When we are trying to buy a product but get doubts about which brand of the product to buy, the first thing that we do is check reviews. The thing about online is that when it comes to reputation, people can trust strangers as much as friends. One or two bad reviews and it lead us to skip that product. Yes, that’s how dominating the customer review for a product or service is in the market. It is not any different in the hotel industry. With changing times, comes change in preferences and demand of travelers. Online reputation is one of the major factors that help provide constant revenue for a hotel.
According to TripAdvisor, even before the pandemic, four out of five people said TripAdvisor makes them feel more confident in their booking decisions. Online reviews are social proof that hotels can not afford to ignore. More so, after a post-pandemic world where safety and protection are paramount to potential guests. How would they know your property would be safe for them? By having a higher star rating over your competitors and offer prompt responses to guest reviews, you can prove travellers your sincerity to provide guests the best possible experience.
Why is positive customer feedback important?
Positive Review helps in Brand Building
When guest are satisfied with their stay at a place, they give positive reviews which spread through the internet or by word of mouth. Guests trust the experience of guests. According to Expedia, close to 3 out of 4 times, a customer will place guest ratings higher than a hotel. What’s more, they would happily to pay a bit higher for positive guest reviews. Participants in the Expedia study said they’d rather pay 24% more for a hotel that’s rated 3.9 versus 2.4 and 35% more for a hotel with a 4.4 rating than one with a 3.9 rating.
Positive Reviews Communicate Quality
Happy guests are likely to spread their happiness by leaving positive words. These positive testimonials often give a positive impression of quality. Travelers travelling for fun would not compromise on quality and good quality service is something they look for when booking a hotel.
Bad Review make Customers chose Competitors
One bad review does not mean just loss of reputation but also loss of guests, and in turn, revenue. With a bad review, potential guests trust the hotel less and tend to choose the next best hotel. Questionable credibility and bad reputation is often hard to fix and rebuild.
Positive Review gives Higher Search Engine Rank
Positive reviews imply how well a hotel knows their customers and can fulfill their demands. Search Engines always recommends the best for their guests. Having positive reviews will make your hotel rank higher in the search engines. Prioritizing and promoting positive reviews establish customer loyalty and helps increase guest retention.
How to improve guest experience?
Hotel experience doesn’t exist just during the time they are staying in the hotel but it starts even before guest bookings. They might not be tech-savvy and need help with booking. They might not be aware of extra-charges. They might have special demands like provision for aged guests. There should be deals that excite and interest guests rather than just merely telling them that you offer great deal and services. Being creative and adding value to your property plays vital role in satisfying guests.
1. User- Friendly and Attractive Website
Your hotel’s website is the face of your hotel. Even before guest book a room in it, they visit your website for minute details. Your website must be an example of how it feels to be staying in your hotel. Including high-quality texts and images portraying the best features that make your hotel different from the others could be a good beginning.
The website need not have too many pages, but it important to tell your guests everything about your hotel; the spa that you have, the gym that you have, the massive banquet hall and the special offers for the month that you have. Every minute detail should be on the website. But what if, your guest wants to reserve a table at the fine dining restaurant that you have at the 2nd floor of your hotel? Here, it is very important to provide easy access to reservations be it in the spa, the dining table or most importantly the room. Being user-friendly not only help guests give positive reviews but it leads to direct bookings.
Talking about direct bookings, it is also very important for your website to be linked effectively with a convenient booking engine to help guests make their bookings smoothly. Guests can experience impressionable hospitality, when directly booking through a website which gives more exposure to your hotel.
2. Make Guests Feel Special with Services
Once the guests are done booking from your website, a warm welcome along with a booking confirmation gives them the confidence of good spending. Attaching hotel location on Google map links, highlighting the services and amenities they could avail during their stay in a nicely designed email could do the work effectively. Thanking them for choosing your property, other upsell packages, sending them personalized messages about ongoing deals that they can avail during their stay, and sending them welcoming messages a day before their arrival are other ways to build a relation with the guests.
Say the check-in time is at 12 noon but the guest lands at 8 in the morning and asks for early check-in. Should you deny? No. This is a great opportunity to show your guests that you care for them. Early check-in can be a great opportunity to create impression with your guests rather just making them wait in the lobby until the check-in time. What if no rooms are available until check-in time? Offer them a relaxing room or lounge, along with a TV, or if possible a good view for them, spends their time. Making your guests comfort your priority will definitely leave an impression.
Simple gestures like greeting them personally on arrival or checking if they are comfortable during their stay go a long way in making your guests feel special.
3. Neat and Clean along with Hygiene
Imagine walking into a hotel you spend your hard earned money on, and finding the paint is falling off the walls, there’s spider web on the ceiling corner and the sofa in the waiting room is coffee stained. Would you continue your stay there, forget about giving a positive review? Guests love to see neat and well-maintained rooms. The most complaints that come to front desk are about cleanliness. Hence, it is very important to focus on cleanliness and maintenance of your property.
Keeping fresh clean linens and towels, discarding stained linens, sweeping and mopping rooms everyday should be the basic maintenance in all hotels. Apart from this, make sure all electronic appliances are working properly and there are no loose wires. The water in the bathroom should be clean and there should be no leakages from any pipes. Provision for both hot as well as cold water should be there in every room. Waste bins should be emptied after every check-out.
Apart from cleanliness, guests are cautious of hygiene. Extra care should be taken on cleaning shared spaces like the gym, swimming pool, restaurants, lounge and bars. High touch areas requires intensified cleaning and especially during the pandemic times. Providing enough sanitization and avoiding over-crowding in shared spaces especially, has become crucial in the recent times. Dishes and spoons, if reusable, should be thoroughly washed for better hygiene.
5. Other Amenities and Services
After a long journey, your guest walks into your hotel and has to wait in queue to check-in.
If you were a guest, would you like it? No. Offering online check-in and check-out not only saves time for your guests but it also makes the process easier for hoteliers. Plus, it offers safety in the age of pandemic. If the guest requires any extra service, he does not have to walk-up to the front desk but instead can do it online from the comfort of his room. By automating communication between guest and front desk, you level-up guest experience and avoid forming queues at the lobby.
Giving proper training to your hotel staff, including greeting guests and addressing guest also accounts in guest experience. Extra effort to provide personalized services pays off in positive guest experience. Training your staff to be attentive and polite in all circumstances can help guests be more open about their demands helping you to serve them better.
Who does not like free stuffs? Offering complimentary drinks and other complimentary services along with the stay package is an easy way to earn those extra positive comments.
Your Hotel is your Guests’ Hotel
The best thing that can help you know what is going to serve your guests better is by placing yourself in their shoes. If you were a guest, what would you be expecting from a hotel? Asking yourself how would you like to be treated, gives you the best answer as to what you can do better. Just in case, you do not know what more to do to make your customers happy, or you are in doubt as in what more could you do to make your customers happy then refer to their reviews. Reach out to your customers asking them what better you could do and if they like your hotel and services. Remember, while freebies make your guests happy, it’s the service that will stay with you.
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