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June 23, 2021
Any hotelier knows that guest experience is a top priority— and one way to make or break that experience is through your brand and teams’ communication.
From your choice in communication channels to the frequency of your reply and tone, there are a number of best practices for guest communication before, during, and after their stay.
Create the brand loyalty and emotional connection you need with these top guest services tips:
First impressions are lasting impressions, so it’s no surprise that your initial touch-point with a new guest is one of the most important moments of your relationship.
Someone may not remember everything you said, they will remember how you made them feel.
Before your first-time guest comes for a stay, prepare a plan for their pre-stay communication. Will you send them a reminder email about their arrival time? How can you use positive language to get them excited about their getaway?
Also, consider your new guests’ initial greeting when they first step into your hotel. Are they greeted with a smile? Your front-end employees are the face of your operation and lay the foundation for your excellent customer service. Coach your desk staff on the best do’s and don'ts, like using inviting body language and subtle ways to make guests feel important, valued, respected, and welcome right from the start.
Here are some tips for keeping your team motivated and happy to continually delight your guests.
Gone are the days of strictly using phone calls for communication. Modern-day guests want convenient messages through their smartphones. From email and SMS communications to social media and in-app experiences, there are a variety of channels for reaching guests.
Determine which method of communication each guest prefers early, by asking and notating their preference in your hotel property management solution (PMS). Find out if they prefer alerts via:
When it comes to communication on third-party booking websites, a direct, two-way connection is key. Be sure to chat with your team about how you’ll organize and stay on top of guest information across all platforms.
Guests know when you send a mass email that goes out to hundreds or thousands of recipients— and those are often the messages that go unread. That’s partly because guests don’t find them personalized enough to care.
This is where personalization tokens become vital. Whether it’s as simple as including a guest’s first name in the subject line/content or pulling other unique attributes from your hotel property management system (such as where they last stayed and the reason for their stay)— these “small” notations can go a long way in making your guests feel properly served and special.
When people try a new business, one of the first things they do is look at a brand’s online reviews. Your hotel is no different. If your Google Knowledge Panel or Google My Business listing, or influential social sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc. show few or poor reviews, that’s a quick way to deter guests. Don’t forget about your social media platform reviews either. When searching for hotel accommodations, 15.7% said reviews on social media influence their decision.
This is why it’s so important to encourage your happy customers to leave reviews. The more 5-star reviews you can get, the better. Even 4-stars can be helpful if you ask the reviewer, “What is one thing that would have made your stay a 5-star experience?”
Of course, unhappy guests will also leave their complaints online. This is an opportunity for you to ask for feedback and show other readers that you’re taking proper steps to turn a negative experience into a positive one— both for the upset guest and all future guests to come.
When monitoring and replying to online hotel reviews, remember that responsiveness and timeliness matter. Be quick to reply to both good and bad reviews to show others you are actively listening and addressing all public-facing feedback.
While many hoteliers send a survey after guests leave, there are more opportunities to gauge a guest’s opinion to foster better communication.
Right after a guest books their stay, for instance, you could send out a survey asking how their booking experience was. This is a great place to ask how you can create a seamless booking experience for future bookers. Plus, it’ll be a wise way to note this unique guest’s preferred communication method in order to personalize future marketing.
Consider sending a mid-stay survey as well, to make the guest experience better before they leave. Instead of reactively responding to a mediocre or poor review after they’ve long checked out, instantly improve their current stay with proactive communication and remediation.
In our Guest Communication Best Practices webinar, we dive even deeper into what it means to have clear, consistent communication with your guests.
You’ll hear a few important ways to automate emails and SMS messaging tosave your team valuable time and resources. You’ll also learn how to use your property management software’s guest portal to effectively engage with guests. Watch the webinar to gain insightful ideas, today.