Industry Update
Supplier News 9 April 2018

Do you know the factors that affect guest experience?

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1 min
Nexon Group

Customer experience is one of the most important factors affecting positive customer behaviour such as loyalty and personal recommendation. In the hospitality industry, customer satisfaction can provide hotels with major competitive advantages, which can directly lead to increase in profitability and growth. Hotel managers should consequently have a clear perception of the factors that provide positive guest experiences.

The Importance of Cleanliness

When it comes to guest satisfaction cleanliness matters. Studies have shown that among all problems experienced by guests, unclean rooms have the greatest negative impact on satisfaction. A recent study by hotel booking site, found that more than 60% of hotel guests read reviews on Yelp, TripAdvisor, AAA and elsewhere before booking rooms, and 71% of guests expect "above average" cleanliness ratings when choosing hotels.

A clean hotel room creates a great first impression. The cleanliness of guest rooms, bathrooms, towels, linens and common areas all play an important role in customer experience. To ensure each area and items are properly cleaned, create a checklist and tasks in order of their logical priority taking into account the layout, room size and items.

Prioritize cleaning rooms of guests who are checking out to ensure clean rooms are ready for incoming guests. Housekeeping staff should be provided with an up-to-date list of scheduled checkouts, including late checkouts each morning to guide workflow.

Excellent Customer Service

Excellent customer service is vitally important, especially in this social media era where everyone acts as a publisher, there is additional marketing value to being remarkable.

Customers' generally come into hotels with certain pre-set ideas of how they should be treated. Most of the time, guests expect staff members to be helpful and friendly, as well as be knowledgeable about the area and attractions close by.

Service is essentially the first point of contact between the guest and the representative of the hotel. Therefore is it the first opportunity for staff to create a great first impression as well as a great lasting impression. Remember that it costs significantly more to attract new customers than it does to take care of the ones you already have.

Hyatt's Andaz for example, replaces the traditional front desk reception concept by having hosts circulate the lobby to meet guests as they walk in. Guests are invited to sit down and are offered a complimentary glass of wine or a cup of coffee. The host then completes the check-in on a tablet computer. Andaz is about giving great service in a relaxed way.

Good service starts with your attitude and employee training. It is the responsibility of every member of the team to learn customer service skills that go above and beyond a guest's expectations. From interacting with the restaurant, housekeeping or checking out at the front desk, the aim is to deliver a consistent experience to all of your guest. Having a standardized way of interacting with guests will set consistency and help make expectations clear. However, consistency does not mean that every guest should get the same service. True service excellence requires personalisation and making each customer feel as though there is no one else.

Focus on Relevant Amenities

Focus on amenities that are meaningful to guest. A survey by J.D. Power discovered that, along with breakfast and parking, free Wi-Fi is one of the most essential amenities for travellers. Survey research from Hotels.com shows free Wi-Fi is a top factor when travellers are deciding where to stay, and 60% of the survey respondents say that complementary Wi-Fi is a tech amenity they would like to see become the new standard. If guests show up to your property and find out they have to pay for WiFi, they're already disappointed. Consider ditching features that aren't meaningful to most guests anymore—like valet parking.

However, you need to bear in mind that different groups of demographics will want different things. For example, the needs of business travellers will obviously differ from those of the casual backpacker or younger couple. Each will often have an entirely new set of expectations when checking in to a hotel.

To refine what amenities are relevant to each group. Hotels must recognise these needs and fine-tune their offerings to improve overall guest experience - resulting in positive reviews, return visits and ultimately higher profit.

Follow up!

One of the most important things to do, but often forgotten is to follow up on customers. A "thank-you for staying" email a few days later can be a great opportunity to remind your customer to write a review and give feedback together with information including discounts and offers. This will help strengthen positive feelings about their stay, therefore resulting in a better chance of a review or a return visit.

See this example below by The Inns at Union Square, San Francisco.

It is important to nurture the relationship by keeping in touch. This practice could result in converting them into recurrent guests and give you direct bookings.

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Victoria Ward
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