information about them and the reason for their trip. This will allow you to personalize the guest’s experience and avoid any problems, should pertinent information not be discovered until check-in.
Personalize The Experience
It’s always funny what we remember when we stay at hotels. It’s rarely how perfectly the linens were pressed or what time housekeeping cleaned the room. More often than not, it’s dinner mints left on the pillow or the way our towel was folded up to look like a swan that stays with us.
Aside from little things you do for all of your guests, personal touches can make a huge difference. One great way to leave a lasting impression is to get as much information about your guests as possible and use that information to personalize their stay.
Some fun ideas for personalized gifts or treats include:
- Champagne and chocolate for anniversaries and honeymoons
- Chilled bottles of water from valet attendants
- Flowers for birthdays and Mother’s Day
- Coloring books and snacks for kids
You can even get more personal by tracking information from previous stays and providing things guests requested during their previous stay, like extra pillows and blankets. Leave a short note with the addition, letting them know that you remembered their preferences and hope they enjoy their stay.
Use a Customer Management System
You might be wondering how to keep all of this information straight. There are a variety of software systems available to help with customer information tracking.
CRM systems, or Customer Relationship Management, are commonly used in businesses with large customer bases. You can create specialized fields for data you collect and pull up customer data as necessary. You can also conduct advanced reporting and analysis using this software, which is helpful if you run a large establishment or want to note trends in your guest needs or behavior.
Hotel PMS, or Property Management Software, is software specific to hotel management. You can use this software both to store customer data and to organize information specific to your rooms. These systems focus on a broader range of data, including sales information, than do CRM systems, which focus heavily on customer data.
Either of these systems can be used to collect data that you can use to make your guests feel more remembered and special.
Provide Complementary Services
Whether you choose to provide complementary services across the board, or save some of them for customers with complaints (like a free breakfast voucher for a customer with a room complaint) is up to you. Just know that hotel guests love complementary features, and the more you provide, the happier guests seem to be.
Of course, these days everyone wants WiFi everywhere they go. Providing high-speed internet for your guests across your hotel grounds, as well as in the rooms, is a major value-add.
Having a free shuttle available to and from the airport or major attractions near you can make guests’ stays much more carefree. Especially if you are located in a destination town, where you know the majority of your guests will be going to the same area every day or night, it’s a great service to provide. It can also help cut down on drunk driving, which is a huge bonus.
A free continental breakfast is a great benefit offered by many hotels. You may also choose to charge a modest amount for the breakfast and provide vouchers to returning guests or when guests have complaints.
Free Hotel Valet Parking
Having valet parking at your hotel streamlines guests’ arrival and starts their visit off right. Free hotel valet parking is a great way to add an air of sophistication to your hotel and to let guests know that you care. If you have a large parking garage or lot, hotel valet parking is also very helpful to elderly and disabled guests, as well as those with a lot of heavy baggage.
Keep up With Technology
Technology goes beyond just making sure your website looks good and runs properly. Some hotel brands now utilize technology that allows guests to use their smartphones as the roomkey!
Even if you’re not ready to go totally keyless, you can place tablets in the rooms that contain all of the information you’d normally have on paper. Guests can order room service or make special requests via the tablet that are automatically entered into your system.
If you’re really ahead of the curve, you may even want to look into integrating voice technology into your rooms. You can use smart devices to allow guests to make requests with their voice.
At whatever rate you decide to integrate these new technologies into your hotel or hotels, it’s good to make a plan to do so eventually, especially if your brand focuses on being modern or is targeted to a younger demographic.
Collect and Respond to Reviews
From review sites to social media to solicited reviews, it is important to develop a consistent method of handling all reviews.
You want to know what your guests think! In an ideal world, everything about the stay is great (which is also great to hear!), but if anything went wrong, guests often feel more comfortable stating it in a review than bringing it up with your staff.
Responding to reviews is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, you want to show your guests that you are listening to what they’re saying, good or bad. Secondly, if you don’t respond to a poor review, other potential guests may see it and decide not to stay with you, and of course the initial guest will be upset that their concerns were not addressed.
Here are some important things to keep in mind when dealing with reviews:
- Send out a post-stay review questionnaire so that you can ask specific questions and document the feedback in your CRM or Hotel PMS.
- Have one person respond to all social media reviews or have a mandated policy, so that replies are consistent (the same applies to Google and Yelp reviews).
- Do not fight with your guests on social media — it looks bad. If the guest is making something up, stay as positive as possible while clarifying things and trying to reach a resolution.
- Both good and bad reviews merit responses.
Hotel guest satisfaction is the most important thing in the hotel management business. There are a number of important steps you can take to provide the best possible customer experience. When it really comes down to it, though, trying in whatever way you can makes all the difference.
As a business focused on client satisfaction, we at FC Valet understand how important it is to make a great impression on guests. Let us help make your guests’ stays as positive and carefree as possible through our first-class hotel valet service. Contact us today to find out how we can help improve your hotel guest satisfaction.