Here’s 10 easy to follow tips for getting your hotel guests coming back to visit time and again.
1. Extend A Welcome Before They Cross Your Threshold
Your guest’s experience begins before they even step foot through the door. Bookings are often made a long time in advance so make them feel welcome before they even arrive. Create a lovely first impression between booking and arrival.
Send them a short text message or email a few days before they are due to arrive and let them know you are looking forward to welcoming them to your hotel. You may also want to let them know of any local events or things that are happening nearby during their stay. Or if you know of travel problems in the area, you can help them avoid some roads or prepare for delays.
This not only shows you as being helpful and welcoming, but also reassures them that all is well and you are expecting them as planned.
2. Observe and Respond The Right Way To Create The Best First Impression
The moment your guests arrive at reception, those first impressions really count. Your team should be looking for clues in their mood and their body language. Travelling can be exhausting and stressful with flight delays, travel disruptions and bad weather. You may be greeted by a weary traveller who wants nothing more than to get checked in ‘tout sweet’ to seek the sanctuary of their room for some R&R. While other will be looking for a more engaging conversation.
That first encounter counts for a lot, so be mindful and get their visit off to the best possible start.
3. Get To Know The Person Behind the Name
It’s lovely when someone remembers you and addresses you by name. This is an easy win for a hotel. But what else do you know about the person behind the name? They’re giving you clues throughout their stay.
- Do they have a favourite room?
- Do they have any particular likes and dislikes?
- Which daily newspaper did they want with breakfast?
- Do they come to stay with you for business or pleasure?
It only takes a moment to build those little details into a picture you can colour-in each time your guest returns.
If you know the person behind the name, you don’t just meet expectations – you can anticipate needs, bolster their feeling of recognition and create for your guests a genuine home-from-home experience.
4. Walk In Their Shoes
Step into the customer’s shoes and audit for yourself those first impressions on entering your guest hallway, the bedroom – cleanliness, maintenance, room amenities. Look for the imperfections that guests with a sharp eye for quality are likely to spot. Wilted flowers in a vase, tatty magazines…
The little details say a lot about your commitment to quality and care. We remember the good, but we also remember the little things we really didn’t like. These are the things that can take you by surprise when you’re checking out your customers’ online reviews.
Something else to be mindful of is the regular interactions that take place between room attendants and guests. Their attitudes, behaviours and daily interactions can go a long way to creating a positive guest experience, or not.
5. Exceed Their Expectations
Always be looking for an opportunity to go that extra mile. People don’t talk about good, they talk about the exceptional – the little things that created the wow they weren’t expecting. What can you do or offer that has a high perceived value but doesn’t cost you much?
If, on a previous stay, you helped a guest with booking tickets for an event, what similar events are happening this time during their stay? Why not leave them a personal note with the event information in the welcome pack in their room?
On check-out perhaps you can surprise them with a box of home-made sweets, or a small gift bag of exclusive toiletries.
6. Be A Fountain of Local Knowledge
Your guests want to be able to rely on you and your staff for the kind of inside information only a local knows. Are you informed on local history? Keep up-to-date with what’s going in and local events. Is there a new restaurant in town that is getting great reviews?
If you can share these local insights and give great ideas, tips and advice to your guests, you’ve just strengthened your bond. Your guests will feel more connected with the ‘local scene’ and not just a traveller with a guide book.
7. Be Flexible
Nobody wants to be told ‘sorry Sir…’ if they’re a paying guest. If a guest arrives for breakfast before the set time of 7am, is that really a big deal? Bend the rules, show them to their table a little early and give them a great start to their day.
Be flexible. After all, you’re working in hospitality – you need to be! Things are always on the go… guests arriving, guests leaving, absent staff, and the little emergencies that crop up often at the worst of times. Have your team support one another and be able to step into each other shoes when the need arises. A consistent quality of service and staff who are calm and in control are what guests expect during their stay.
8. Stay in Touch
To keep your guests coming back, make sure you stay in touch. Engage on social media. Send them emails to let them know of local activities or hotel events that are going on. Something may just catch their eye and they’ll book an extra visit.
You don’t need to bombard them. Be mindful that they are probably getting a lot of stuff thrown at them every day. Put yourself in their shoes. If you were them, would you like to receive the information you are sending? Keep it timely, relevant and of value to your guest.
9. Reward Loyalty
We’ve all seen it. Great deals offered to ‘new customers’. How annoyed do you feel as a loyal customers when you see this happen? Make your repeat guests feel appreciated. What special bonus or exclusive package can you put together for your loyal guests to boost your bookings and demonstrate your appreciation of their business?
10. Welcome Feedback
Look for opportunities to get feedback from your guests. What do they like? Is there anything you can do to improve their stay? Ask them if they have any ideas on how you can improve the overall guest experience. Most people don’t mind, and many are flattered to be asked for their opinions.
If you can uncover and quickly fix any shortfalls, these are often opportunities in disguise. People are forgiving and grateful if they see that you care enough to resolve their issue. This is your opportunity to shine and leave them with a positive lasting impression.
And don’t forget to keep a pro-active eye on the comments left by your guests on sites like TripAdvisor. You have your chance to respond both to the comments and in practical ways to improve your overall guest experience.
So here’s the thing… if you want your guests to come back, you need to earn their loyalty. It’s about creating a whole experience where you guests become a part of your hotel’s unique story.
And do your guests know that you really appreciate their business? A warm smile and a sincere “thank you” goes a long way.
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