How To Make Your Hotel Guests Feel Special
There is nothing quite like a stay in a top-of-the-line luxury hotel. Smaller establishments may think that they cannot replicate that experience due to a restricted budget. The reality is that what sets luxury hotels apart isn't actually the luxuries. It is the people who work there and the treatment of the guests that cause customers to return home with the sense that they have been treated so well. The three most essential elements to guest relations can be replicated by even smaller hotel lines.
Know Your Guests
Guests want to feel special. The ability to give that experience begins with knowing your customers as well as possible. One of the simplest avenues to this goal is guest questionnaires and surveys. A pre-visit questionnaire will allow you to personalize your guests' experience.
Once a guest has made a reservation, it is imperative that you follow up with an email that thanks them for choosing your hotel, and asks a set of curated questions that give you insight into their wants, needs and interests. Find out what they intend to do in the area, what kind of foods they enjoy and whether they will need activities for children. No piece of information is too small. Not only will they find a cozy robe, a mint on the pillow and perhaps a lovely mens Aran knitwear sweater to cut the night chill, but also a collection of items that will make them feel known, seen and special.
Perhaps you can provide menus to restaurants they might like or brochures to activities they may be interested in. Maybe you can even partner with other local businesses to provide discounts and coupons to your guests. And packets of their favorite coffee won't go unappreciated. These efforts don't need to cost your business anything more than some time and effort, but they will impress your guests.
Hire and Train the Perfect Employees
There may be no business in which customer care is more essential to its success than the hospitality industry. Great customer service begins with hiring and then training incredible staff.
Hiring the right people is so important in the hotel business, that it is a good idea to include some kind of personality assessment in the hiring process, even for entry-level positions. You should be looking for outgoing people with a strong sense of empathy and a real desire to make others happy. You can train staff in the details of their specific jobs, but you can't teach them to be people persons.
When it comes to training, you need to be very specific in the details of the guest experience and in sharing your brand with your staff. If your employees are uncertain of their job responsibilities, customer service is bound to suffer.
Strive To Say Yes
Embrace an attitude saying yes to your guests and train your staff that way as well. Nothing differentiates a high-end hotel from a less prestigious one more than this. Make sure employees understand that, regardless of their assigned duties, customer care is their number one job.
If a guest asks the elevator operator for some fresh towels the answer should be "Of course!". A reply along the lines of "That's not my job", should be unacceptable. If the operator doesn't know where to get towels, he can always pass the request on to housekeeping once the guest has gone on their way. When a guest has a wish, they should get an affirmative answer whenever possible from whoever they encounter. On the rare occasion that the request is not achievable, only upper management staff who have been trained in guest relations should be cleared to give a negative answer.
When it comes to customer experience, great employees and good treatment will trump fancy soaps and Egyptian sheets every day. Establish processes that allow you to know your guests before they ever get to the front desk, hire friendly, positive and care-oriented employees, and make it a policy to say "yes" to your guests as much as possible. If you do, you'll be seeing those guests again and quite possibly a few of their friends as well.
Author: Paisley Hansen