The Secret to Improving Your Guest Experience

If you want to know the secret to improving your guest experience, the answer is found in several areas of hospitality.  It begins by asking yourself questions like the following.

What do you find out about your guests before they stay at your inn?  When your guests book a room, do you learn the purpose of their visit?  Whether they have any food allergies or dietary restrictions?  Knowing these things can help you prepare for their visit.  

What on-site amenities do you offer your guests? Amenities can include free wireless internet throughout your inn, watching television and movies from the privacy of guest rooms, large hot tubs, indoor or outdoor pools, a game room, a workout room, spa treatments, a library, a conference room, privately stocked guest room refrigerators, 24-hour access to free refreshments and goodies, and so on.  The more amenities you have at your property, the more likely guests will write positive reviews of their experiences.  

Do you offer concierge services to your guests? This could range from making restaurant reservations, to arranging for spa treatments, procuring tickets to special events, assisting with various travel arrangements, and booking tours of local attractions.  

How does the innkeeper benefit from offering concierge services like these? You may set up partnerships with local restaurants, spas, event venues, tours, and travel options.  If you receive about as many referrals as you give, this may be a win-win situation with no need for an exchange of money from any of the parties. 

However, if it is more one-sided and you are not receiving as many business referrals as you are giving, then think about requesting a referral fee when you refer business to them and giving them a referral fee when they refer business to you. That way it is more equitable.   The point is to have a fair incentive to refer business to each other.

Do you host events? People often come to bed and breakfast inns because of celebrating special occasions.  You could host private parties for a variety of occasions, including: anniversaries, baby and wedding showers, birthdays, family reunions, graduations, and so on.  The more special you make these events for your guests, the better their guest experience.  

What kind of feedback are you receiving from guests about your food?  How well do you accommodate guests with food allergies and dietary restrictions?  Do guests ask for your recipes or if your inn sells a cookbook? Even if you are not the caterer for all of the events you host, the food you provide at events you host affects their guest experience and perceptions of you as hosts.

Do you offer custom packages for your guests? These could include restaurant gift certificates, tickets to a local event, fresh flowers, desserts delivered to your room, and so on.  Are you attracting the types of guests you would like to host? One way to do that is to offer packages they would be interested in.

How do your guests sleep?  Whether they are looking for a more restful sleep or a more passionate romance, make that possible for them.  Do you have extra blankets and pillows?  Do you offer a turn-down service or romance package with rose petals and LED lights?  

How will you know if your guests have had positive experiences?  Encourage feedback by asking non-intrusive questions (questions that do not pry, but show that you care about making sure they receive the best hospitality possible).  Read the comments in your guest books and online reviews.  Take guest advice to heart.  As you see evaluations of guest experiences increase, you will experience a tremendous amount of satisfaction.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography