Improving Guest Experience for Hotels and Vacation Rentals: Importance and Benefits
Guest experience is a crucial aspect of hospitality for hotels and vacation rentals. From the moment guests consider booking until their post-arrival interactions, their expectations shape their perception of their stay. Meeting or exceeding these expectations can foster a strong relationship and guest loyalty. However, failing to match the guest experience with expectations can result in guest dissatisfaction and potential loss of business. To thrive in the experience economy trend and attract the Next Gen guest, it is essential to understand how to enhance the guest experience. In this blog, we delve into the significance of guest experience and the benefits it brings.
A Quick Recap on Guest Experience
To refresh your memory, let's briefly summarize what guest experience entails—the what, why, and how. The guest journey begins even before guests arrive at your property. It may start with their encounter with your residence on a social media platform or their booking process on your website or app. This is where the guest experience begins. By providing a positive guest experience, you enhance guest satisfaction, increasing the likelihood of their return. Naturally, this contributes to the success of your business.
Creating a favorable first impression plays a pivotal role in generating returning guests. Perhaps you are already addressing this by crafting captivating content across your social media channels. Another effective strategy is offering guests a user-friendly reservation tool that works seamlessly across multiple devices, aligning with your brand's desired aesthetics. The more effort you invest in these areas, the greater the chances of delivering an outstanding guest experience.
The Value of Personalized Experiences
Data holds immense value for hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality players. Gathering information about guests' preferences, habits, dietary restrictions, allergies, special dates like anniversaries, and more can significantly enhance personalized guest experiences. When your team is well-informed, they can deliver exceptional results.
Studies indicate that 60% of guests who have a positive guest journey are likely to choose the same company in the future. Furthermore, 39% of these guests are willing to spend more money if their experience is personalized. Additionally, 41% of satisfied guests will enthusiastically recommend your property or restaurant to their relatives, leveraging the power of word-of-mouth advertising—an invaluable asset for businesses in the hospitality industry.
It is vital to offer continuous service to your guests. For instance, providing in-person pre-arrival correspondence allows you to address guest requests and inquiries promptly. By calling guests and providing an opportunity for last-minute questions about the hotel or vacation rental, you demonstrate a welcoming approach and expertise in the area. Leveraging your past guests is also beneficial. Utilize your CRM to coordinate and send tailored emails, enticing them to return with enticing offers.
The key to identifying opportunities for enhancing the guest experience lies in focusing on the three C's: communication (from pre-arrival to post-arrival), convenience (taking care of guests throughout their stay and beyond), and choice (providing various options that cater to their needs and preferences). Meeting these three C's leads to significant improvements in the guest experience.
Reaping the Benefits of Guest Experience
Improving guest experience holds significance for several reasons. By implementing the following seven tips, you, as an entrepreneur in the hotel and vacation rental industry, can stand out from competitors (many of whom offer similar services) and attract the next-gen guest. This approach can result in:
Enhanced online reviews and ratings
Increased referrals and word-of-mouth promotion
Higher retention rate and more returning guests
Improved revenue generation
Higher average spend per guest
Reduced operational costs, such as a lesser need for a fully occupied front office
Additionally, improving the guest experience benefits your customers directly. They will feel better treated, spend less time arranging things, and overall have a more positive perception of their stay. In summary, it's a definite win-win!
Managing Guest Experience with Software Platforms
For property management, you likely rely on a Property Management System (PMS) where guest data, such as profiles, is stored. The Point of Sale (POS) system typically plays a leading role in restaurant operations, containing information about guests' dietary preferences. To achieve optimal guest experience results, consider integrating your PMS (and POS) with an experience software platform like Holiday Hero. Depending on the integration type, guest data is seamlessly transferred into the system. While the PMS or POS is used by operators (hotels and hosts), the guest app becomes customer-facing, allowing guests to operate the tool themselves.
As a result, hotel and vacation rental software platforms are scattered throughout the guest journey. Various tools may be used by guests during different stages. During the pre-arrival (booking) stage, online travel agencies (OTAs) like Airbnb or Booking.com provide the guest experience. Hotels and hosts place their listings on these channels or utilize channel software platforms to ensure easy discoverability for guests.
Maximizing Average Spend per Guest
The subsequent phase revolves around the period between booking and arrival. Once a booking is made, it is pushed into the PMS, which typically serves as the core system for business operations. From the PMS, arrival management can be handled or pushed to other platforms, depending on the operator's preferences and available features.
Many software platforms offer localized customer support as a standard feature or add-on. However, it is crucial to compare rates. After all, you want to select a platform that helps reduce costs while enhancing the guest experience. Lastly, the platform should offer additional features such as tracking table or room turn rates, monitoring staff productivity, and diversifying revenue streams with options like ticket sales, event management, and gift cards. These elements contribute to an increased average spend per guest.
Attract the Next Generation
If you aspire to capitalize on an optimal guest experience, strive to offer customized stays that meet your customers' needs and desire for exploration and discovery. Be proactive and available 24/7. This approach not only boosts guest satisfaction but also strengthens their loyalty, resulting in more returning guests and word-of-mouth promotion. Consequently, your revenue will continually grow. Ultimately, that's what matters most to your business!