3 Ways To Make Guests Fall In Love With Your Hotel
The business of hospitality is all about taking care of people. Whether it’s your guests, co-workers, vendors, or those just passing through, people working in the hospitality industry have a natural talent for making others feel welcome, regardless of whether it’s for a brief moment or an extended stay.

For independent and small hoteliers, providing a memorable and positive guest experience is especially important. Compared to larger hotel chains, small hotels are uniquely positioned to provide personalized experiences that cater to the particular needs of each guest. That means that nurturing and developing your team members’ customer service skills can create tremendous value for your property and help set you apart from your competition (large or small).

There are so many guest satisfaction ideas small hotel owners can explore to improve guest satisfaction that it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what will work for your small hotel, so how do you know where to start?

In this post, we’ll explore three key hotel guest satisfaction ideas any small hotel owner can use as inspiration to invest in your team members’ talent, show some extra love to your guests, and generate strong returns for your hotel, including:

  1. Improving your booking experience
  2. Making the most of every guest interaction during their stay
  3. Anticipating guests’ needs

Let’s get started.

1. Improving Your Booking Experience

Your booking experience is your guests’ first interaction with your hotel. A positive booking experience sets the tone for their stay, so it’s important to make a strong first impression at this critical touchpoint.

There are a few ways small hotels can create a positive booking experience:

Providing a mobile-optimized website

In 2023, it’s hardly news that people are booking hotel stays on their mobile devices more than ever. So if your small hotel doesn’t have a website—or you haven’t updated it in years—it’s time to dust it off so your independent hotel doesn’t get left behind. While large hotel chains have the IT infrastructure to create and maintain a mobile-friendly website with an easy booking engine, smaller hotels may not have the technical expertise to create or maintain a website, let alone develop a seamless and user-friendly booking engine. We totally get it—not everyone is a web designer!

If this sounds familiar, don’t be afraid to reach out to a pro to help you out. Some small hotel property management system (PMS) providers, including innRoad, even offer website development services to ensure your website is seamlessly integrated with your booking engine.

Use a high-converting booking engine

A high converting booking engine should include an availability calendar, rate checker, and user-friendly design that blends in seamlessly with the rest of your website. With a seamlessly integrated booking engine, your guests can book their stay right on your website knowing they’re getting the best rate. That means you can avoid abandonment to OTAs—and their high commissions and fees.

With innRoad’s online booking engine, guests can even select upsells or add-ons during booking, such as early check-in, bottles of champagne on arrival, and other on-brand touches customized to your property.

Hotel channel management tools

With a channel manager, you can directly connect your property to all the major OTAs so guests can easily find your hotel wherever they prefer to book. You can even automatically sync rates and availability information across every booking channel in real-time to ensure guests can always see the most up-to-date information—and help you avoid overbookings.

2. Making the Most of Every Guest Interaction During Their Stay

After booking, check-in and check-out are the most critical team member-guest interactions. There are a number of hotel guest satisfaction ideas you can consider to improve the check-in process so you can start your guests’ stays off on the right foot:

  • With a small hotel PMS, you can set up online and pre-check-in features that allow guests to skip the front desk, get to their rooms, and start their vacation as soon as possible
  • Offer early check-in options during the booking process so guests can select early check-in if they need it without needing to make a special request
  • Touch base with your guests before they arrive to ensure a seamless check-in process—share important pre-arrival info, collect key guest information, and offer advice for what to see and do or where to eat in your area
  • For bonus points, offering check-in perks like a free drink or a snack can help start things off right

Check-in and checkout may be critical guest touchpoints, but collectively every interaction that occurs between arrival and departure can have an impact on the guest experience. This is why it’s important to train all team members, from your front desk staff to the maintenance team, on the best ways to engage with guests.

In most cases, making eye contact, providing a smile and/or saying “hello” is all that team members need to do to engage with guests. However, in the cases where guests need assistance, all team members should be trained on how to handle basic requests or, at the very least, direct guests to another team member who’s better suited to help. The faster your team members can help guests get back to enjoying their stay, the more memorable their experience will be.

INNROAD TIP: If you want your guests to feel extra special at your hotel, encourage your team members to strike up conversations with guests whenever time permits (and your guests seem in a position to chat). Simply asking guests where they’re from, why they’re in town, or about their vacation will allow your team to give them a more personalized experience.

3. Anticipating Guests’ Needs

Anticipating your guests’ needs is a hallmark of top-notch hospitality for small and independent hotels. And while there is no substitute for years of experience, even new team members can learn how to read situations and make the guest experience as seamless as possible.

For example, guests checking in between 5-7 pm will likely want to find a place to eat soon after dropping off their bags. Rather than having them come back to the front desk to ask for dining recommendations, front desk team members can ask guests during check-in if they’ll be dining locally and then suggest restaurants based on their preferences. Another example—if you know your guests have had a long journey, you could offer refreshments upon arrival

Small gestures like these not only help create a seamless guest experience, but they can also help team members work more efficiently by actively handling potential guest requests before they occur.

Here are a few other hotel guest satisfaction ideas for going above and beyond:

  • Handwritten or printed personalized welcome notes in each room. They don’t have to be long—something simply like “Dear Jones Family, We hope you have a wonderful time in Savannah!” will go a long way to creating a good impression.
  • Providing coupons and local recommendations for guests to use during their stay.
  • Have the owner or manager personally greet top guests or offer property tours.
  • Introduce guests to your team—this will help your team recognize your guests during their stay and allow them to feel more at home. If your team is busy (and we know they are), this can be through a flier in guest rooms or simply an introduction to the staff in charge of checking guests in.

Managing all of these tasks—not to mention your employees and your own never-ending workload—isn’t easy. To help keep you on track and ensure you provide a top-notch guest experience, look for a hotel PMS that includes task management features. With task management tools, you can more easily oversee key operations like housekeeping and maintenance so you can focus on what matters most—your guest and their experience.

How A Hotel Property Management System (PMS) for Small Hotels Can Help Improve Guest Satisfaction

From check-in, check-out, booking their room, and utilizing amenities, everything needs to be planned with guests in mind. If you’re searching for a property management software for your small hotel, look for a PMS that includes features that will help you offer the best possible guest experience.

We know what you’re thinking…“they won’t be using the software, why does it matter what software we use?” The truth is, although your guests might not see how your software works, how the software functions, how fast the booking engine is, where they can find your hotel online, and how the check in process works can all have a significant impact on the guest experience.

Here are a few key features to look for in a hotel management software system:

Checking Out

Independent and small hoteliers can stand out from their larger competition by providing a memorable and personalized guest experience. There are an infinite number of hotel guest satisfaction ideas you can employ to improve your guests’ stays, but there are three key principles small hotels should prioritize before making any plans:

  1. Improving your booking experience
  2. Making the most of every guest interaction during their stay
  3. Anticipating guests’ needs

A hotel PMS designed for small hotels can help you improve your guest interactions, from providing an easy booking experience or early check-in to managing your staff and simplifying your operations so you can focus on providing a world-class guest experience.

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