Today’s hotel guests are more aware and informed than ever before. They know their rights and will not settle for anything less than what they expect from a hotel. Most importantly, they also know how and when to vent their displeasure, if not served properly. In this context, small and independent hotels need to be a little more cautious while handling guest complaints. Because bad or negative guest reviews can really break a small and independent hotel’s brand reputation. That’s why they need to go the extra mile to offer a timely solution to guest complaints to earn their trust and loyalty.
During their stay at hotels, guests complain about many things including unstable Wi-Fi, no hot water, musty rooms/toilets, noise from the next room, bad food, unfriendly staff and many more. If you run an independent hotel in any part of the United States, I am sure that you must have seen some of your guests picking up on some of the points listed above, while expressing their discomfort. While you can tackle some of these guest complaints on your own, you would still need to leverage the power of today’s smart hospitality technology solutions to make sure that your guests are happy with you throughout their stay.
Let’s now look at 5 major hotel guest complaints and how you can effectively address them at your independent hotel with the help of a Cloud Hotel Property Management System (PMS).
#1 How much longer until I check-in?
Yes, we are talking about long waiting time at the lobby before a guest checks into the room. Regardless of where in the world a hotel is, guests will not be pleased if asked to wait endlessly to be checked in to their rooms! And why not? Who would not be in desperate need of rest or hot shower after a tiring journey? See this – according to a report by Cornells’ Center for Hospitality Research, hotel guests in the United States would not appreciate it if you make them wait for more than 5 minutes and it results in a 47% decrease in guest satisfaction. This is an issue your staff will have to deal with carefully and skilfully.
Whether this is due to the room not being ready, or simply lack of clarity on a reservation, the onus lies on you. In this case, you need to speed up the check-in process at your property. And to ensure this, you can adopt a cloud Hotel PMS. Just open the quick reservation panel, enter the first and last name of the guest, simply drag and drop to finish the check-in process. The guest walks into the room in no time and voila! You are done.
Moreover, many cloud PMS vendors can help you with a Mobile Hotel App. You just need to scan the guest’s identification document to perform a direct check-in. This way, you can help your guests to bypass the front desk.
#2 My room was not clean
Cleanliness of the room is one of the most important parameters for your guests to judge your hotel and your services. Just take a look at US hotel guest reviews on various sites. You will find most of them complaining about unclean rooms with a damp smell.
Here is how a Hotel PMS would help you with this. For example – a smart cloud PMS like Hotelogix will not allow your front desk staff to check-in a guest if the room is marked as ‘not clean’ by the housekeeping. Front Desk staff get to see the current room status. If a guest raises such requests, you can assign tasks to your housekeeping staff from the Front Desk. You can also track the progress of the assigned task and get to know if the issue has been addressed on time.
#3 I have stayed here twice before, yet they don’t know me
This clearly means that you don’t have a guest history management mechanism in place. Without this, you will never get to recognize and understand those guests who have stayed with you in the past. Your repeat guests would like it if you offer them the type of room they opted for during their last stay even without asking. They would appreciate it if you serve them their beverage of choice.
See this – around 65% of guests would appreciate it if you know them and their preferences.
But, how will you serve repeat guests better if you don’t understand their requirements?
Here’s where a cloud hotel PMS can help you with better handling such issues. Everytime a new reservation is being done, when your front desk staff enters the first name of the guest, the PMS will throw up a separate page containing all the information if the guest has stayed with you in the past. This will let you know their preferred room, food & beverage choices, other likes and dislikes and many more. This way, you know what needs to be done in advance to make the guests happy with personalized offerings.
Just imagine this – your guest history record lets you know that your guest Michael John has asked for airport drop during his last stay. Don’t you think that he will be happy when you inform him that you have already arranged an airport drop for him even before he checks out?
#4 Why can’t I just pay everything in my final settlement?
In such cases, the guest complaint is that they need to carry their wallet every time they step out of their room at your hotel. Each time they head to the restaurant to grab a meal, to the bar, or any other POS outlets at the hotel. Obviously, this is an inconvenience and guests are most likely to be displeased with such an arrangement.
Rather, they would appreciate it if you allow them to pay all the additional bills from the restaurant, the bar, the gym and others in one final settlement during the checkout. This gives them so much more flexibility and allows them to pay for everything in one go.
Well, you can always consider adopting a smart cloud-based Hotel PMS that comes integrated with a Point of Sale module to help your guests with this, too. This would allow you to post all the bills to the guest room. Let your guests enjoy your hotel facilities without worrying about paying every time at all the outlets. They just have to pay the final amount during the checkout. This way, you can offer your guests a frictionless stay at your hotel.
#5 My reservation is not honored
So here, we are dealing with overbooking or double-booking issues. Sometimes, as a hotelier, to guard against unforeseen last-minute cancellations, you might adopt overbooking strategy. There is nothing wrong with it as long as you make sure this is dealt with carefully. However, if you are not able to update your inventory on multiple OTAs in real-time, you end up facing overbooking issues, too. This means you have to dishonor some reservations and turn away some of your guests which leads to guest dissatisfaction and loss of brand value.
Look into the capabilities of a cloud hotel Property Management System to overcome this issue. Here is how it can be of immense value to you. Being on the cloud, the PMS gets easily integrated with a channel manager that is also on the cloud. Through this integration, you can update your rooms and rates across several OTAs, in real-time. This instant distribution of rooms on OTAs ensures that there is no overbooking at your property. Zero overbooking means no more irate guests, nor is there the possibility of negative reviews, from those irate guests, on hotel booking platforms.
In today’s highly competitive hotel business, handling guest complaints and offering them the right services is the key to success. While a smart cloud-based Hotel PMS can help you address the above-mentioned issues with ease, you also need to invest in your staff to sensitize them on how to offer the ‘human touch’ whenever they interact with your guests. Because, despite all the technological advancements in the industry, human engagement plays a critical role when it comes to guest service. This makes it all the more necessary for hoteliers to invest in a cloud PMS as it frees up a lot of time for you and your staff, so you can focus on delighting your guests.
Deloitte – Next-gen hotel guests have checked in | The changing guest experience
"5 major guest complaints that a cloud PMS can resolve",