Customer service really is king in the hospitality industry. Guests rely on you and your staff to make their stay as comfortable as possible, so you need to go out of your way to make the experience memorable (and in a good way).
In an industry that’s notorious for the sheer number of reviews its customers leave, it’s imperative that hoteliers don’t just to meet customer expectations, but blow them away.
The customer’s experience beings at your website. If your hotel’s website is outdated, looks unprofessional, or takes them a millennia to navigate, then it’s not a good sign for things to come. If you want to impress your guests, start here.
Use a clean design that showcases the most stunning shots of your hotel, the rooms, and the surrounding location.
Include a full list of your facilities. Are you handicapped accessible? Do you have hairdryers in all your rooms? A children’s play area? Then say so! It’s frustrating for guests to have to phone or email to find this information, and even more so to turn up expecting something only for it not to be there.
Make it easy to navigate by having clear calls to action, such as a “Book Now” button that’s always visible. If you install an online calendar that shows dates that are unavailable and allows them to book by selecting which days they’d like to stay, then great!
The trick is to make their journey through your website as smooth as possible with no obstacles getting in their way of booking.
Customer satisfaction isn’t just about a friendly greeting upon arrival. Really knowing and understanding the customer base is what great customer service is all about.
Every customer will have different needs and expectations — for example, a customer booking a stay at a seaside resort will have different expectations to one staying in a city hotel.
When you learn to identify the needs of the customer and deliver consistently and effectively on those needs, you start to excel at customer service and improve customer loyalty.
Great hotel managers and their employees understand this and ensure they provide the services expected, and even throw in some extras the customer might not have thought about. The beachside hotel aimed at families might offer poolside games or a kid’s club, while the city hotel that caters primarily to corporate guests might provide super fast Wi-Fi and bookable events/presentation rooms.
Be sure to ask your guests on arrival if there’s anything you can do to make their stay more comfortable, and try your best to accommodate these needs. Remember: you should strive to exceed their expectations, not just meet them!
A well-trained staff will put an emphasis on working together to benefit the customer. When a hotel is running smoothly and efficiently, this results in greater customer satisfaction.
Just like any other industry, product knowledge is a must. Your team need to be confident in their own knowledge and abilities so they can build trust with your guests. Keep your staff up to date on what’s happening in their own departments as well as other ones, especially if things change on a weekly or daily basis.
Be open with your staff about any problems that could impact the guest’s experience, such as problems with the website, traffic congestion, potential disruptions to major functions, staff shortages etc. While these situations may be unavoidable, if your team are prepared, they’re in a better position to deal with and empathise with any guests’ concerns or complaints as they arise.
A hotel that has staff who can manage complaint is good, but one that avoids complaints in the first place great.
No matter how efficiently you run your hotel, you’ll always come across a handful of customers who’ll complain regardless. Look at these complaints as opportunities to learn why customers are disappointed and where you can improve to achieve better customer satisfaction.
Ask your customers to fill out a quick feedback form, complete a short survey about how much they enjoyed their stay and if the service was up to scratch, or simply ask them in person when they check out. Send guests a follow up email encouraging them to write a review. This will let you know what you’re doing well at and where you can improve.
Check your review sites regularly to keep up to date with customer opinions, and make sure you respond to any negative feedback to try and resolve their issues.
To encourage all staff to do their absolute best, pay attention to and reward those who go the extra mile to exceed the customer’s service expectations. Listen to guests’ feedback and pass it on to your staff: this helps them understand what customers appreciate and value, and identify where they may be falling short.
Share any successes and positive results so everyone can see the impact their efforts have. Publically reward staff members who’ve excelled at their job — this doesn’t need to be something extravagant, even simply acknowledging their efforts can make staff feel appreciated and incentivise others to do better.
Remember: each customer is different, so it’s important to communicate with them before their stay so you can ensure you meet their individual needs and make their visit as pleasant and hassle free as possible.
Keep your staff well trained and motivated, and listen to feedback: your guests should leave feeling happy, relaxed, and ready to leave a glowing review.