The trends are in: travel is bouncing back in a big way. Whether it’s international, luxury travel, nearby staycations, or business travel, hotel guests are out in full force ready to make memories at your property.
In a world where travel rates are up, it is important to stay in tune with dynamic guest demand and ultimately their satisfaction. What worked five years ago to capture guest attention and provide that wow factor won’t necessarily work today. Travelers take to the internet to decide where to book and rebook, stressing the importance of procuring positive feedback.
In this pivotal moment in hospitality, it’s imperative your team put their best foot forward and provide an exceptional experience every time. Guests want personalized attention because it shows your staff truly cares for and values them as people and not just another customer. A memorable experience—for the business and the personal traveler—featuring special, attentive, and personal touches result in the best hotel customer feedback. Read on for our top five tips to optimize the guest experience and get more 5-star reviews that will bring your property to the top of the list.
#1 An astonishing arrival
Current trends showcase a traveler who is savvy, informed, and experienced. This means they’ve seen it all, so you’ve got to stand out. Are you providing your guests a welcome amenity? It doesn’t have to be much, but it needs to be meaningful. Guests are looking for quality, dependable products that offer more than a utility for their trip. Gone are the days of unremarkable junk food that frequent travelers pass on anyway. Thinking health and safety are a top priority for many, include high-protein brain food like almonds and Clif bars and pair with disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer. Go the extra mile with a special treat like a small box from a local chocolatier and top it off with a hand-written welcome note from your staff to ensure the guest they have your full attention. High-quality, well-thought-out welcome baskets for your guests take your property from a one-off visit to rebooked again and again.
#2 Exclusive & extraordinary experiences
Finding ways to create an incredible experience on property is one thing but offering a curated experience your guests can only get near you takes things to a completely different level. Today’s savvy traveler is looking for an experience they can’t get anywhere else. If you’re near a national park, offer a guided day trip with a local tourism company for the best sights. Near the ocean? Offer half- or all-day surfing lessons with local instructors. Packed rooms during the fall season? A hayride or trip to a pumpkin patch is the perfect fall family activity. The opportunities for your guests to explore are endless when you tap into the local tourism offerings nearby. Take the hospitality up a notch and send your guests off for the day with a care package to suit their activity. It could include a combination of sunblock, insect repellant, a water bottle, and a granola bar. For their return, your front desk staff can touch base with your guests to determine how to help them recover. From aloe vera gel after a day in the sun to fresh towels in their room, this is an opportunity to empower your staff to do what they do best. Just like the unique guest experiences you have to offer, so are the ways to add special touches to ensure their comfort and ease as they embark on making new memories.
#3 Wow-worthy wellness kits
We’ve all seen them: Guests arrive, under the weather but ready to power through, for everything from a business trip to a weekend wedding. Many an item in your gift shop or pantry can be combined for curated mini-wellness kits to cover everything from the common cold to feminine hygiene.
For flu and cold season, package together throat lozenges, vitamin c, tissues, and even a microwaveable bowl of soup. When the front desk staff notices guests sniffling or asking where to find cold medicine, they can provide the guest with this wellness kit to give them a head start on recovering. You’ll even earn bonus points when that guest visits the gift shop and notices the items you’re selling were provided to them at no cost by your friendly and compassionate staff.
For guests feeling a more routine type of under the weather, a feminine hygiene kit could include Midol, tampons, pads, and maybe a small salty snack or chocolate treat. When guests inquire about feminine hygiene products at the desk, your staff can ensure they feel cared for and comforted and will be able to continue their trip without skipping a beat. To take it up a notch, have another small treat or piece of chocolate placed in their room during turndown service.
#4 Remarkable return for repeat guests – use historical data!
When reviewing the arrivals for the day, pulling a list of guests who are returning to your property gives you a chance to capitalize on a unique service opportunity. By reviewing the incoming guests’ previous stays, you can easily determine how to make this visit extra special. Did one guest have an issue on their last visit with not having enough pillows? Check in with the housekeeping team to have extra pillows delivered and set before check-in. Don’t forget to include a handwritten welcome note along with their favorite snack from the gift shop they usually purchase during their visit. Did another guest have previous issues with a nearby family of loud children? Ensure their room assignment is far from families and drop a welcome note with a set of earplugs to set them up for a restful night’s sleep. Using historical guest data is one of the most foolproof ways to drive an exceptional guest experience every time.
#5 High-touch hospitality training
The most surefire way to guarantee an exceptional guest experience is to train your staff to anticipate guest needs. Your team should be prepared to read the guests’ nonverbal communication cues and be thoroughly trained to ask the right questions. When the concierge notices a group of gals who are in town for a fun weekend preparing to leave the hotel in flip flops and finds out they’re headed for a difficult hike nearby, she could suggest a change of shoes and provide a couple of all-day adventure essentials. How about snacks, water bottles, and sunblock along with suggestions of some easy but incredibly scenic routes in the park instead?
When a young groomsman on the day of his friend’s wedding asks frantically for the nearest department store, the same desk agent can inquire about his needs and offer a lint roller, shoestrings, or even black dress socks to give him a head start. It’s all about anticipating the guests’ needs and preparing your staff to deliver the best experience both inside and outside the hotel.
It’s quite simple, really. Let your customers know they are heard. They’ll appreciate (and return) if they know you are listening and paying attention. The devil, or the angel in this case, is in the details. Attentive service doesn’t have to be expensive if you make it personal and intentional. Using these tips can ensure you get more 5-star reviews and an endless stream of repeat satisfied guests.