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January 13, 2020

Don’t Lose Touch with Guests: Add a Checkup Between Check-in and Checkout

Happy woman receiving text message while sitting on hotel bed.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This blog is an adapted excerpt of our eBook, ‘Proactive Service Recovery: The Revenue Strategy You Can’t Ignore.’)

Mishaps are inevitable in the hospitality industry. No matter how much you plan and prepare, at the end of the day, mistakes can and will happen. But these mistakes don’t have to be fatal. In fact, the strategies you put in place to respond to service issues can prove to be your strongest tools for winning over customers and driving revenue. 

But when only one out of four guests report those problems, it’s imperative hotels do more than just respond. By engaging guests with texting throughout their stay, you can better identify, even anticipate, their needs and those situations that may require attention. 

Instead of only connecting with guests at check-in and checkout, hotels should introduce a mid-stay checkup to their standard playbook and develop a more proactive service recovery strategy.

Graphic promoting proactive service recovery strategy ebook

“The instantaneous ability to message a guest a day, two days into their stay and say, ‘On a scale of 1-5, how are you enjoying your stay at Tenaya Lodge?’ is great. And if they say, ‘It’s a 2.’ and we know they have another two days left, there’s your opportunity to take them from being a detractor to a promoter,” explained Marcus Story, Guest Path Business Partner, Parks & Resorts Division, Delaware North. “That’s the window. Because once they’re gone, it’s hard to get them back.”

He said if you wait until it’s too late, you likely lose them forever, or you could try to win them back with a free vacation, but that could be $1,200 in lost revenue. But when a problem can be corrected before they leave, the resort saves that money and potentially earns another $1,200 if the guest returns on their own, and even more if they tell friends about their great experience or post an online review.

With an intelligent messaging platform synced to a PMS, a mid-stay checkup message can be automatically sent to all guests at the mid-point of their stay, or customized to however many days after check-in, or before checkout, as the hotel wishes. With a simple 1 through 5 survey like Tenaya Lodge utilizes, the platform can then alert management when any scores come in at 1, 2 or 3 so the issue can be quickly addressed. 

How to automate a mid-stay checkup

Shaun McCaffrey, Program Manager, Resort Operations & Guest Technology at Marriott Vacations Worldwide, says that some of the resort properties he oversees used to try and call all guests mid-stay, but the effort was extremely labor intensive and ineffective because very few guests were in their room or willing to share much information. They now automate mid-stay checkups with text messages.

“Real-time feedback is huge,” he said. “Not only are the details fresh in the mind of the guest so you can really get an accurate depiction of the issue at hand, but it really allows us to tackle the problem in the moment. Not only does that drive up post survey scores, but it also drives customer loyalty too.”

For hotels with shorter length of stays, similar messages could be sent soon after check-in to ask if the room is up to the guest’s standards and if they need anything. This is another proactive way to introduce or reinforce the texting option and to show your guests that you care.

Mid-Stay Checkup Message

About the Author

Eric Stoessel has more than 12 years experience working in hospitality, serving in various leadership roles across B2B media and travel technology.

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