October 19, 2020
By Brian Chee

Hospitality isn’t "business as usual" quite yet, and due to lockdowns and travel restrictions, it’ll take a while for the industry to get back on its feet. That’s why it’s crucial for hotels to impress hotel guests in every way possible to make their stay a memorable one – and certainly, one they're willing to shout about.

Whether it's a planner on a site visit, an event guest, a leisure guest or a corporate traveller, you need to give each and every guest an impeccable experience. From pre-stay to post, the way you communicate can mean the difference between a poor, average and great stay.

Explore 7 ways to impress hotel guests and earn more business:

1. A great online presence goes a long way.

First impressions really do matter. The first step to making a stay at your hotel, whether it be for leisure or business, is creating an attractive, effective online presence. You can do this in a number of ways:  

  • Improve online reviews: Whether it’s Google, TripAdvsior or Facebook, take the time to respond to reviews. Encourage them post-stay and of course, maintain a fantastic guest experience 

  • Have an active social media presence: Your hotel is a living, breathing thing – so show it! Travellers want to know what’s so great about your hotel, and your social media channels are where they can get a sense of what their stay will be like. 

  • Optimise OTAs and channels: Whether it's for leisure, MICE or corporate travel, keeping your online travel agency and sourcing profiles up-to-date and detailed is one of the best ways to impress hotel guests before they even book with you.

  • Make your website dynamic: Even though the search journey may not begin on your website, it may just make or break their decision to visit or hold an event there. Prioritise SEO, post blogs regularly, and ensure a smooth end-to-end user experience.  

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2. Impress hotel guest before their arrival.

Someone has booked a stay at your hotel. Now is your chance to show that your customer service is exceptional. That means ensuring all pre-stay communication is thorough and allows you to get to know the nature of their stay.  

  • Know your guests: You need to get to know your guests. What is the purpose of their visit? Are they planning a business or leisure visit? To create an exemplary experience, show guests that you care about them down to every last detail.  

  • Offer vouchers: Once you know the nature of their visit, offer museum or sightseeing vouchers.  

  • Pre-arrival emails: Develop rapport with guests before they even step into your hotel. Ensure they have all the information for a smooth journey to the hotel to minimise stress.  

3. Give guests a welcome to remember.

Impressing your guests on arrival is important. It puts them in a great mood, improves the overall experience and prevents them from wishing they’d booked somewhere else. Travelling and finding the hotel can be a stressful experience, so it’s your job to melt all that stress away.  

How can hotels properly welcome guests on arrival?

  • Free upgrades: Who doesn’t like a freebie? If you’ve got spare rooms, why not put them to use? Offering better rooms for free can bolster a guest experience, taking it above and beyond what they might have expected. 

  • Accommodate early check-in: If a guest lets you know they will arrive early, try to ensure early check-in is available to avoid having them to wait around in the lobby.   

  • Pick-up and shuttle services: If a guest hasn’t requested a pick-up service, ask them if it's something they'd be interested in.

  • Self-check-in: If you have self-check-in facilities, offering this will give guests a quicker check-in experience, and ease face-to-face contact.

  • Embrace special occasions: It’s the holidays and the festive spirit is in the air. Guests will be delighted to arrive and experience a warm and festive atmosphere. Offer free mulled wine, for example.  

  • Help with the kids: Making your guests’ lives easier is what it’s all about, and no one will be more thankful than parents. Offer kids a complimentary snack or fun activities during their stay.  

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4. Train your staff to provide guests a first-class stay.

Your staff play a big role in the overall guest experience and for some, it can make or break an experience. Have you ever been to a shop, restaurant or hotel where a member of staff was grumpy, rude or downright unhelpful? To really impress hotel guests, you need to ensure your staff provide guests with an unmatchable experience. Here's how:

  • Encourage staff to go above and beyond: Showing guests you care is the epicentre of great customer service. So if 7-year-old Lucy loses her teddy bear, staff should be on the hunt! Put someone on the case and scour the hotel for Mr. Cuddles. Lucy will be overjoyed to see her teddy bear and her parents, we're sure, will thank you profusely.

  • Hold regular training sessions in the latest customer care trends: Customer wants and needs are always changing. Giving staff regular training sessions will ensure that the whole staff-force is up-to-date on trends. It also gives you the chance to address any areas for improvement.

