Industry Update
Opinion Article15 February 2017

5 Reasons Why Guests Leave Your Hotel Unhappy

By John Stocki, Columnist

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Return or repeat guests are the lifeblood of the travel industry. For properties with a slow season, they can make or break the books. Unfortunately, only 45% of organizations put an equal focus on new business development and customer retention. When the average cost of bringing a new customer on is five times greater than retaining a current customer, it only makes sense to do everything you can to ensure guests aren't leaving your property unhappy. Here are 5 things your hotel could be doing to drive valuable patrons away for good.

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#1 - Dirty Rooms

As a hotelier, you can get away with many other things and continue to pull in repeat business. Having dirty rooms doesn't make the list. It's as simple as that.

#2 - Untrained Staff

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In a world where repeat business and brand loyalty is essential for success, first impressions are everything. One bad experience dealing with an untrained staff member can ensure that your guest will be booking a different hotel on their next visit.

Slow check-ins, wifi uncertainty, and room type mixups all serve to create an unpleasant experience for the guest before they've even seen your property. This can be incredibly frustrating after a long day of travel, particularly for business travelers. (Remember, they're the ones most likely to become repeat customers if they enjoy their stay.)

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If your staff is struggling with the basics, you're going to lose business. Somes guests are understanding of employees who are new or in training, but many aren't. Be sure that you have a knowledgeable and supportive trainer assisting them at all times. This person needs to be willing to take over when they run into issues.

#3 - Inconsistent Service

Are guests always greeted by a smiling, well-dressed, and attentive front desk agent? Or are there times when the desk goes completely unmanned? Is guest rooms serviced by the same time everyday? Or are there days where guests return only to find towels on the bathroom floor? Can guests confidently order room service whenever the kitchen is open? Or does the phone ring and ring and ring?
For many guests, the hotel is a safe haven. A home away from home where they can unwind after a long day. Any inconsistencies in their experience ruin that for them. Training, standard operating procedures (SOP's), and service standards are the best way to ensure that you're offering the same high-quality, consistent experience to your guests time after time.

#4 - Lack of basic amenities (or ones that don't work)

I'm not saying that your amenity line has to cost $20 per room, but you have to offer the basics. Guests shouldn't have to purchase their own hand soap, shampoo, and body wash just to clean up. Having a few finer sundries available at the front desk can also help save the day as well (sewing kit, deodorant, toothbrush & toothpaste, etc…).

It goes without saying that in-room amenities should be in working order. If the microwave in the room doesn't work, or your mini-fridges are moldy because you turn them off, you're probably not going to see many repeat guests. If you're going to offer in-room perks, make sure they're clean and ready for use.

#5 - Charging for Internet Access

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High-speed internet is more no longer a luxury, it's an expectation. Stress-free travel is dependent on the ability to easily get work done and plan what to do after hours via mobile devices. Apps like Around Me, Uber, and Google Maps give guests the ability to take control of their time in your city and ease the pressure on your service staff to be limitless sources of knowledge. Of course, this all hinges on providing your guests the tools necessary to do so. Do yourself a favor and drop that $15 a day charge.

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