7 tips to improve your guest experience
With over 5.6 million listings on Airbnb and 28 million on Booking.com, today’s travelers are lavished with choice. But with traveler expectations at an all-time high, hosts and hoteliers must work harder than ever to secure loyalty and increase an ongoing business flow. Meeting basic lodging needs is no longer enough. In our previous blog, we discussed why guest experience is important and we explained the guest experience journey.
What’s the optimal way to respond to this trend? We listed 7 tips for you.
1. Focus on personalization
Interacting with a guest in a more personalized manner will influence their overall perception of your residence and service. A software platform that creates the opportunity for guests to personalize their stay is a recommendable way to do this. Ask questions to get to know their holiday preferences, which makes you able to personalize your service and offer specific experiences that suit their needs and wishes. In return, knowing your guests contributes to higher satisfaction, a willingness to spend more during their stay, and a likelihood to return!
2. Be proactive
Be proactive in respect of doing local recommendations. Guests tend to rely on the advice of their host, as they are perceived as a highly trusted source of information. As a host you can make a selection of local favorites that you want to recommend to your guests. By doing so, you can sell experiences and earn additional revenues. When using a software platform, a proactive attitude can also be established by using a chatbot that pushes tips automatically and answers the guest directly, without any front office being involved. Moreover, proactivity is offering your guest just that extra service they are craving for. If you, for example, know that a guest arrives early in the morning, offer them the service to book an early check. Oppositely, if they arrive late and supermarkets are closed, take care of a full fridge. It’s all about anticipation.
3. Communicate & engage with your guests according to their preferences
Nowadays, guests are demanding, especially when they have specific requests and questions which they want to be solved as quickly and as well as possible. The ‘traditional’ way of communicating, i.e. via email, hotel phones, or by just walking to the front office, does not meet the current required engagement. You should be available 24/7 in order to perfectly meet the needs of your guests. The solution to this could be a multichannel approach, such as using Whatsapp, social media or even through a chatbot. By, for example, offering a chatbot solution to your guests with automated answers, no front office or host involvement is needed. A win-win!
4. Make your guest journey as frictionless as possible
Technology is crucial as it comes to improving the guest experience. With a guest app, you as a hotel entrepreneur or vacation rental host can digitize and automate all guest interactions beyond the booking. The app supports guests during their stay and strives to exceed their expectations by sending them proactive and personalized offers.
Did you know that most interactions in the journey can be digitized? Think about the house manual, which in many cases is still a printed version that lies on the counter. By developing a guest app, all information can be accessible through the digital house manual and/or property guide. Even the way you let guests access and spend their time at the property can be digitized through smart lock integrations and smart devices, such as thermostats and sensors.
Next to this, small things to do to make your guest journey as seemless as possible are:
- Complete and accurate listings and photos of your guests.
- Take reservations online or offline securely by letting them pay with a credit card.
- Make sure that your hotel or vacation rental could be booked at any time.
- If you are or will be fully booked, make sure that your (online) calendars are up to date.
- Respond quickly and with compassion to questions and inquiries of your guests (see tip 6).
- Make your property easy to be found by offering clear directions (try out yourself!).
- Lock the room(s) digitally while using long-life batteries.
- Offer guests and staff a unique code to enter your building(s) during the time they need to do so (and no earlier and longer than that).
- A clean home is key for every guest, so don’t be stingy about hiring excellent cleaners (and pay them fairly!). Still, you are responsible, so check whether the room(s) are in fact clean.
- Did your guests leave? Restock the supplies and make sure that your next guests receive the same high-quality and warm welcoming service as the previous ones.
By organizing your business in such a way, you create a guest journey that is as frictionless as possible.
5. Create that Wow!
To exceed guest expectations and beat the competition, you need to deliver unforgettable experiences. In other words, make the guests feel, think and say Wow! as when it comes to their guest journey at your place. These moments of delight can be tied to many stages in the guest journey and cover topics like proactiveness around early check-ins (see tip 1), gift delivery if you know they celebrate something, receiving experience recommendations including attractive, and quick responses on support questions (see tip 3). Last but not least, a handwritten welcome card might sound a bit oldskool, but still is a great way to make them feel ‘at home’ and welcome immediately.
6. Provide 24/7 guest service
Excellent guest experiences start with stellar guest service. By offering quick responses and delivering the right and clever answers at the right time will make your guests feel less stressed and frustrated, and they’ve got the feeling to be heard at any time of the day. As you might know, most guest questions are repetitive and can be automated through the chatbot (see tip 3). Easy does it!
7. The guest app
As referred to in tip 3, digitizing and automating all guest interactions beyond the booking with a guest app is a great means for both you and your guests. A guest app offers them the ease of using one go-to interface that supports them during their stay — branded and curated by you. By offering solutions, doing recommendations and taking a proactive attitude in terms of possible needs, you benefit from the guest app yourself too, as you might spend less (e.g. on staff) and earn more.
Take advantage of these 7 tips
While most hotels and STRs focus on the booking alone, many miss out on the opportunity to exceed guest expectations by offering additional services from pre-arrival to checkout. From proactive service to personalized interactions and connected experiences, understanding guests’ needs — and exceeding their expectations — is crucial to staying ahead of the competition, and letting your own business benefit from the current technological opportunities. By putting these 7 tips into practice, you definitely are one step ahead!