Do you know how your hotel guests feel about their experience during their stay?
Hotels often send post-stay surveys a day or later after the guest has left the hotel. Often times, it’s too late to do anything about a bad experience.
Hotel managers often comment on negative reviews on social sites asking unhappy guests to contact them or to apologize, but it doesn’t seem sincere and feels like a canned “We apologize…this is not normal…please email us…” message.
The guest may never see that and even if they do, they will likely ignore it.
As research shows, guests who have a problem that is fixed are 7.75% more satisfied than guests who don’t report a problem.
This is why the concept of in-stay service checks are extremely important for hotels to avoid those negative reviews and fix issues before guests leave the property.
We’ll put this in perspective for you in this “vomit story”.
The Vomit Story
To give you a real-world example, Zingle’s SVP of Marketing Jason often travels often back and forth from San Diego and San Francisco. During one particular visit to San Diego, he was staying at his favorite local hotel. However, during this visit, his flight was delayed several hours and didn’t check in until nearly midnight.
As he went through the usual check-in process and got to his room, THE KEY DIDN’T WORK!
We’ve all been there. Feeling irritated, Jason dragged his luggage back downstairs to get a new key.
After entering his room to freshen up, Jason immediately noticed the bathroom sink had some stains that resembled vomit. Now it’s 12:30 a.m. Frustrated and disgusted, Jason decides against calling down to the front desk to complain because he had a presentation to prepare for early the next morning and his level of confidence in a quick response was low.
Jason’s experience is a prime example of how hotels often miss opportunities like this to recover from negative experiences, or even to know about them.
Being so late in the evening and not busy, the front desk should have given Jason a quick call or sent a text message after he checked in to make sure everything was to his standards, especially since he was a loyal and frequent guest.
Jason would have been less frustrated knowing the hotel was proactive in making sure his room was clean upon his late arrival. The hotel could have even sent the message the next day to ask how his stay was going, which might have led to his candid feedback, providing the hotel an opportunity to recover from a bad experience they’ll never know happened.
The key to providing a better guest experience is being PROACTIVE.
Yes, some guests will take the time to call or walk to the front desk to complain, but most won’t as this study shows that 96% of unhappy customers will not complain, but will tell 9-15 of their friends.
This is exactly what happened. Jason told everyone about it except for the hotel.
Being proactive means hotels need to leverage every way possible for guests to engage with staff. Whether it’s a personal greeting to every guest, asking them how their service was after every interaction, or even just checking in on the cleanliness of their room, it’s important to have processes and technologies in place to deliver in-the-moment service recovery before a bad experience is announced to friends and even worse, everyone through a negative review on TripAdvisor.
Mobile messaging is one convenient and effective tool to connect with guests throughout the stay. Almost everyone has their phone on them at all times.
Messaging is a useful channel because it doesn’t require any effort from guests (like downloading an app) and can be used no matter where the guest is on the property.
By using a customer engagement platform with advanced personalization and automation capabilities, it makes it easy for staff as well.
For example, a hotel could schedule a welcome message to all guests arriving on a particular day based on the check-in date to welcome them and ask them if they need anything prior to arrival.
Similarly, a scheduled text message could be sent to a guest after they check-in to make sure their room is clean and to ask if they need anything additional to make their stay even better. (Example below)
Some hotels are even using messaging to send a quick survey after a service interaction or scheduled time during a guest’s stay. This tactic helps capture instant feedback on service and overall satisfaction.
To truly improve your guest experience, you have to go above and beyond to proactively engage guests in a convenient and personalized way as leverage some of the tactics discussed in this article.
If you have any good examples of service recovery, we would love to hear them, just post it in the comment section below.
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