The guest experience journey
The guest experience is a concept that is used in the hospitality industry. The aim is to measure the experience that hotels and other parties in the industry provide to their guests. Are you curious about the ins and outs of the guest journey and/or the experience economy? Do you want your guests to enjoy their stay, as they are then more likely to return and refer your hotel or short-term rental to others? Continue reading to get informed about how to best serve your guests.
What is the guest experience?
The guest experience is the holistic impression of guests during their stay, based on the events and interactions they experience. Examples include their experiences with checking in and out and their communications with staff members. The guest experience thus focuses on the relationship between your guests and everything you offer, directly or indirectly, even if it does not result in a booking. The better your guests and potential guests feel about your residence and the services you offer, the more engaged they will be with it in the future. The guest experience at residence should therefore be tailored instead of general. Every touch point should be carefully thought through. After all, you want to create the most memorable experience possible for your guests. Do you want to learn more about why the guest experience is important? Read our previous blog.
What is the guest journey?
The guest journey is the same as the guest experience. From start to finish, you want your guests to have the best possible experience. Their journey is a collection of touch points: interactions between the guest and the hotel, via the phone, email, or in person at reception or the bar. How guests experience their stay differs from person to person. As long as the guest journey is designed appropriately, every guest will have their own, different, individually catered experience, whether they are a leisure traveler, traveling for business, or part of a big group of tourists.
What you should know about the guest experience journey
The experience economy focuses on the experience of guests. Instead of buying goods, people are increasingly more interested in gathering memories by undertaking activities and enjoying the ambience of their residences. The guest experience journey has five stages: pre-arrival, arrival, stay, departure, and post-stay.
Before a guest arrives at your hotel or other residence for a short-term rental and/or vacation rental, you have probably already had contact with them. Travelers might dream about staying somewhere specific. They may have oriented themselves online or in leaflets, and booked via a website, by calling or emailing you, or through a travel agency. Although you might not directly communicate with the guest before their arrival, the manner of booking, the content of the confirmation email, and the pre-stay reminders they receive will serve as the residence’s communication with them.
As soon as a guest meets a pick-up service at an airport or arrives at a hotel, the arrival phase has started. Are they welcomed by a doorman and/or the front office team members? How are they treated during check-in? First impressions are key. The guests should feel comfortable, safe, and unburdened.
Whether you run a big hotel or a smaller B&B, guests are often looking to use some of the amenities you offer (e.g., restaurant, swimming pool, gym, meeting facilities, or guided tours). Some guests may want to use many of these amenities, while others might not use any at all. Regardless of their needs, the feelings they have about their experience are a crucial part of the guest journey.
You might not realize it, but the most important part of the guest experience journey is the departure. Do they have any concerns? Address them! Could you help them with anything else related to their onward journey? Offer them a helping hand! If they leave with a smile, that positive impression will increase the likelihood of further business in the future.
Even after your guests leave your residence, you can still treat them as guests. Do you use a satisfaction survey? Make sure that you respond well to any comments, and reach out to them if that is their desire. The goal is to create memorable interactions from start to finish.
Why focus on the guest experience journey?
Not yet convinced to focus on the guest experience journey? Keep in mind that a positive experience with a vacation rental company or hotels often translates to a positive online reputation as a consequence of better reviews, a new promoter of your business, an engaged follower on social media, and the possible return of guests in the future.
Ready for the next step? Read our blog on 7 tips on how to improve the guest experience.