Every hotel has guests you remember with a wince, whether it’s because they called reception 15 times, hurled their keys at your head, or dumped their toddler at the front desk for free babysitting. Both the guest and staff experience depend on happy, satisfied guests. While some may be beyond help (you can offer a kids’ club, but you can’t fix that level of entitlement), there are ways to encourage hotel etiquette—and positive reviews—from most.
Ensure guests know what to expect before they arrive. This includes being forthright in your marketing, both online and in guest email/SMS communications. While you want to be positive and point out your best features, you don’t want to set guests up for disappointment when they discover your continental breakfast is really a vending machine.
Include guidelines and relevant amenities and services in your pre-stay and/or arrival messaging. If daily housekeeping is opt-in only, this is the time to let guests know. Pre-stay messaging opens up a line of communication between you and your guests and encourages them to let you know about any special requests in advance. That way, you’ll have their hypo-allergenic pillows ready when they walk in the room, and they won’t have to call the front desk.
Use pre-stay messaging to set the stage for processes like self-check-in (see below) and payment. Guests can’t check in online if they don’t know that’s an option. It’s a good idea to reiterate your check-in/check-out times too. Hint: If you offer a place to store their luggage before a room is ready, it reduces the chances of complaint. You can also invite them to your lounge or café.
Pre-stay communications enable you to resolve any lingering doubts that your guest may have about booking with you. Would they like to know about your sustainability practices? Are they concerned about Covid-19 protocols? (55 percent of people still are.) Guests are less likely to violate protocols if they know that they’re there, and if they do violate them, you can point to this messaging to prove that they were, in fact, informed prior to their stay.
Consider welcoming guests with a note from the manager (either sent via automated messaging or written by hand and left in their room) to get their stay started on the right note.
Offer Self-Service Tech
Self-service options such as online bookings, chatbots, self-check-in, and room service apps save everyone time while increasing revenue. Staff doesn’t have to check guests in, and guests don’t have to stand in line waiting to be checked-in. Nothing makes a guest terser than a 10-minute lobby wait (after their three-hour airport wait and half-hour rental car wait).
It’s important for self-service features to come with simple, clear instructions and be easily understandable even for guests who aren’t tech savvy. Guests experiencing technical difficulties won’t be terse; they’ll be voluble. And loud.
Look into digital tipping for your property. Fewer people with bills in their wallet means fewer tips…unless you figure out a cashless solution. There are increasing digital tipping solutions to choose from and some, like Canary Technologies, serve hotels specifically.
Make Requests Easy
Make yourself easy to reach whenever a guest has a request or question. This way you can resolve requests immediately, before they become complaints or negative reviews! No one enjoys expending a lot of effort to ask for something small. It shouldn’t take half an hour on hold to get more towels.
Automated text messaging solutions like Akia, Breezeway, and Duve save time and reduce friction between guests and staff. Such platforms enable guests to text your front desk directly to ask questions and make requests and can even be set up to answer common questions automatically. Internal communications can also be managed from the same dashboard so that staff can immediately delegate tasks and requests to the appropriate personnel for even faster service resolution.
Making it easy for guests to make requests and reducing response time in this way results in happy, satisfied customers and good reviews!
Ask for Reviews
Good guests are happy to help you out by leaving a positive review because you’ve made them happy. Use automated post-stay messaging to ask for reviews and include your preferred review sites on signage around your property.
However, to guarantee that the feedback you earn is positive, you need to check a few boxes before making review requests part of your routine. Are you streamlining operations with automated hotel software? Are your guest rooms up to scratch? (This is a common pain point.) Do you have the tools to collect guest data and personalize their experience? (When someone requests those hypoallergenic pillows, make note of it on their guest profile and have them ready when the guest returns next time. They’ll appreciate not having to ask again…and you’ll appreciate their sunny disposition.)
Ensure guests know where and how to give feedback during their stay, whether that feedback comes in person, or via messaging (see previous section) or in-stay surveys—and that feedback is welcomed. You never want to hear about problems for the first time on Tripadvisor.
The effort you put into your guests is what you’ll get back. If they know you care about them, they’re more likely to care about you. Communicating clearly, providing efficient service, and making it easy for guests to ask for what they want helps them know what to expect, what’s expected, and to enjoy their stay—resulting in good guests and good reviews!