What is hotel guest experience and how to enhance it? Read on and find out 8 ideas for taking your guest experience to the next level.
Excellent customer service probably springs to mind when thinking about creating a positive guest experience, but the experience starts before your guests have even arrived.
The guest experience now encompasses all facets of the customer journey, from the moment they visit your website and book their accommodation to when they check out of the hotel and return home. These are just a few of the top factors that may contribute to a memorable guest experience.
In order to understand the full guest experience, it is best to break up the customer journey and various touchpoints.
Browsing travellers have a short attention span, so ensuring your website makes a good impression is your first priority. Hotel websites should not only look good and give the customer a taste of what they can expect, but they should provide a seamless booking experience. These days, tech-savvy travellers expect websites that are easy to find and easy to navigate, with an integrated booking system, real-time rates and availability, secure payment methods, multi-language and multi-currency options, and advanced mobile capabilities.
Check-in is a hotel’s chance to make a good first impression that sets the tone for the rest of the guest’s stay. Ensuring your hotel has a friendly front-desk staff and seamless check-in procedures can make all the difference. Guests love feeling special, whether greeting them by name, offering an upgrade or welcome package, champagne on arrival or complimentary gifts for celebratory occasions. Hotels should also consider what the guests see as they arrive. Making sure the entrance and lobby are clean and tidy, with fresh flowers and special touches, can give guests a taste of what’s to come.
In the age of convenience and efficiency, business and leisure travellers alike have become increasingly dependent on modern technologies. Hotels can help improve the guest experience by offering high-tech features, from free high-speed wifi to LED lighting, temperature control, electric blinds and smart TVs. Guests are also becoming more accustomed to mobile apps that allow them to make requests, order room service and check in remotely. And, with an increasing number of remote workers, guests are also looking for in-room workstations and shared spaces with AV equipment.
With a surge of travellers looking for adventures and experiences, ensuring your hotel has a variety of activities on offer is a quick way to improve the overall guest experience. By partnering with local companies, you can help remove any guesswork needed by guests, with a range of discount activities on offer. Whether reserved online during the booking process or at the hotel, special offers to zoos, galleries, and museums and tickets to one-off events and festivals can add value and help create lasting memories for your guests.
Another way to enhance the guest experience is by making the most of your hotel facilities and cross-selling during the booking process. VIP pool cabanas, luxury spa treatments and private dining experiences can all help to enrich a guest’s hotel experience. Bundle these options into packages to prompt guests to make use of these facilities, and be sure to include information about what’s available at the hotel as guests arrive.
Feedback is your most valuable tool in improving guest experience and identifying which areas in the customer journey need work. Sending follow-up emails asking about their stay and providing online or social media links to review the hotel not only make your guest feel heard, but positive feedback can help boost your ratings, Google rankings and bookings. While this also opens the door to negative feedback, this will allow you the opportunity to respond and convert that customer, as well as identify areas of improvement.
Just as your website and the hotel check-in can make an impression, so do your final interactions with your guests. Again ensuring a seamless check-out experience and friendly customer service is essential, but asking for face-to-face feedback can show guests you are genuinely interested in their hotel experience. But it doesn’t end there. Once your guests have returned home, you have the opportunity to send post-trip surveys, offering special deals and loyalty programmes to entice guests back.
While feedback can offer powerful insights into the hotel guest experience, organising a mystery shopper or setting up room inspections and spot checks are excellent ways to ensure your hotel is up to standard. Mystery hotel guests can provide an in-depth evaluation that looks at all aspects of the customer journey, from online booking to food and beverages, hotel and room cleanliness, customer service, employee attitudes, hotel facilities and whether all expectations are met.
There are various ways to measure guest experience and satisfaction, which can help inform your strategy and the changes required to improve the customer experience, both online and at the hotel.
NPS is a customer satisfaction benchmark that measures how likely your hotel guests are to recommend your business to a friend. This is typically a 1-10 rating or yes or no response that will help indicate customer's overall sentiment about a hotel.
CSAT measures how happy a customer is with their overall experience. Using a scale between 1-3, 1-5 or 1-10, customers are asked “how satisfied are you with your experience?”. Ratings can be captured at various touch points, whether post-booking, during or post-stay, which can give key insights into weak spots in the guest experience.
The customer retention rate measures the percentage of customers who return to your business within a specified period. To calculate your retention rate you will need to define your time period (quarter, annual). Take the number of hotel guests at the end of this period and deduct the number of guests acquired during this period, divide that number by the number of guests at the start of the period and multiply by 100.
With guest expectations continually rising, it is important to follow and understand the complete customer journey and how each touchpoint and interaction may impact the guest experience. Remember that the road to guest satisfaction is a continuous process, and there is always room for improvement.