Guest expectations in hospitality industry, today, is higher than ever and there are several factors behind this. Technology plays a huge role in making them more aware and connected than before. Delivering on and exceeding customer expectations therefore is paramount to a hotel’s success in increasing customer loyalty. When you can have a large percentage of repeat or loyal customers, it acts as a firm revenue foundation. The result will be immensely profitable for every hotel owner.
Staying connected with existing customers requires you, as a hotel owner, to have your strategy in place. Building customer loyalty is directly related to exceeding customer expectations. Knowing how to satisfy a guest in the hospitality industry helps hoteliers accelerate growth. There are many customer loyalty strategies you can use to turn new customers into repeat guests and retain your current list of guests as well.
Let’s understand how you can go about exceeding customer expectations in hospitality and thereby increase customer loyalty with these tips.
Make the Right First Impressions
There’s a reason why ‘First Impressions Always Last’. Always be attentive to your guests’ expectations and needs, even before their stay with you begins. The check-in process sets the tone for your hotel, so make it a smooth process for new guests. Your hotel’s staff must go the extra mile in exceeding customer expectations and should offer an impeccable service, for enhanced customer loyalty. Pay close attention to the hotel housekeeping expectations, which when handled with care can take you places in impressing guests.
Add the Personal Touch
This is the age of data. Storing guest data in your hotel management software will help you provide a personalized service to new and existing guests. For e.g.: Knowing about a guest’s most-preferred suite at the time of booking is the kind of personal touch guests look forward to. Hotel housekeeping expectations that guests have are common around the world and are quite simple. So make sure you tick off all the boxes in that department.
But when you have a software that helps track guest expectations, preferences, etc., you can deliver on those guest requests that may otherwise go unnoticed. Since the devil is in the details, the more the personalization the higher the guest satisfaction and loyalty. Tracking guest data and preferences also helps you find innovative ways to encourage guests to book your hotel property for the next visit.
Incentives play a huge role when it comes to meeting guest expectations in hospitality. Build up on great incentives to make new guests turn into loyal visitors. Think beyond complimentary welcome drinks and meals! Spend time to analyse your audience and ask yourself this question – “what is it that will be of importance for the guest?”
Increasing customer loyalty is cakewalk if you truly understand your guest expectations. A family on a leisure trip can be offered a complimentary trip to nearby local attractions. A business traveler may prefer flexible check-in timings. You can even announce offers on direct bookings for new guests so that they have an incentive to book your hotel property on the next trip.
Create Useful Hotel Loyalty Programs
Learning the many ways on how to satisfy guests in the hospitality industry, can take you a long way in defining your long-term customer loyalty. And in this context, Hotel loyalty cards are an important part of customer loyalty programs.
A report by Deloitte mentions 18% of guests become active loyalty card members based on the benefits it offers. Find out what customers want. With each interaction try and dig deeper into truly understanding what your guests’ expectations are and also, reward repeat visits accordingly. New guests to your hotel must know the long-term value of the loyalty program. Once you succeed with the sign up of a new customer for your loyalty program, let this act as your firm foundation to build upon the trust for long-term customer loyalty initiatives with your guests.
Prioritize Guest Experience
The guest experience begins even before the check-in process. Put together an organizational culture that prioritizes guest experience above everything else. Connect with your guests online once the booking is in place. Send out relevant messages through emails – mention about local events, popular hangouts, and details that will be of interest to your guest. Ask questions during their stay. “Are you having a comfortable stay? Do you require any assistance?” Questions such as these will establish trust. Guests will know your brand cares to see if guests are genuinely comfortable. Connect with each guest personally to address their requirements. Exceeding customer expectations is the only way to gain their trust and loyalty in the service industry.
Use Technology to your Advantage
Technology can offer many benefits for hoteliers. Right from offering a smooth booking process online to including innovative ways to engage guests technology has enabled hoteliers in multiple ways. Depending on individual business requirements, hoteliers needs to adopt technological solutions that help answer the question at hand- “How to exceed customer expectations in hospitality”. Make sure you include every touchpoint in your guests’ journey with you, to make it seamless and consistent.
Email automation tools to reach out to guests who have made a booking with you will help build pre-arrival guest experience. Self check-in, keyless entry, mobile apps that allow guests to put forth their requests, energy-saving devices, etc,. will make your hotel stand out from the rest and helps build a lasting impression with your guests. Since technology aims, primarily, to make life easier, be sure to invest in smart technology that adds to guests’ convenience. This is a sure shot way to exceeding guest expectations and build customer loyalty for your hotel.
Exceed Customer’s Expectations
If you truly want to stand out, then you need to put guest expectations and satisfaction at the core of your business strategy. The first step towards hitting a home run here is understanding that every guest has a different set of expectations. If your focus is exceeding customer expectations, then you need to study your guests and understand them in as much depth as possible, on a strategic as well on a tactical level.
Does a guest have a specific request not mentioned in your hotel amenities? In this case you could either refuse politely if it is a request that is impossible to fulfil. But if you could make it happen, guarantee them that you’ll have it done and make sure it is done as quickly as possible. Is there an irate guest at your hotel property? Hear them out with genuine interest and apologize sincerely, even if it has nothing to do with your or the hotel! Empathize with them and do what you can to placate them! If it an issue that can be resolved by you or your staff, take special care to resolve it as quickly and as efficiently as possible. A simple follow-up email post a guest’s stay that thanks them for their visit with exciting offers can also create a good level of engagement. A guest’s stay should be memorable and hoteliers need to go the extra mile to exceed customer expectations.
Seek Immediate Feedback
Why do negative reviews appear online? Guests who are displeased with their stay may not always be vocal at the time of the stay. This is why it is essential to actively and carefully seek feedback, before, during and post stay. Do not wait for a customer to have an issue or make a complaint. Is your guest happy with the room service? Is the menu tailored according to his/her needs? Find information, ask the right questions and stay connected.
All these factors play an important role when it comes to enhancing guest experience. Bottom line is that, it is vital to maintain a personal connect to exceeding customer expectations and turning first-time visitors into repeat guests. If you’ve found these strategies to increase customer loyalty helpful, do share the blog or leave a comment below.
"8 easy tips for hotels to increase guest loyalty",