  • Introduce an employee of the month programme: Incentivising high standards is a go-to for many organisations, and for hotels, it may give staff extra motivation to provide the best customer care possible.

  • Train guests in COVID-19 protocols and standards: Safety is the way forward right now and hotels must show guests at all times that their health takes priority. Sanitisation and social distancing are essential, but also get creative. When hosting events, look at your space from a new perspective and re-organise to accommodate spacing

5. Use chatbots to wow your guests.

The importance of hotel digital transformation has accelerated at an incredible rate. It's no longer good-to-have, but essential. But what if there was a way for technology to aide in the fight against COVID-19 and also improve customer service?

Well, there's one technology tool that does just that: Hotel chatbots. According to Entrepreneur, chatbots, when used correctly, can control and enhance all parts of your hotel's business, including increasing revenue, improving staff efficiency, saving time on customer queries, ordering room service, event reminders and generating reviews.

Here are four key ways to use chatbots to impress hotel guests:

  • Reduce no-shows and increase occupancy: How do you combat the low email open rates hotel experience? Send a confirmation text straight to your guests' Facebook Messenger app. With the opening rate at 90%, it's a great way to ensure guests see them.
  • Contactless customer support: Chatbots can be used to give guests a quicker way to contact you before and during their stay, from room issues, queries, room service, etc.
  • Generate reviews and boost ranking: Use chatbots to ask guests for reviews.
  • Leverage QR Codes: Use QR codes to bring up menus, room service, bookings and even to direct them to a chatbot for more information!

6. Wow guests with hotel amenities.

Guests travel for different reasons. But one thing is for sure: Hotel amenities can make a huge difference to the overall experience. A great way to impress hotel guests, then, is to have amenities that will be sure to delight. With that said, here are a few key ways you can wow guests:

  • Personalised welcome gifts: It's simple, but incredibly easy. Use your knowledge of your guests to create personalised welcome gift baskets. During the booking process, you'll likely find out the reason they are travelling (for business, leisure, etc.), and you'll know if they are travelling with children, pets or a partner.

  • Snack baskets with local flavour: Baskets filled with drinks and snacks from local establishments not only gives your hotel a unique draw, but it's also a great way to plug your local small businesses. 

  • Co-working spaces or in-room offices: It's likely that business travellers, event attendees or planners will need to get some work done during their stay. Offering open and welcoming co-working spaces will make your hotel a pleasure to work within.  

  • In-room games: For families or those who are young at heart, providing in-room boardgames or video games are a great way to keep guests entertained.

7. Post-stay communication is critical.

Staying in contact with guests after they leave is a sure-fire way to show them you care about their experience, and could increase your chances of a repeat booking. Timing this communication correctly will be key in maintaining a fantastic post-stay experience.  

  • Get in contact quickly: Be in contact within three days of the guest’s departure to let them know how much you appreciated their stay.  

  • Ask for a review: Don’t forget to ask guests to leave a review or a post on social media (provide a hashtag or ask them to tag you).  

  • Address complaints swiftly and professionally: Do everything you can to address the situation and work towards a positive outcome.  

  • Offer something: Whether it be a discount for a future stay or something else, promotions will keep your hotel in the back of the traveller’s mind.  

  • Target your offers: If the guest subscribed to your mailing list, send them offers tailored to them. Are they corporate business or leisure travellers, for instance?  

Do more to impress hotel guests!

Don't stop at what's expected. Go above and beyond.

Up next, check out our list of hotel amenity ideas to wow your guests even further.

How can we help?

Brian Chee

I started out as a beat reporter in Los Angeles, writing about crime, struggling teachers and students scrambling to build a better life. It was a deeply formative experience and one that set me on this strange and wonderful writer's journey. From newspapers to automotive journalism and Martech B2B, I suppose I have spent my career chasing, and telling, the stories I think are most interesting and relevant.  

Over the years I’ve learned that content comes down to a fusion of creativity, science, and craft. And that as a writer, it's up to me to apply that approach and create strong and descriptive storytelling that provides value to the reader. To be interesting, easy to read, and to make a difference in the work I do. That's what matters most.

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