Over 68% of customers fail to return if they don’t feel appreciated.
As a hotelier, you may know that retaining guest loyalty is not an easy job. You need to not only focus on getting new customers, but also being the preferred choice for the past and present guests.
So how can your hotel be the preferred choice for the guest?
Easy to use websites/mobile sites:
A guest wants their booking experience to be swift, intuitive and without any problems. Ensure your websites and mobile booking options are fast and bookings can be made via any of the pages. 65% of all same day reservations are made via a smartphone (according to Statisticbrain). You must ensure that your hotel websites are mobile-friendly.
Understand your guest’s needs:
Hotels should listen to their guests/gather feedback, interact with them and anticipate their needs. While the guests are at the hotel, create a rapport with them and interact. Understand whether the guest prefers to be left alone or enjoys the extra attention that the hotel can give them. It is very important that hotels have a Property Management System (PMS) in place that automates operations, leaving the staff with more time to interact with the guests.
Keep in touch:
Your hotel’s job is not over once the guest leaves their property. Your hotel should reach out to the guests, ask for their feedback, thank them for their stay and regularly send updates to them. This helps increase the recall value of your hotel – either for them, and for them to recommend your hotel to their friends. Send out holiday options to your guests keeping their needs in mind. For a business traveller you can offer free Wi-Fi or complimentary access to the business centre. For couples the hotel can create special spa packages and so on.
Loyalty points program and exclusive deals for loyal customers:
A loyalty program offering points or miles to guests when they stay with you can be a huge incentive and encourage guests to come back. If you’re a small hotel, and not part of a big chain, then instead of having your own loyalty program, you can tie-up with airlines or credit card institutions as one of your partners. You can also categorize exclusive guests and entice them to come back and stay, on an all inclusive package, or offer special local activities and excursions.
Ask for feedback:
Mail your guests post their stay and ask them for their feedback directly and also request them to post their feedback on sites such as Tripadvisor, Booking.com etc. Even if the feedback is negative, reach out to the guest, apologize to them and tell them that their criticism shall be looked into and rectified. Guests need to feel that their opinions matter and are taken seriously, even with a bad experience a guest may still come back if the hotel takes the time to reach out to them and apologize.
Remember your guests:
Keep a note of your repeat guests, remember their names, preferences and any special requirements. These small things matter a lot, a guest would love to revisit hotels with staff that remembers him by his name, allocates their favourite room and remembers any special occasions.
Train the staff regularly:
A guest’s fifth stay should be as impressive as the first one. Change of staff, cooks, etc is no excuse for a dip in service. Your hotel should regularly train the staff on the kind of service your guests expect.
What are the top two or three loyalty programs you offer to your guests? How effective are they? Do share your comments.