If you google “hotel horror stories,” three things will occur to you. One, that bed bugs, or any other type of bug, truly are the worst. Two, if the hotel is haunted, you should probably just abandon it before The Shining happens. And three, that those guests are never coming back.
While your hotel (hopefully) doesn’t have supernatural forces terrifying your staff and guests, there are still some basic things to watch out for. Here are the most common reasons guests choose not to return and how to avoid them.
Your staff don’t have to reach horror movie levels of aggression to make guests want to leave…and leave a bad review. According to ALICE, 62 percent of guests with complaints claim that unfriendly staff are the most irritating. To prevent this, give staff the training and resources they need to deliver excellent customer service.
According to a 2017 survey by Axonify, 92 percent of US adults claim that well-planned training increases their workplace engagement. Unfortunately, forty-three percent of the respondents who did receive training said it wasn’t effective. Your training should be ongoing, not a one-and-done situation, and should incorporate feedback from employees.
Make a reservation at your property or have a friend do so for you, so you can check the kind of service you receive and make suggestions for improvement. Not only that, but you can also reward a job well done. Don’t be stingy with positive comments!
It’s much easier for staff to be warm and friendly when they’re not, in fact, harried and frustrated. Your property management system (PMS) should make daily operations smoother and more efficient for your staff. If it’s not doing that, then look for a new one. Your PMS should also connect with your other systems so that you don’t have to manually duplicate data across systems. Not only is double-entering data a time waster, it makes errors much more likely.
Guests will be happier and more likely to return if you act like you want them there. Staff will have an easier time welcoming those guests if they’re prepared with the right tools to serve them.
No one wants to open their room door, throw down their bags, and see a mysterious stain on the carpet. Even before the pandemic, 78 percent of guests rated cleanliness as the most important factor influencing their stay decision.
Use your PMS’ housekeeping report to ensure that each room is clean and sanitized. A cloud-based PMS like WebRezPro enables housekeeping staff to access and update their cleaning schedule on the go from a mobile device.
WebRezPro shows which rooms need to be cleaned in real time and automatically transmits room status updates to the front desk, so front desk staff immediately know which rooms they can check guests into. They don’t have to cross their fingers and hope for the best when travelers request an early check-in.
Housekeeping checklists can be created for each unit type, itemizing specific tasks, e.g., wiping down the sink, and organizing those tasks by section for efficient workflow. These checklists ensure quality standards by showing staff exactly what needs to be done, and requiring checklists to be completed before room status can be set to clean.
There’s even a section for notes and add-ons in case a guest asks for something special, or there’s a maintenance issue.
Loyalty Goes Unrecognized
Repeat guests are your most valuable and should be treated like VIPs. Increasing customer retention by five percent can raise profits by over 25 percent, so reward those loyal guests with plenty of recognition and extra perks.
Record relevant information, so you can personalize service when they return. This goes beyond basics such as email, telephone numbers, and loyalty points. If you and your guest start chatting, and they tell you it’s their anniversary, make note of that too. Then, next year, you can send them a special romance package offer or include a complimentary bottle of champagne with their stay.
In WebRezPro, you can mark repeat guests as VIPs in their guest profile, so that reservations booked with that staff profile are automatically flagged as VIP. That way, staff can tell at a glance who your most reliable customers are and make sure they receive VIP treatment.
If you have a customer relationship management (CRM) system, integrate it with your PMS so that reservation information from your PMS automatically feeds into your CRM, contributing to rich customer profiles and highly targeted campaigns. You shouldn’t have to go on a database scavenger hunt every time you think you recognize a name.
Loyalty programs take this recognition and formalize it through perks and better deals specified upfront. The simpler your program, the better. Guests don’t have the mental bandwidth for a plethora of tiers and rules. Offer smaller rewards that can be earned quickly. If it takes a guest five stays before they see benefits, they’ll likely ignore the program altogether…and book another hotel.
Imagine sitting at your hotel desk, ready to start your workcation, and an error message pops up: you are not connected to the internet. Or your key fails, and you can’t get into your room at all.
Outdated systems and technological glitches negatively impact guest experience even if those glitches are relatively small. After your guest’s stressful travel day, waking up at dawn, sitting on a crammed flight, then driving (lost) around downtown to find your hotel, your glitch could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Modern solutions such as self-check-in and in-room casting make your guest’s stay smoother and more enjoyable, but only if they function properly. Invest in modern, reliable tech and test it out periodically to make sure it’s working.
If you have any of these problems at your hotel, you will hear about it and so will potential guests. Forty-six percent of Americans voice their issues online after they check out. It’s much better to head these issues off at the pass with a friendly smile, a clean room, and ultimately, a pleasant stay.