Hotels face rapidly changing guest behaviors, preferences, and expectations. Properties that are able to deliver a memorable experience through unique amenities, personal touches, and stellar customer service will be rewarded with repeat business, word-of-mouth referrals, and positive reviews on social media. If you’re looking for ways to improve hotel guest satisfaction at your property, consider these eight proven strategies.
Personalize, personalize, personalize
A CRS (Central Reservation System) manages reservations across a portfolio of hotels and can provide general information about the value of the guest and the services they are consuming.
A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool is an important tool that can help even the smallest hotels understand how customers choose products based on the context of their travel (both group and transient), allowing you to proactively extend targeted promotions or upselling offers.
A SO (Service Optimization) platform allows for the operational collection of a guest experience to be aggregated and evaluated for current and future stays.
Beyond systems, other ways to provide a unique guest experience could be to leave a small welcome gift in each room, offer free refreshments in the lobby, and empower your staff to provide superior service.
For instance, if you have a couple that is celebrating their anniversary at your hotel, consider leaving a bottle of champagne or chocolate covered strawberries for them upon arrival. It’s a small gesture that they will surely remember and appreciate.
Reach out with post-booking communication
Establish a connection with the guest as soon as possible with a follow-up email. This will allow you to set the tone for the guest’s stay and help you gather valuable information about them before they even step foot on your property. Offer simple but thoughtful services such as extra pillows or dinner reservations. This is a great way to build more complete guest profiles, show your commitment to customer service, and even reinforce your brand promise and reputation.
Offer freebies and complimentary services
Providing guests with a little extra, by offering a few services for free, can help endear guests to you and your brand. Offering complimentary services is an effective strategy for providing customer service that guests will go home and tell their friends about — or better yet, share on social media. It can be as simple as offering free Wi-Fi or a free shuttle to the airport or to local attractions.
Implement in-room technology
The technology being developed for hotels today is truly exciting and game-changing. For example, hotels are starting to install “smart room keys” that allow guests to open their room doors with a simple swipe of their smartphone. Brands such as Sheraton and Hilton have already implemented this technology in their hotels across the country.
Tablets are proving to be an effective communication tool for guests and staff. From their room, travelers can make a request in just a few clicks that is routed to a staff member’s mobile device and answered in a matter of minutes. The hotel can even program the tablets to promote paid amenities or local attractions.
Rather than waiting for a customer complaint, can help you move from a reactive service model to a proactive service model that will improve customer satisfaction and retention.
For example, SO software lets you pull a report of every guest due to arrive on a particular day. If a guest has stayed with you before, or if you have gathered information during booking, you can use that information to personalize their experience. Did they have an issue previously that you could make up for during this stay, perhaps by upgrading their room type? Or did they mention they were traveling with children, giving you the opportunity to leave a few toys or treats in their room prior to their arrival?
Reward repeat guests
Building customer loyalty is important to any hotel’s success, and yet in today’s competitive market loyalty is becoming harder and harder to maintain. That’s why it’s so important for hoteliers to focus on strategies that recognize and reward repeat guests. While loyalty programs are a great approach it’s important to consider how you design your program. Many loyalty programs offer a free night or a discounted stay after a certain number of points are accrued.
The problem with this approach is that it often takes a long time for a person to cash in on this reward. So, mix up your offerings. In addition to the free nights add in rewards that can be immediately redeemed, such as a free drink at the bar, complimentary valet, late check-out or automatic room upgrade. It’s also important to recognize your guests by name when they arrive at your property, acknowledging that they are repeat guests and that you appreciate their loyalty.
Offer multiple communication channels – texting, voice, FB messenger
According to one recent survey, 94% of business travelers and 80% of leisure travelers expressed interest in using smartphones to request service and message hotel staff1. Leveraging messaging technology and system integrations to deliver a better guest experience can be greatly beneficial for both guests and hotel staff. This is a win-win situation as guests get faster and more personalized service while hotels maximize operating efficiencies and workflows to conserve resources and reduce costs.
Some hotels are experimenting with text and voice requests. Say a guest wants to request more towels or to order room service. In order to call the right number (some hotels it’s 0, or 9, or 1), the guest first has to look for the instructions manual in the room, then find the right number and call it. But what if the guest could just text or ask for the towels out loud (yes, with no telephone or another handheld device) knowing that room service will receive the message straight away and bring their order directly to the room?
By leveraging guest information from a PMS or CRM system, hotel staff can send personalized text messages based on guest profile and preferences and use that data to automate messages. This can help hotel staff better serve guests through more individualized communication.
Text and voice are already revolutionizing domestic technology, from mobile devices to kitchen devices to cars. Now it’s impacting the hospitality industry by allowing for a better and more flexible guest experience, from small requests such as towels to event attendees asking for details about the sessions on the program.
Create an inclusive and accessible experience for all
Similarly, world demographic indicators show a growing, aging population that will represent more than 21.5% of people by 20502. For hoteliers, it’s important to consider not just how your property is configured to accommodate disabilities, but how your processes and customer service strategies are designed as well.
A study commissioned by Amadeus found four main pillars for delivering an inclusive travel experience.
- Effective communication
- Responsive service
- Standardized content and services
- Personalized offers
Technology, the report insists, is key in creating a truly inclusive strategy that makes travel accessible for everyone. A report excerpt reads –
“The travel industry is moving forward, developing mobile apps with accessible travel search engines, boarding passes in accessible formats and collating user-generated content on accessibility (through reviews and complaints) … Some companies have started incorporating artificial intelligence assistance for voice-operated travel booking. Some hotel chains are using mobile apps to allow guests access to their rooms and other facilities, and others are using virtual reality technology to demonstrate accommodation and services.”
The customer experience matters more than ever before. Technology is now a key component in delivering a customer service strategy that works — and that can keep you ahead of the competition.
Amadeus is proud to be an industry leader in offering full-service hospitality software used by properties in more than 150 countries worldwide. If you would like to learn more about utilizing technology to create a memorable and lucrative customer experience, contact us and a team member will be in touch shortly.
- “Creating the Coveted Hotel Guest Experience — Research Results,” HospitalityNet Webinar summary, recorded October 10, 2017
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Topics: Central Reservation Systems (CRS)