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How to implement a successful guest satisfaction strategy in your hotel
Although the guest experience is a principal topic of discussion, there’s another factor that’s also important to consider. This is, of course, guest satisfaction. This reflects the experience your guests have in your establishment. But also the performance you achieve through the services you offer and the way you stand out from your competitors. It’s therefore essential that satisfaction is at the very heart of your strategy. And that you’re in a position to optimise it constantly and measure it in a precise manner.
Let’s take a look at how to implement an effective satisfaction strategy in a structured way.
How to optimise guest satisfaction at every stage of the stay
Guest satisfaction is no longer only about receptionists asking your guests if they enjoyed their stay when it’s time to check out. However polite this may be. However much the guest may appreciate it, it brings no added value to your hotel. You therefore need to put everything in place long before this touchpoints to guarantee a good level of guest satisfaction.
Put your guest in the best conditions prior to their stay
Satisfaction must be earned, so you have to work for it. It all starts before the guest arrives. As you have the opportunity to prepare for their arrival and stay in the best way. To achieve this, you need to consider your guests carefully. And seek to get to know them in as much detail as possible. But how do you do this? Just by asking them! All the information you didn’t manage to glean via the booking isn’t necessarily lost. If you send a pre-stay email, or indeed a pre-check-in form, you have some different options available.
On the one hand, you can transmit relevant information to your guests to make their stay run more smoothly (WiFi password, transport timetables, recommendations for restaurants or other activities…). On the other hand, you can also collect details that will help you to personalise their experience (reason for the stay, arrival/departure time…). What’s more, by collecting this information prior to arrival, you can make the experience more pleasant by significantly reducing the amount of time spent waiting to check in.
To sum up, by initiating interaction with your guest prior to their arrival, you develop:
- Better knowledge of your guest
- Awareness and understanding of your guest’s needs
- A good relationship with the guest
- The foundations for a good level of guest satisfaction
Let’s now think about how to maintain and increase guest satisfaction during the stay.
Anticipate and respond to guests’ demands quickly
Guests’ habits and behaviour when staying in a hotel have evolved just as they have in other industries. Guests are now more inclined to take control of their experience and attach more importance to personalisation than ever. To be able to offer this, you need to anticipate their requests and be reactive. By collecting feedback in an intelligent manner throughout the stay, you can significantly increase guest satisfaction in many ways. Surprise your guests by asking them if their stay is going well. Furthermore, how it could be improved. For example, they might need an extra pillow or an iron and ironing board. Maybe the guest is experiencing a problem which, if you fail to anticipate it, could reduce their satisfaction level (faulty air conditioning, lack of cleanliness in the room…). There are many potential sources of dissatisfaction, but equally as many ways to resolve these.
Better interactions with guests
At Customer Alliance, we’ve developed these multiple forms of interaction during the stay. This, in order to allow hotel owners to enhance the guest experience and optimise satisfaction. Of course, this isn’t a replacement for the work done and conversations conducted by the hotel staff, which are both an integral part of any successful guest satisfaction strategy. So, after you’ve worked hard during every stage of the stay to ensure that your guest’s satisfaction level is high and they’re preparing to leave your hotel, you just have time to put them in the best position to complete your satisfaction survey before they depart, which will be a very good measure of performance and success.
Make sure your guest leaves feeling satisfied
Even if your level of organisation is good, managing your guests’ departure can always prove a little difficult. As a result, it isn’t so easy to assess the satisfaction of every guest as they prepare to leave your hotel. To increase your chances of seeing your guests leave having had a positive experience, prepare for their departure efficiently, similarly to how you prepare for their stay before they arrive.
All your guests are different. Some are there for professional reasons and therefore care most about optimising their time. While others who come to stay as a family or couple are looking for a more relaxing experience. By conducting a guest segment analysis, you can prepare for guests’ departure in a personalised manner and guarantee a good level of satisfaction. Here are some practices that you can implement by communicating with your guests just before they leave.
- Pre-check-out option for a quicker departure
- Transport timetables for the station or airport
- Option to book a taxi the night before departure
- Option to order a takeaway breakfast box for earlier departures
- Subscription to a loyalty scheme
- Late checkout option
- Option to have breakfast ordered to the room
- Option to be put in contact with a car rental operator
- Optional luggage service
- Option to sign up for the newsletter to receive personalised offers
The pre-checkout stage is more important than you might think. It is therefore often underestimated. It allows you to capitalise even further on guest satisfaction. All that remains for you to do is to judge the satisfaction level by inviting your guests to have their say about their experience. You can be sure that, with all the actions that you implement throughout the stay, the satisfaction level will only become more positive. But how do you invite your guests to have their say? Here are the different options:
- Send a personalised satisfaction survey (via email, text, tablet or QR code)
- Redirect them towards the different review portals (Google, TripAdvisor, Facebook, HolidayCheck…)
Contract (nearly) complete. From booking to checkout, you’ve been by your guest’s side to guarantee satisfaction. So, it’s now time to move on to the analysis and thus reap the fruits of your labour.
How to measure guest satisfaction
It’s absolutely vital to analyse your reviews in order to measure guest satisfaction. This also allows you to get an idea of your hotel’s strengths and weaknesses, which makes it easier to implement actions on a commercial or operational level. As we’ve already stated, impacting guest satisfaction requires effort, but with a good strategy, the whole process becomes fluid. It’s a similar story for measuring guest satisfaction. It might seem like an insurmountable task, given the many different portals and sites where guests can leave reviews. But once you have a well-structured strategy in place, everything becomes clearer.
