This blog is part 3 of a 5 part Covid-19 recovery series which provides detailed recommendations on what hoteliers can do to recover from this crisis.
This series covers the entire guest journey.
Hotels should focus more on how to deliver an exceptional high-touch guest experience to their guests.
Guests want to be surprised and delighted with unique experiences. Millennials want this 71% more than other generations. They are not looking for a ‘decent’ experience. They are looking for an ‘extraordinary’ experience.
Understanding the guests’ needs and aligning services accordingly has become a game-changer in this business.
According to a study by FuelTravel, more than 65% of the guests planning a vacation in the near future want to hear about the deals and packages from the hotels.
Hotels have become more thoughtful about how people and technology can weave together to provide explicit and authentic hospitality to guests.
The hospitality industry has witnessed constant innovation and technological advancements. New-age technologies like concierge services have come in place. One such technology that you must focus on in your COVID-19 recovery is contactless check-in/out.
Redefining the check-in/ check-out process
As hotels are trying to figure out ways to deal with the pandemic, they are switching to the new contactless check-in and check-out technology. This eliminates the human touch from the entire course of guest stay at the hotel. Guests can perform all the check-in related activities from their mobile phones without having to interact face to face with any hotel staff.
It is a hassle-free process, guests can do it anytime when they are free. It ensures a safe and healthy stay of the guests. It helps not only in reducing check-in time but it will also help get positive reviews from the guests because of the improved check-in experience.
Why it is important for hotels to redefine guest experience during the COVID-19 recovery phase?
Online reviews have a strong influence on hotel bookings. Reviews give real insights on the operations and encourage future guests to book your hotel.
Positive reviews help in building the brand whereas one bad experience on the first page can lead 25% of your guests to choose your competitors.
During the COVID-19 recovery phase, it is crucial for hotels to have positive online reviews talking about the preventive measures the hotel has adopted to beat the pandemic and to ensure safe stay of the guest.
Industry has already entered into this wave of personalization. Hotels are learning to adapt to this faster.
Guests like to have unique experiences. Designing attractive deals and vouchers based on guest persona leads to more upsells and generates additional revenue for the hotel.
Loyalty and repeat bookings
Most of the hotels get their major chunk of business from repeat bookings. Only a happy guest will come back to the hotel. Repeat and loyal guests spend more money as they are already equipped with hotel’s operations and service standards. Loyal guests often stay longer also. Cost of acquiring a repeat customer is considerably lower compared to a new one.
More advocates for your brand
Word of mouth is the best publicity a hotel can have. A satisfied guest will definitely recommend your hotel to friends and family. Such recommendations have a very high conversion rate and help bring more guests.
Here is how you can design a perfect guest experience
1. Contactless check-in/ check-out
This industry has been rapidly moving towards technological innovations even before pandemic. Adopting tech solutions has now become a need for hotels. Hotels should have contactless check-in/ checkout capabilities to prevent human interaction. It also saves time for both guests and staff. They should make use of industry specific apps to enable this functionality. Contactless check-in/check-out enables guests to pre-check in and upload their identity proofs with their mobile phones. Hotels can collect guest preferences such as cuisine, food allergies or any other special requests. They can collect booking deposits and payment from guests. They can collect health declaration and history from the guests 6 to 12 hours prior to arrival.
2. Offer lucrative packages to guests
· Send customized emails for relevant offers and upgrades. Guests like to spend money only on packages that excite them personally. Hotels can offer personalized packages to both leisure and business travelers considering their interests and comfort.
· Club hotel amenities to enrich your packages- Guests are always looking forward to avail combined packages because they seem more valuable. Dinner buffet with champagne or guest stay combined with a city tour can be offered This way hotels will be able to cater guests of different interests.
It also increases the horizon of activities hotels can offer to the guests.
3. New hygiene measures
Hotel policies should be aligned with the safety regulations issued by the government.
Hotels should focus on the following key points during COVID-19 recovery phase:
· Review the layout of public spaces to ensure appropriate social distancing
· They should regularly sanitize high touchpoints of all the rooms where guests might touch.
· Keep an accurate record to enable contact tracing
4. Allow opting out housekeeping
Many guests won’t like anyone entering their rooms during their stay. They are more concerned about their safety. They would like to have space by themselves. Hotels should allow them to opt-out of housekeeping services as per their convenience.
5. Promote In-room entertainment
Hotels can enrich the guest experience by providing facilities like streaming their own Netflix account, watch their favorite shows, play in-door games like chess or cards
6. Analytics to see which upsell works the best
Analytics and reporting can help hotels understand which packages are working best for guests. Based on the analysis, they can further customize their offerings and also show the most selling packages on top to increase revenue. Analytics can also let you know what segment of customers is buying what and which source of booking spends the most.
7. Mobile concierge for all activities
Offering a single platform for guest communication and information can be great ease for guests during your COVID-19 recovery phase.
With the help of mobile concierge, guests can raise requests and complaints anytime and expect a quick recovery. They can avail all the deals displayed by the hotel. They can look for things to do nearby. They can find directions to the property and hotel map also.
Certain solution providers provide app-based Mobile concierge and others provide a web-based application. However, more than 75% of guests prefer a web based app.
How to ensure your guests are having their best time
Quick response to requests
Listen to the requests or complaints of the guests actively. It ensures the clear communication of the message. Be open to any kind of suggestions. Act quickly if there is any kind of complaint or request. Remember to follow up on the department staff to check if the complaint has been resolved. Train your staff to act appropriately and manage the situation in case of any escalation.
Or you can use an automated request and complaint management system that automates the entire assignment, escalation, and reporting.
Collect in-stay feedback
This industry revolves around the guests. Collecting feedback during their stay can be very helpful in ensuring a smooth stay.
Let’s say the guest has to stay for four days. It would be good to collect feedback after 2 days of the stay and make amendments in the services based on complaints or suggestions from the guests. Hotel staff would also not be surprised by the feedback received during check-out as they would know it in advance. Collecting feedback in the middle of the stay gives the advantage to hotels to resolve the issues, if there are any, and convert them to positive reviews.
A well-planned strategy to enhance the guest experience at all stages of the guest journey can do wonders for the hotels, you may also read Part 2 of this series How to design a perfect guest experience in the pre-arrival phase.
Best Guest Experience = More Reviews
Find out more about how to design a perfect guest experience