Even during a global recession, the hotel industry can thrive and often continue to grow by improving their customer satisfaction and customer service.
People are still traveling for business or pleasure and looking for the best values for their money. Competition for new customers in the hotel industry worldwide is high and repeat business is always desired. Gone are the days where folks hop in their automobiles and drive along exploring and then stop at a roadside hotel that looks decent and clean.
5 Hospitality Tips for Achieving Top Rated Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction has to be one everyone’s mind as they begin the work day. These days, customers start their hotel searches online and spend time comparing prices and reading reviews. If the customer is a smartphone or tablet user, the time spent studying and reviewing various choices increases, meaning hospitality impressions begin long before the customer walks through the door. So how does a hotel, independent or chain, satisfy customers and win repeat business?
Great customer websites improve customer experience
Customer satisfaction extends beyond the human interaction. Customer satisfaction is affected by your digital online presence. With customers getting their first information about hotels online, the most successful hotels have stand-out websites that are also easy to navigate. Websites with numerous photos, clear directions including maps, nearby points of interest, good restaurants and reviews will do better holding the attention of an online shopper. The online shopper should be able to look and book quickly with minimum hassle.
Customers often have special needs such as handicapped accessible rooms. The best websites provide a booking interface allowing the customer to make special requests, again with minimum hassle.
Customer satisfaction is about being available where, when, and how customers want. A direct phone number to the hotel is a must. Many customers research online but call to book. The availability of personal interaction is the key in this case. Personnel handling booking calls should be friendly, helpful and well versed in the policies and amenities the hotel offers. A high satisfaction level at this point can positively set the tone for the customer’s stay.
Guest satisfaction improves when you know your customer
Customer satisfaction is more than just a smile when you greet a customer. It’s more than customer satisfaction surveys and customer satisfaction tips. Knowing the customer base is at the heart of it. A customer booking a stay at a beachside resort has different expectations than a customer staying in a convention hotel. When you learn to master the needs of the customer and to deliver consistently and effectively on those needs you begin to create overwhelming customer loyalty.
Good hotel management and staff recognize this and provide appropriate the expected services and even throw in some extra options that customer may not be thinking about. A family friendly beachside hotel might offer poolside games and activities while the convention hotel caters primarily to businessmen by making sure they provide top-notch amenities such as reliable internet Wi-Fi, Visio conference equipment, and excellent audio system.
Improve customer satisfaction by addressing customer complaints quickly
Service recovery is the last line of defense to your customer satisfaction. The hotel industry can be a tough one with requests and complaints coming in online, by phone, email or in person with the guest leaning over the welcome desk. One of the key responsibilities of any guest services manager or customer service leader is customer satisfaction measurement.
By addressing requests quickly, a hotel will have fewer complaints. When asking the hospitality staff for an extra pillow, blanket or batteries for a dead remote, a guest expects quick service. Waiting an hour or more for remote batteries or that extra blanket will earn a hotel a bad review for not caring or slow service. A quick turnaround to a question online could make the difference between gaining or losing a potential customer as well.
Train your staff on improving customer service
When management provides a well-trained staff with an emphasis on working together for the benefit of the customer, a hotel runs more smoothly and this translated to greater customer satisfaction. The constant goal in the mind of all staff members should be centered on customer satisfaction. Customers in the hotel industry are notorious for high expectations and complaints. A staff well trained in managing complaints, but more importantly avoiding them in the first place, will do better overall.
This isn’t to say a well-run hotel will never get bad reviews. A certain percentage of customers will complain no matter what. Use these opportunities to learn from what disappointed customers and structure your system on how to achieve customer satisfaction around the positive and negative reviews.
Take the extra step to follow hotel management companies with solid management procedures to help you put these proper procedures in place. However, a staff well versed in positive customer satisfaction creating policy coupled with a strong sense of knowing customer needs and pride in job performance, will create an environment that draws people in and leaves them with a lasting good impression.
Track, analyze and report on customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction will often times be tied to your level of customer communication. By creating a dialogue with customers, hotel management can see strong points and weak spots in customer service. Feedback can be gathered online in review section of websites combined with review cards in room and front desk logs. These tools, used correctly, can be extremely helpful in staff meetings and training sessions, and at the management level for implementing policy.
There are a number of customer satisfaction tracking companies and tools available. Some of these other tools include analysis of how customers’ book and what led these customers to choose a particular hotel versus a similar one down the street. Gathering this type of information with hotel reservation service tools and using it properly can be a huge plus in gaining new customers and keeping existing ones.
The hotel industry is thriving yet competitive. Hotel customers want exactly what they expect whether it’s a simple clean room and good night’s rest or an artfully decorated clean room with numerous amenities. When management has a well-trained staff taking pride in customer recognition and customer satisfaction, the hotel will earn new and repeat customers.
Hi Flavio, love the article. I share the same thoughts on what you have written. Especially the points on knowing your customers and addressing customer complaints immediately. The reason why i believe these 2 are so important is I have come to realize myself that if you give customers the proper attention, they tend to feel a sense of appreciation by the company. Hence, customers have a tendency to keep returning and as a result increases customer loyalty.
Real time and on site customer feedback with mobile technology like what the tool ECO ( http://www.geteco.com ) provides is 1 way to go about knowing your customers on a more personal manner as well as getting to those nasty complaints immediately while customers are still within the restaurant’s premises…Its all about timing and listening to our customers that is the key…
Thanks for the great read guys… my attention was particularly drawn to the comment made by Mr Jackson for 2 reasons. His sentiments on knowing customers and able to handle customer complaints immediately is something I have been trying to do for ages.
Which brings me to the Geteco tool you mentioned in your comment. Recently visted their website and it does provide excellent customer sentiment analysis and real time feedback management from and to customers. Love the idea of such a tool and thanks for the tip….Cheers
Great article to read, short sweet and simple. Love it.