Achieve Guest Satisfaction (Every Time!) in 7 Simple Steps
The guest experience is a common topic amongst today’s hoteliers and travel professionals. But let’s not forget the importance of guest satisfaction. Happy guests reflect not only their experience in your establishment but also how well your staff and services have performed.
As a key differentiator between hotels, guest satisfaction should be at the heart of your ethos. So how do you make sure you delight your guests time and time again? By implementing a guest satisfaction strategy.
This approach will help you tackle guest satisfaction in a clear and structured way, through collecting feedback, measuring and constantly improving. Let’s see how it’s done!
1. Get to know your guests before they even check in
A lot of emphasis is put on the front desk guest experience. However, the road to satisfaction begins before your guest arrives! By getting to know them in as much detail as you can, you set yourself up to deliver the best possible stay. How do you do this? Just ask!
A pre-stay email or pre-check-in form will give you everything you need to increase satisfaction. For instance, you could give guests relevant information to make their stay run more smoothly (like the WiFi password, transport timetables, or recommendations for restaurants and activities).
You could also collect details that will help you personalise their guest experience (such as the reason for the stay or their arrival and departure time). As an added bonus, collecting this information prior to arrival will significantly reduce the amount of time spent waiting to check-in. A win for both you and your guest!
To sum up, by opening up communications prior to arrival, you develop:
- Better knowledge of your guest
- Awareness and understanding of your guest’s needs
- A good relationship with your guest
- The foundations for a good level of guest satisfaction
Now let’s look at how to maintain and increase guest satisfaction during the stay.
2. Anticipate your guests’ needs (and respond to them quickly!)
Guests’ habits and behaviours have evolved over time. Now, they are more inclined to take control of their guest experience and attach more importance to personalisation than ever. To meet expectations, you need to anticipate your guests’ requests and be proactive.
You might be wondering, how can I find out if my guest is happy during their stay? Using smart ways to collect feedback can significantly increase guest satisfaction. You can ask how their stay is going through different channels and at different times, like when they login to your Wifi or order room service through the tablet in their room.
Checking in on your guests throughout their stay can bring issues to light that you may not have otherwise been aware of. For example, they might want an extra pillow or an iron and ironing board. Would they come to the front desk to tell you? Perhaps not. But when you invite them to share their feedback in a quick and convenient way it gives you a chance to improve their satisfaction.
There are many potential sources of dissatisfaction, but there are also many ways to resolve them. Ask yourself, “Do I have the Voice of the Customer Tools to Improve Customer Experience?”
3. Prepare for (and personalise) your guests’ departure
Even the most organised hotels can have trouble managing your guests’ departure. As a result, it isn’t always easy to assess every guest’s satisfaction as they check out. To increase your chances of seeing your guests leave happy, prepare for their departure as efficiently as you do for their arrival.
Every guest is different. Some are there for business and care most about optimising their time. Others who come to stay as a family or couple are likely looking for a more relaxed guest experience.
By conducting a guest segment analysis, you can prepare for guests’ departure in a more personalised way that guarantees a good level of satisfaction. Here are some things you could 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
- The option to book a taxi the night before departure
- The 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
- 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. As a result, it’s often underestimated (or even completely ignored!). Adding in some extra services at this point in the guest journey is a great way for you to stand out from the crowd.
4. Ask your guests for post-stay feedback
Many hotels simply leave it to chance whether guests will leave a review after their stay. However, proactively asking your guests to provide feedback can be hugely beneficial for your business.
81% of people frequently or always read reviews before booking a hotel (1). Not only that, but when deciding between two similar properties, 79% of consumers are more likely to reserve a room at the hotel with a higher rating (2). Ensuring a steady stream of good reviews has a direct impact on the number of rooms you will fill.
Post-stay surveys are just as important as reviews. They are also usually more insightful, as you can ask questions about specific topics. For tips on how to set up your own, take a look at How to create a successful Customer Survey.
With all the actions that you’ve taken throughout your guests’ stay, you have given yourself the best chance of receiving positive feedback. So how do you invite your guests to share their thoughts? Here are the different options:
- Send a personalised guest satisfaction survey (via email, text, tablet or QR code)
- Direct them towards the different review portals (like Google, TripAdvisor, Facebook, HolidayCheck). This can also be done through all different channels.
5. Respond to your reviews (both positive and negative!)
Particularly once you start getting more and more reviews, responding to them may seem irrelevant. After all, the guest has already been and gone, and you got the feedback you were looking for. But in reality, responding to your reviews is an incredibly important task. Here’s why.
Imagine you’re a traveller looking to book a hotel. The guest journey can be long and complex, and travellers often look at multiple sites before making a reservation.