Analyse guest reviews in an efficient manner
There are a multitude of review portals. Whether they come from OTAs (Booking.com, Expedia…), open portals (TripAdvisor, Google…), comparison engines (Trivago, Kayak..) or a satisfaction survey, reviews are everywhere. Thus, it would be foolish to ignore them because they provide the best indication of your guest satisfaction. So, how do you find your way around the never-ending influx of reviews?
At Customer Alliance, we understand hotel owners’ priorities: managing daily operations and being as close as possible to guests and staff. This is why we emphasise the importance of centralising reviews on one platform. Logging in to all your distribution channels and analysing each review portal individually involves a huge amount of work. It’s essential to take a structured approach in order not to miss any important information. By centralising everything, you have the scope to conduct detailed analyses by filtering by date or by portal.
To take the analysis a little further, we’ll now look at how to examine your reviews via semantics. We’ll then discuss the benefits of conducting an effective analysis of your competitors’ reviews.
Which measurement scales should you consider?
There are different measurement scales; it depends on the sector and the portal. Generally speaking, the main platforms in the hotel/restaurant industry use a scale from 1 to 5; this is true for Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor, to cite a few examples. This allows the guest to express a neutral feeling if they don’t really have a concrete opinion on their experience.
Another measurement tool, and one which is becoming increasingly popular, is the NPS (Net Promoter Score) which translates the likelihood ofrecommending a company, service, establishment, etc. This scoring criteria is one of the options available in the Customer Alliance solution. It gives companies (not only hotels and restaurants) greater flexibility when analysing customer satisfaction.
You have multiple measurement tools available to use as part of your guest satisfaction strategy. But the most important lies in the methods implemented to improve your performance. That’s why, at Customer Alliance, we’ve introduced Targets, whereby you set objectives in your strategy to improve your scores on the portals and also your response rate.
Better understanding of satisfaction thanks to semantic and competitor analysis
Another good indicator of guest satisfaction lies in the ability to quickly identify the characteristics of your hotel or your services that have received criticism or low scores, which then enables you to rectify them more easily. Semantic analysis of guest reviews allows you to isolate individual words and evaluate the content of the reviews that accompany them. For instance, if you filter your searches based on the word “room”. Then you can gain a better understanding of what guests are saying about this particular criteria. What better tool could you hope for to shed light on your strengths and weaknesses in an efficient manner? This type of analysis is, therefore, strongly recommended to achieve an optimal guest satisfaction strategy.
There are other methods of analysing guest reviews. You can integrate into your guest satisfaction strategy. One of these may already form part of your commercial or revenue management strategy. We’re talking about competitor analysis, but applied to guest reviews. There are several ways to measure your satisfaction level compared to your competitors. It includes number of reviews, average score, response rate and ranking in your city/region.
At Customer Alliance, we encourage hotels to take control of satisfaction via our review and competitor monitoring functions. This makes it easier to implement effective actions, manage operations better and, ultimately, increase satisfaction.
The last point, but by no means least, concerns responses to reviews.
Response to reviews: another key factor in guest satisfaction
The final step in our guest satisfaction strategy is responding to reviews! This might seem like an arduous, pointless task, but in reality, it’s a very important one.
Before applying a strategy whereby you aim to respond to reviews left by guests about your establishment, imagine you’re a traveller intending to book a hotel. The guest journey can be long and complex, and travellers often have to consult multiple sites before making a reservation (take a look at our ebook on review portal statistics for more information about this). What would they think of a hotel or restaurant’s TripAdvisor page if the establishment didn’t reply to reviews whether positive or negative? The first reaction would, of course, be to assume that the establishment doesn’t take a great deal of interest in customer satisfaction. Meanwhile, a page containing regular responses to reviews left by customers will have a positive impact on users’ perception. And also increase the establishment’s chances of taking a booking.
It’s important to reply to reviews, regardless of their nature. With regard to negative reviews which, naturally, monopolise your attention, read through this guide on how to manage criticism.
Smart and quick answers
For (negative) reviews that have come from the customisable Customer Alliance questionnaire, we’ve developed a moderation function. It allows hotels to contact the guest directly in the event of a mistake or misunderstanding. The guest can then revise their review and score. Lastly, the Customer Alliance dashboard makes it possible for you to respond directly to guest reviews (TripAdvisor, Google, Booking.com, Facebook and HolidayCheck) without the hassle to log-in to these platforms.
To summarise on guest satisfaction
You now have everything you need to implement a coherent guest satisfaction strategy that will be effective in the long-term. Remember the following steps and repeat them consistently in order to extract all the possible benefits for your establishment.
- Optimise guest satisfaction at every stage by collecting reviews
- Alternate how you invite guests to leave reviews between portals and a satisfaction questionnaire
- Analyse your reviews in an intelligent, consistent manner
- Set objectives to improve your satisfaction level
- Respond to reviews, whether positive or negative
- Focus your attention (and that of your staff) on what you do best. Delivering an exceptional service that your guests will remember
Need help implementing a long-term guest satisfaction strategy? Our experts are here to assist you! Request a free demonstration and take advantage of personalised advice for your establishment.