We recently blogged about research that shows hotel guest satisfaction is at a record high. However, as hotels and other lodgings are more effectively meeting customer expectations, it only makes sense that expectations are getting higher, leading to more critical guests. The study indicated that Generation Y (who are more engaged in social media than other travelers) are the most critical group of travelers and more likely to express their opinions online. So while guest satisfaction is improving across the industry, it’s important not to let your guard down; customer service is evolving and it’s essential to keep up.
Technology is changing guest expectations (think fast Wi-Fi, iPod docking stations, hotel apps…) and is reducing the amount of face-to-face interaction between guests and hotel staff. Between check-in kiosks and mobile Internet and apps, it’s possible for guests to manage their stay without front-desk staff or the concierge. That doesn’t mean that a personal connection with guests is not vitally important, it just means that we need to start thinking about customer service in different ways. That’s why more and more properties are engaging with guests through social media before, during and after their stay to improve the guest experience and their property’s online reputation.
Guest satisfaction and online reputation go hand in hand now more than ever. You can’t improve one without working on the other. Hospitality news website HotelNewsNow.com recently published a great article about how to improve guest satisfaction and it’s no surprise that online reputation management tactics feature heavily on their list of suggestions.
Here’s a rundown of HotelNewsNow.com’s 8 Ways to Improve Guest Satisfaction (for the full article, click here):
- Optimize online presence – Having a website is not enough. To maximize visibility and sales your property needs to be present on OTAs, review websites and social media channels.
- Manage guest expectations – Don’t mislead potential guests with empty promises that will only lead to disappointment (and negative feedback). Be truthful and helpful.
- Be true to your brand – Always strive to exceed expectations. Impressed guests turn into repeat customers and advocates.
- Ask for and track guest feedback – Be proactive! Front-desk staff can ask guests about their stay and invite them to write reviews online, but with fewer guests checking out at the front desk these days it’s important to conduct post-stay surveys or invite guests to review their experience via post-stay email communication.
- Analyze guest feedback – Listen to what guests are saying and act on it. Gather and review all forms of guest feedback to measure and analyze for actionability. Online reputation management software is increasingly important for this.
- Use feedback to guide decisions – Guest feedback can be applied to decision-making in all areas and departments: staff recruitment and training, sales and marketing, investments in new services/amenities, etc.
- Respond to guest feedback – Show guests (and prospective guests) that you are listening and you care; respond to all reviews, both positive and negative. Express appreciation for the review, reinforce positive aspects, apologize for any issues, and specify actions that will be taken to improve.
- Provide social service – Use social media channels to connect with guests and provide customer service pre-, during and post-stay.