As an independent hotel, your guest’s happiness matters much more than your counterparts at large chain hotels. That’s because large chain hotels have droves of clients that stay at their locations across the globe. You probably have either one or a few locations that you have to manage with a small staff, and that’s hard to do.
The problem for independent hoteliers is that with the internet it’s easy for guests to leave feedback anywhere at any time. And that feedback matters to prospective guests that are thinking about booking a night at your hotel.
Here are some things you can do to improve guest happiness and get better online reviews:
- Test the guest experience
- Train staff on what a great guest experience looks & feels like
- Ask guests when they check in “what would make your stay exceptional?”
- Ask when they leave if they had an “exceptional stay”
- Get guests to leave online reviews in various channels.
Test the guest experience
Have an acquaintance, honest friend or family member stay at your hotel. Ask them to give you an honest review of everything from reservation creation to the final goodbye. Use that feedback to prioritize any changes or projects you had on your long list of “Things to do.”
Train staff on a great guest experience
Use the same feedback to walk your employees through what a great guest experience should feel like. I emphasize the word “feel” here because, you are in the business of creating an experience. People use all of their senses when they are experiencing something. Your employees need to be aware of that and be able to create a great guest experience during every interaction with your staff.
I spent a summer working at a well known car rental company, and they are well known for doing marketing survey calls to previous customers, and using that feedback to rate and bonus their branches – It’s why they have such great customer service. We used to have to ask every customer that left our location, “if someone asked you to rate your experience, what else could we have done to make your experience a 10?”
In the case of your guests, why not ask that question right up front? It’s a great way to personalize their stay and set a clear message that you value their business. This clear expectation setting is not only a great way to engage guests and inform staff about any needs during their stay, but it’s also a way to mitigate any potential issues before they happen.
And just as we did at the major car rental company, always ask the question on the way out the door, “If someone asked you to rank your stay on a scale of 1-10, what else could we have done to make it a 10?” Document and use that extremely valuable first-hand feedback to improve the experience for all of your future guests.
If you get a great review from a guest on their way out the door, ask them then and there to complete an online review, or invite them via a post-stay email to leave a testimonial. If they booked through a specific OTA, often the OTA will ask for feedback post stay, but it’s not a bad idea to ask for it yourself. That way you can use that quote on your own website, social channels, or any other in-house marketing activities.
Use these 5 tactics on a regular basis to improve your guest happiness and as a result, improve occupancy rates over time.