Showing your finest guest hospitality is essential to creating a positive guest experience. Monica Or, in her book Star Quality Experience: The Hotelier’s Guide to Creating Memorable Guest Journeys, states that you should want guests to be talking about you for all the right reasons. Guests trust reviews written by previous guests. Personalize your guest hospitality to ensure guests book, stay, come back, and recommend you to others.
Create A Star Quality Experience
Guest hospitality means making guests feel important. Giving them the experience they deserve. Get to know your guests. When guests arrive, ask they about why they choose to stay with you. When guests leave, ask them what they liked about their stay. Each contact they have with you provides an opportunity for them to form an opinion of you. Thus, every interaction with each guest matters. Your reputation for guest hospitality affects future visits.
Ms. Monica Or recommends that you make it easy for guests to find you. A major factor has to do with your websites.
- Does your website load fast?
- Fully responsive?
- Search engine optimized?
- Google Analytics installed to monitor and track website performance?
- Do you share quality photos?
- Is it consistent throughout?
- Google location map?
- Can guests check availability?
- Easy and secure online booking?
- Do you have a 90 seconds (or less) YouTube video embedded in your website?
- Is it easy to navigate your website?
- Are there few steps to get to a CTA (call to action) button?
- Is your website up to date with relevant information?
- Do you highlight how you meet the needs of your guests?
- Are social media links on your website?
- Full contact information (including address, phone #, and email)?
- Online inquiry form?
Every response you provide to your guests (before, during, and after) helps to influence their perceptions of their visit. Do your guests receive an email confirmation after they book? This book recommends that innkeepers set up a guest profile.
Guest Profile (suggested information to note):
- Full Name
- Reason for staying
- Flight and travel information
- Estimated time of arrival
- Room preferences
- Special requests
- Dietary requirements
- # previous stays
- Additional notes
First impressions of your property include the need for:
- Clear and easy to read signage
- Trimmed landscaping and groomed gardens
- Blooming flowers (in season)
- Recently swept outside
- Parking spaces clearly marked
- Clean windows in good repair
- Exterior paint fresh (not chipped)
- Easy to find entrance
- Curb appeal
The initial greeting in person is also important. Always a welcoming staff member to greet them and check them in when they enter your accommodations.
Show your guests that you understand their needs. Smile, give eye contact, listen, and make conversation. It’s very important to ask open-ended questions (questions that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no). This way you learn more information that will help you serve your guests. A handwritten welcome note in their room is always a nice touch. Through observation, conversation, and paying attention to details, you can pick up on clues your guest leaves to make their stay more enjoyable.
It’s essential to personalize the experience for your guests. Record their likes and dislikes. Perhaps in your property management system or a guest file. Do they prefer a certain type of pillow? Do you know their favorite flowers? What about their reading preferences? Pay it forward with random acts of kindness to your guests. For example, if you notice your guest likes to solve crossword puzzles, perhaps leave a new crossword puzzle book in their room. Guests appreciate it when little details are noticed like that.
The best guests leave rave reviews about you for others to read. Take time, as they leave, to give them a fond farewell. Ask how their stay has been. Inquire if there is anything else you can do from them before they leave. Some accommodations give a small parting gift (a coffee mug, book, key ring, etc.). Make sure the bill is accurate before you hand it to them. Be sure to use the guests name during the check out process. Ask about their onward journey and if they need assistance with a taxi. Continue to engage on social media. Offer incentives (like a drawing to win a complimentary stay). Stay in touch and say thank you. Share current offers and promotions they would be interested in.
Keep your relationships with guests strong. It is a lot easier to encourage repeat visits than it is to get new guests. Send birthday greetings, anniversary wishes, and special occasion reminders. Perhaps invite them to an VIP exclusive party. Regularly share blog posts. Tag guests in social media. E-newsletters are another way to remind guests and potential guests about you. Consider offering a loyalty program that rewards your guests.
Welcome your guests back with open arms. Make them feel special for returning. Feature a guest compliments Wall of Fame in your lobby. Reward repeat visits and guest referrals. As you know, there are always additional ways to enhance your guests’ experiences.
Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography