Today marketing teams should be aware of high-level guest expectations. A happy customer is a direct path to increasing customer loyalty.
It may not yet be a core thinking point, but the most cost-effective reservations comes from returning guests. When you have a large percentage of repeat guests, you perform like a solid revenue foundation.
“If you’re not convinced that retaining customers is so valuable, consider research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company (the inventor of the net promoter score) that shows increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.”
— Harvard Business Review, The Value of Keeping the Right Customers
Let’s discover what can help hotels increase guest loyalty and make sure your hotel is always in the customer’s mind when planning a trip.
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Your booking engine is a make or break moment in the customer journey. The guest experience starts on your website — not at reception, so it is your brand’s first real test. The right booking engine can help engagement with a guest and improve direct bookings. You need to show your customers that booking directly means they will have more benefits than booking with OTAs. Travelers should have the option to compare live OTAs hotel prices with your direct prices in a customizable widget, alongside your booking engine.
A good example of the benefits for your guests is having Profile Management, where a user can set up and maintain a guest profile, manage reservations and loyalty points etc. Also, don’t forget about multilingual and multi-currency functions.
Does your booking engine work like this? If not, you can learn more about hi Booking Engine here, which allows guests to book multiple hotels from your chain, rooms, room types, and rates in one booking.
First-class customer service
There is no secret here. Everyone enjoys a polite and personal relationship with hotel staff. It may seem easy to implement, but when you have 500 employees and you need to teach all excellent customer service — complications can arise. The same hotel can make a good or bad impression. And let’s be realistic when serving thousands of guests, it’s impossible to avoid all problems.
Once, I had a situation at a hotel while staying in Italy. The reception called me and asked to move to another room although I had 2 days remaining. It was an inconvenience.
The hotel made a booking mistake that affected my own holiday, my expectations were ruined. But the staff decided to turn a negative situation into a positive one.
What did they do?
The Italian Hotel asked someone from the housekeeping staff to help me pack and move to another room. The room was bigger and I had a nicer view of the sea. On the last day, they prepared a complimentary dinner for me, which made me feel valued.
I forgot about their failure and the only thing I wanted to bring home were positive comments and great stories about their customer service. This is a perfect example of how a bad experience can be converted to the best guest experience.
Some would say this is an old trick and that the hospitality industry should move away from this. Yet, even though the industry has changed and evolved with technology, offerings can still make an enjoyable moment for a customer, especially when it is something useful or given for absolutely free.
Give people a present when they arrive and giveaways when they leave. It doesn’t have to be expensive, possibly a nice box with chocolate brownies, an international branded adaptor or a bottle of wine in their room.
“It shows that you’re prepared to go the extra mile to ensure they enjoy their stay.”
— HotelSpeak, 8 Ways to Turn One Time Stays into Loyal Customers
What can be an absolute WOW for your customer for example, is to provide them with free hotel smart products during their stay, such as smartphones or tablets. They can simplify access to hotel services and in-room controls to deliver exceptional guest experiences. All these help to build a good relationship with the customer and leaves a nice mark on the guest’s stay.
You need to find your own strategy and follow your hotel mantra. Remember if people return, there have likely recommended your hotel to their family and friends. This can help to build a new structure where loyal guests bring in new customers themselves. When you find the right path, a returning customer will provide you with a stable and good revenue flow.
- Harvard Business Review: The Value of Keeping the Right Customers
- Pegasus Blog: 3 Ways to Engage Guests for Repeat Stays
- HOTELOGIX: 8 easy tips for hotels to increase guest loyalty
- Entrepreneur: The Secret to Getting Repeat Customers
- HotelSpeak: 8 Ways to Turn One Time Stays into Loyal Customers
- hi Inc.: hi Hotels / Smart products