The number of available hotel rooms is growing at a faster pace than customer demand in 65 percent of markets in 2019. That means it’s more important than ever for hoteliers to know what guests want and how to keep them coming back. Your hotel may not have the advantage of location, location, location but that doesn’t mean you can’t compete. Below are three easy steps every hotel can take to significantly improve their odds of capturing customer marketshare.
- RECOGNIZE THEM
As the number of rooms increases in every market, guests are taking notice of how well hotels are treating them. At the bare minimum a hotel should be able to recognize a returning guest. Nothing is more frustrating to a loyal customer than to check-in and have the agent ask “Is this your first time staying with us?”. That experience is a poor reflection of the hotel and how much it cares about return guests.
One way to help make sure repeat guests feel rewarded for their loyalty is to offer a Loyalty program. In 2019, a loyalty program can take many shapes and sizes. Most hotel brands have their own programs while independent hotels can take advantage of programs offered by a number of providers such as Stash and VOILÀ.
- MAKE IT EASY
Perhaps the single greatest pain point in a hotel is the front desk check-in experience. Unfortunately, even the best efforts of the hotel can prove unsuccessful when it comes to making a guest satisfied upon arrival. The front desk has no control over when large groups of people will show up to check-in, and they always seem to show up at the same time. After a long day of waiting in line at the airport, at the shared ride location or even just after a long drive – nobody wants to stand in a long check-in line. Same goes for checking out of the hotel when every guest just wants to hit the road.
Fortunately, there’s no longer a reason to force guests to stand in a check-in line. Mobile keyless entry has made it possible to check guests in remotely and send a secure guestroom key directly to their smartphone – eliminating the need for them to stop at the front desk. With a digital key, guests go straight to their room upon arrival. This improves their guest experience, their attitude and even their review of the hotel.
- MAKE THE ROOM COMFORTABLE
The final step is an absolute must to drive guest retention. Most guests don’t require a lot to be happy. What they want most is the room to be clean and quiet. That’s pretty much it. Some beds will be more comfortable than others. Some TVs will get more channels than others. Some HVAC systems will work better than others. Most guests will be understanding about all of the above if the room is clean and quiet.
Aside from regular maintenance and good housekeeping, some hotels are using systems like PURE rooms to create an exceptionally clean environment for those sensitive to allergies. Going the extra mile for guests will provide a significant return-on-investment.
As 2019 heads towards 2020 and the potential of a slowdown in travel plans for guests nationwide, the time is now to address these three simple steps to guest retention. It costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. Investments in guest retention is money well spent no matter how you add it up.