How does your hotel’s guest experience measure up? As hotels face numerous challenges around staffing and rising overhead costs, improving hotel occupancy is more important than ever. To do that, you need to attract both first-time and returning guests. Without a stellar guest experience and great reviews from returning guests, this is almost impossible. Fortunately, hotels of all sizes can stand out from the competition by focusing on enhancing the guest experience.
By the numbers: Why the guest experience matters
According to Hotel Tech Report, 48% of guests are likely to write a review of a hotel after a negative experience. And, 81% of travelers “always or often” check reviews of hotels before booking their stays. To put that in perspective, 72% of respondents reported checking restaurant reviews before making a reservation. In other words, a negative guest experience significantly increases your chances of receiving poor reviews online. Those reviews can do significant damage to your occupancy rate – and your bottom line. Focusing on the guest experience is a great way to get more positive reviews and increase bookings throughout the year.
1. Get them excited with the right pre-arrival communications
Sending pre-arrival communications can help improve the guest experience in multiple ways. First, a quick survey about your guests’ top travel priorities can help you better target them with messaging and offers that they’ll most want to see. You can also use your pre-arrival communications to let guest’s check-in ahead of time and get their Digital Key prior to arrival.
Use pre-arrival communications as an opportunity to find out if your guests are most interested in a quiet night’s rest, information on the most popular local attractions, or booking a spa session after check-in. Get to know your guests before they arrive. This will put you on the road to delivering the guest experience they’ve been dreaming of. Check out more info on effective pre-arrival communications.
2. Offer a seamless check-in experience with Digital Keys
When guests arrive, they’re often tired from a long day (or days) of travel. The last thing they want to do is stand in line to check-in and get their room keys. According to Hotel Management, 80% of guests say they would download an app to check in to their hotel on their smartphone. With Digital Key technology, you can give guests the option to bypass the front desk and go straight to their rooms, by using their phones as their room keys.
3. Cater to your guests’ preferred communication style
You probably have a few buyer personas for the guests who typically stay with you. Use these to tailor your communications to best serve your guests’ preferences. For example, if your guests are primarily Gen X and millennials, they likely prefer that you communicate with them via text, rather than phone calls. Older guests may still prefer the personal touch that comes with a phone call.
If you haven’t already, gather some data on your primary guest demographics. Find out how they want to communicate with you, and act on that information. If you have a younger audience, consider investing in an SMS app that allows guests to send texts when they have requests or when they need information from the front desk.
4. Personalize returning guests’ stays
Delivering a personalized, boutique guest experience will set you head and shoulders above the competition. Fortunately, this is fairly easy to do for returning guests. Through pre-arrival and post-check-out communications, gather information about why your guests choose your hotel, what they’re looking for in a stay, and what you could do better next time. Use this information to send personalized messages with custom offers and a little something special for their next stay.
5. Reward guests for opting out of wasteful housekeeping tasks
Climate change is on everyone’s minds today, and many of your guests are likely making a conscious effort to live more eco-friendly lives. You can stand out to these guests by rewarding them for opting out of potentially wasteful housekeeping tasks. Be sure to include information in guests’ rooms about their eco-conscious housekeeping options – and what they get if they choose the greener option. You might, for example, give guests a door hanger that lets housekeeping know to leave a happy hour discount code instead of changing the towels.
6. Help guests feel at home with free Wi-Fi
When hotels first began offering Wi-Fi connections in guests’ rooms, it was an understandable value-add. People were willing to pay a fee to get access to the internet in their rooms. Today, however, it really should be a complimentary service at no additional cost. If guests can get free Wi-Fi at coffee shops (or even the grocery store), they should be able to access the internet at your hotel for free. And, beyond providing free Wi-Fi access, be sure to prominently post access information in your lobby and guest rooms. For the best guest experience, ensure that your front desk staff inform guests about Wi-Fi details before being asked. This will go a long way to streamline your guest experience and avoid complaints.
7. Use guest feedback to improve the guest experience
As we mentioned earlier, gathering info from your guests about their preferences can help you personalize their stays. But that’s not all that guest feedback can do for you. Don’t be shy about asking guests to fill out a quick survey in your post-check-out communications. Gather this information and make note of trending responses. You could find out that you’re missing some low-hanging fruit that would delight your guests – like a gluten-free pancake option at breakfast or a Digital Key.
These are just a few of the easiest ways hotels can enhance the guest experience in 2023. The key to all of these tips is to get to know your guests. Understand what they’re looking for and how they want to relax when they stay with you. Leverage this information to implement the upgrades that will have the most positive impact on your guest experience.
Want more info on how your hotel can benefit from Digital Key technology? Schedule a demo today.