What would they think of a hotel that didn’t reply to any reviews? The first reaction might be that they don’t take a great deal of interest in customer satisfaction. Meanwhile, a hotel that regularly responds to guest reviews will make an impressive first impression and increase their chances of getting the booking.
It’s important to reply to reviews, regardless of whether they are positive or negative. For help dealing with negative reviews, you might like to download our whitepaper: Complaint Management.
The key to not getting overwhelmed with replying to reviews is to have a solid system in place. For example, hoteliers using Customer Alliance can access all of their reviews (from all different websites) in one place.
From there, it’s possible to respond directly to each review. You will even get an alert when a negative review comes in, giving you the opportunity to quickly address any issues and turn things around.
By simplifying the process, it makes it a lot easier to keep on top of your reviews and show your guests that their satisfaction is your number one priority.
6. Measure guest satisfaction
It’s absolutely vital to measure guest satisfaction. Having tangible numbers allows you to easily keep track of your progress and will help pinpoint areas to improve. But with written feedback plus so many different portals to keep track of, how is this even possible? The answer lies in satisfaction metrics.
There are different satisfaction metrics that measure different things. One of the most common is the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which tells you how likely a guest is to recommend you to a friend.
There’s also the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), which shows how well the guest experience at your hotel matched expectations. For a more in-depth look at these and other metrics, head over to our article: How to measure customer satisfaction KPI: NPS, CSAT, CES, & CLI.
Remember the post-stay survey? This is the perfect opportunity to ask the questions that will get you the scores you need. For example, a CSAT question is usually asked with a ratings scale of 1 to 5. So in the survey, your question might be, “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the service at reception?” The guest would then give a rating from “highly unsatisfied” (a 1 on the scale) to “highly satisfied” (a 5).
Again, a system for dealing with these metrics is imperative here. With Customer Alliance, you instantly get averages of all your scores (even at individual stages in your customer journey!) This makes it really easy to monitor your metrics, with benchmarks and targets to help keep you motivated
7. Analyse your feedback and create a plan of action
Once you have all your data in one place, you can dive deeper into your feedback and satisfaction scores to get powerful insights into your business. Armed with this knowledge, you can strategise to ensure even higher levels of guest satisfaction. Here are a few things you can use:
- Customer journey mapping, where you can visualise every stage of your guest journey and guest touchpoints (like checking in at the reception or eating at the hotel restaurant). This makes it easy to see your satisfaction scores as a whole and also dive deeper into specific topics along the journey.
- Text analytics, that takes words from your guests’ reviews and determines whether they have a positive, neutral or negative sentiment. This will help you uncover guest trends and quickly determine which areas of your business need improvement.
- Competitor benchmarking, where you can compare your scores, guest experience and reviews against other hotels in the area
- Statistics for all kinds of initiatives like satisfaction metrics, numbers of reviews and survey invitations sent or your performance on specific platforms like TripAdvisor and Booking.com
Take the stress out of review and customer feedback management. Find out how with one of our experts.
Without tools like this to help with analysis, it becomes much too difficult to get the information you need to make changes and boost guest satisfaction. Taking action to improve is always good, but to get the best results you want to create a plan based on solid data. This helps prevent wasted time and will ultimately help you provide a much better service.
What might this look like in practice? Let’s say that text analytics shows the topic ‘Facilities’ has more negative mentions in reviews than your other main topics. Looking into the sub-topics, you see that most of these negative mentions are around the ‘spa’ topic.
You then head straight to the reviews that mention the spa and learn that guests are often disappointed with the level of cleanliness. Now you know where the issue lies, you can take action to fix it. For example, in this instance you might decide to implement more regular cleaning of the spa area or hold a training session for the staff responsible.
Conclusion: Improve The Guest Experience With A Guest Satisfaction Strategy
You now have everything you need to implement an impactful guest satisfaction strategy that will benefit your business for years to come! As a recap, here are the seven steps you need to follow:
- Get to know your guests before they even check in
- Anticipate your guests’ needs (and respond to them quickly!)
- Prepare for (and personalise) yours guests’ departure
- Ask your guests for post-stay feedback
- Respond to your reviews (both positive and negative!)
- Measure guest satisfaction
- Analyse your feedback and create a plan of action
When combined with the efforts of you and your team and carried out consistently, this 7-step plan will go a long way in achieving guest satisfaction time and time again.
Need some help getting started? Our experts are here to help! Request a free, custom demo of the Customer Alliance platform and take advantage of personalised advice for your hotel.
1 &2: TripAdvisor and Ipsos MORI, ‘The Power of Reviews’ 2019