Excellent customer service is important for any type of hospitality business, and that definitely includes hotels. The dilemma for hotels, however, is that guest expectations are constantly changing. As expectations around customer service continue to evolve, guest satisfaction depends on hotels being able to meet and exceed those expectations.
Even if the exact guest expectations change, there are a few things that hotels can do to improve customer service no matter what happens. Here are some tips that hotel management can adopt to improve customer service at hotels.
For better customer service, the first and most important step is to have clear communication with guests. That also means using whichever channel of communication that guests are most responsive to and comfortable with.
Typically, hotels communicate with guests either in person or via email. While in-person communication may be limited until the pandemic passes, email is a common form of communication that many people are comfortable with. Hotels should continue to use email to send the most important messages to their guests, such as confirmations and noteworthy details.
While email is definitely useful for certain communications, some guests may engage with hotels more via text-messaging. In fact, text messages have a 98% open rate, according to a study by Gartner. For hotels to actually be able to serve their guests in the best manner possible, they must be able to engage with their guests, and they can easily get more feedback via guest messaging.
Every guest has different needs and expectations. To improve customer service in hotels, hotels must personalize the guest experience as much as possible. To do so, hotels can incorporate pre-arrival questionnaires, send messages about events and activities, and invite past guests for special offers that most appeal to them.
By sending out pre-arrival questionnaires, hotels can gauge what guests want during their stay, before they even step foot onto the property. Guests can request things such as extra beach towels or a bottle of wine upon arrival, and fulfilling these requests can give guests a great first impression of the hotel’s customer service.
Hotels can also inform guests about various events and activities that they offer, or they can talk about local attractions. By doing so, hotels can figure out what appeals most to certain guests, and they can use this information to invite guests back again for future events or activities that are similar to what they liked the first time they visited. For instance, if a guest really enjoyed kayaking in the area during their first trip, the hotel could invite them back for another stay with a special on kayak rentals.
While it may be difficult to gauge exactly how guests feel about their stay via the language they use to describe their experience, guest surveys offer the ability to quantify feedback. For example, hotels can send guest surveys out in the middle of the stay and have guests rate their experiences on a scale of 1-5. If anyone rates their experience as less than a perfect 5, then hotels can clearly pinpoint and address the issues before guests check out.
Another benefit to this is to maintain a positive online hotel reputation, as solving issues prior to guests leaving improves guest satisfaction, and happy guests can leave positive reviews online.
When guests make requests or complaints during their stay, it’s always best practice to address them as quickly and efficiently as possible. The faster the service is, the more satisfied guests will be. Therefore, saving time on hotel operations is of the utmost importance.
Through automated messaging systems, hotels can save time on their operations and focus on creating the best experiences for their guests. With these systems, hotel staff can save time by using automated replies, so they don’t have to constantly answer frequently asked questions, such as “what is the WiFi password?”. Scheduled messages can also be set up to regularly check up on guests throughout their stay, so staff members don’t need to remember to do so every time. Automated systems can also keep track of whether guest requests or issues were addressed yet, and they can send notifications to hotel staff so they don’t forget about it.
While not every hotel can install smart rooms or utilize big data, most hotels can implement these tips to exceed guest expectations and improve customer service. Customer service is personal to each guest, so hotels must treat it that way. Even if all else stays the same at a hotel, communication, personalization, and efficiency can enable exceptional customer service.