For long, getting to know what hotel guests want has been every hotelier’s bugbear. Ambivalent, unclear suggestions from customers impede hoteliers’ ability to take concrete steps to improve their services. Moreover, in this era of price-oriented competition among hotels, price sensitive travellers; garnering loyal guests become challenging, necessitating the use of specific tools aimed at overcoming these problems.
Effective Guest Surveys
Comprehensive guest surveys help to obtain and analyse customer feedback. Let us look at ways we can carry out effective surveys.
- Prune less effective feedback approaches:
The good-old questionnaires about the guests’ hotel experience may not be the most effective feedback gathering approach in today’s time.
Guests are usually asked to fill those forms at checkout when a guest has already experienced a problem that could have been prevented.
Moreover, the intrinsic unresponsiveness of guests generates a less-than-authentic feedback. Hence, direct communication between guests and managers helps the latter know about customer’s needs and complaints, if any. Thus, it is advisable that hotels should ask for feedback during the guest stay.
- Limit your feedback channels:
Overwhelming the customer with a repertoire of comment cards and online forms and social media review request is not a good idea, especially when people in general are bombarded with lots of communication all through their day. Since all the travelers are tech savvy now, you can easily do away with physical feedback forms and stick to Online Guest Survey Forms. You can get plenty of useful information with just one or two tools.
- Humanise and personalise the experience:
You can get the guests to reveal much more specific information about their stay experience in personal interactions than on a piece of paper or online forms. This increases the survey authenticity and helps the hotel staff also assure the guest that their problem will be looked into immediately.
- Make your feedback forms engaging:
Appealing, engaging and interactive forms increase the likelihood of guests responding to them comprehensively. Hotel technology vendors are offering specific solutions to address this, where hotels can customise their own feedback forms and in their preferred language too with Guest Feedback Survey. Such tools also help hoteliers evaluate their guest’s loyalty through Net Promoter Score (NPS).
Additionally, understanding the importance of online guest reviews, guest can now also choose to publish their survey response on Google Reviews.
- Imbibe the customer service culture and view your staff like your guests!
“Customer Service is an Attitude, Not a Department”. Develop the culture of customer service in your hotel. This attitude should be imbibed in all of your staff members. Since your staff gets to interact the most and closely with your guests, it is a great idea to seek their inputs regarding general issues brought to them by the guests. This enhances the scope and authenticity of the survey. Further, empower your staff to take decision to solve the issue at the ground level itself, preventing any further aggravation of the issue and upset the guest even more.
Fruitful Loyalty Programs
A 2014 study by Cornell University, Center for Hospitality Research Publications reported a revenue increase of up to 50 percent for hotels whose guests joined their loyalty programs. That is a good enough reason to leverage them. But, how? Let us find out!
- Simplify the reward earning system:
A complex reward system with not-so-convenient redemption like bringing more customer references to your hotel may discourage customers and hence, bring few benefits out of the loyalty/reward program.
Efforts for customer’s end should be as simple as sharing your hotel’s listing on social media or buying non-room services for reward points. This encourages more guests to enrol in loyalty programs than otherwise.
- Focus on quick rewards:
The most common rewards in guest loyalty programs are discounted rates for the subsequent stays. But, these rewards do not create great value for irregular visitors.
What you can do to make your rewards more ‘pronounced’ is offering quick benefits like free club passes, meal discounts and cashback offers, etc.
- Use data to customize offers:
Data regarding the length of stays, frequency of visits by different guests helps you craft customized offers and schemes for individual guests. You can also use data to focus more on frequent visitors to develop long-term relationships and more customised loyalty program for them.
- Personalize loyalty programs:
If the staff personally approaches the customers to sign up for loyalty programs, it conveys a genuine concern for the guests and makes them more receptive to offers.
- Fasten communication on reward earnings:
A 2015 study by Software Advice Research revealed that 58% of the participating Millennials found hotel loyalty apps valuable.
It is likely for the guests to seek quick access to information regarding their rewards. Having a hotel loyalty program app immensely aids this purpose.
Today’s day and age witnesses abrupt and dramatic changes in guest preferences. Employing strategically crafted survey mechanisms and guest loyalty programs can help hotels leverage the trend changes and stay forward in the game.