Your customers are the main focus of your hospitality business. To succeed, you need happy and delighted customers. Customer reviews are in a deciding role when travelers book a hotel. And, in general, increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits by 25%-95%.
Naturally, you need to have the basics in order, such as clean facilities and a friendly staff. But how do you get your hotel customer service to stand out and make customers come back for more and post positive reviews?
Want to find out? Let’s dive right in.
Why you need to be memorable
As pointed out above, customer satisfaction affects your bottom line. A study found that 19% of satisfied hotel guests return within a year. Plus, they tend to spend more when they return.
To satisfy guests, you might offer a welcome gift that costs you around $5 per customer. If your customer acquisition cost (CAC) is $50 per guest and you have three guests every week, you spend $7800 on customer acquisition every year. The $5 gift adds $780.
In this case, it’s much more likely customers will leave a positive review, which can lower your CAC and boost your business. And if 19% come back for more, you could save $1630 on customer acquisition (including the gift). Creating a memorable service can have a big impact on your business.
Listen to your customers to create the right experience
Memorable experiences depend on relevancy and personalization. To create such an experience, you need to know what your customer wants. Most business owners tend to think they know their customers. But do they really? For example, when was the last time you spoke with your customers about how you can improve your services?
The key to figuring out how to be memorable is to engage with your customers. Customer demand shifts, so make sure to do it on a continuous basis. Ask them what they expect of their stay or what they thought of it and why they picked your hotel in the first place.
Educate your staff to deliver outstanding service
Your staff is obviously in a key position to deliver exceptional service because they interact with guests on a daily basis. Educating them to give proper service is essential.
In general, customers appreciate a personal touch. Make personalization a key part of how your staff interacts with travelers. And to ensure that customers get the service they need when they need it, give your staff the freedom and responsibility to help them right away.
For example, you can give employees the freedom to make decisions that cost you less than $100 without running them with you first. Ultimately, this helps create an exceptional hotel customer service.
Examples of memorable experiences
Memorable experiences don’t have to be expensive or difficult to create. As was shown above, a $5 gift can mean a great return on investment.
Consider partnering up with other businesses to promote them and create an experience for your customer. For example, if your hotel is located in a wine region, partner with one of the winemakers and offer a free bottle of wine to your customers as a welcome gift. This might pique their interest to go visit the winemaker and you offer something that they’ll certainly appreciate. Win-win!
Below, we’ve put together suggestions of inexpensive and expensive experiences. While expensive experiences can be costly, they’re not only intended to be used by five-star hotels. If you offer a premium package, like a honeymoon suite, one of these services might be an excellent idea to improve your hotel customer service.
- Tea, coffee, and water in rooms.
- A small welcome gift.
- Create information packages on surrounding areas.
- A small treat for kids.
- Leave a thank you note on their first or last day (personalize by using their names).
- Send a thank you note after their stay.
- Leave a small treat after cleaning the room.
- Cater to your guests’ individual needs. For example, if a lot of guests tend to go hiking while they stay at your hotel, you know they’ll be thirsty and tired when they get back. Leave some water bottles and small snacks in their room.
- Keep a library of books.
- Allow early and late check in, especially if you have a lot of business travelers.
- Personal tours.
- Give a ride in a nice vehicle to the hotel (a boat, car, or limousine).
- A fruit basket or other welcome gift upon arrival.
- Provide a personal “butler” (a staff member they can call).
- A small departure gift.
Conclusion: Memorable experiences matter
That’s it: now you know why memorable experiences matter and how you can create one.
Just remember that your hotel customer service needs to be relevant for your guests. Test out different alternatives to figure out what satisfies guests the most and get to the best return on investment. In the end, if you keep up a dialogue with guests to understand what they want, you’re one step closer to creating a memorable experience your guests will come back for.
Camilla Hallstrom is a freelance writer based in Berlin, Germany. Camilla is a contributor to publications such as The Huffington Post and Elite Daily. Say hi on Twitter: @c_hallstrom.