Guest experience is the sum of experiences a hotel guest has from the moment they make a booking until after they check out. Guest experience also extends to the online realm, a place often overlooked by hoteliers in their strategy for an optimal guest experience. At GuestCompass, we refer to it as "online guest experience.
The components of guest experience each fulfill their own role. Some are self-explanatory, while others may seem obvious but are not always so in practice. Every hotel will acknowledge that the relationship with the guest is crucial and comes first. However, in practice, we often see that this relationship is minimal. After check-in, there is hardly any contact, and sometimes it only reappears when a guest leaves an online review. This is a missed opportunity, and in our opinion, the relationship with the guest should receive the attention and tools it deserves.
The performance delivered by everyone involved with the hotel affects the customer journey experience during the stay. The professional relationships among the staff also impact the guest's experience.
Generosity and memorable surprises add that extra something to the guest experience. By generosity, we mean exceeding your guests' expectations, and there are many ways to achieve this. Providing memorable surprises is one of them. These surprises don't have to be grand gestures; small extras with attention to detail create a sense of experience and appreciation. For instance, offering a drink at the bar or a coffee with a treat, a small local gift in the room, or showing consideration for personal circumstances and responding accordingly. The key is to offer something unique and slightly different from the norm, making the guest feel valued, remember your establishment, and recommend it to others. The final aspect is safety, which encompasses the safety of the guest, their fellow travelers, and their belongings. It's about the feeling the guest gets when they enter the hotel.
Those who invest in guest experience find that it yields significant benefits. Financially, it leads to increased revenue. However, guest experience also delivers substantial relational benefits. Our analyses indicate that maintaining a good relationship with guests helps prevent negative reviews and encourages guests to leave more positive reviews. It also contributes to guests returning more frequently. These marketing advantages of a positive guest experience are, in essence, invaluable. Achieving these through other means would require much more time, effort, and money.
Our clients enhance and improve their guests' experiences in multiple ways. Of course, they achieve this by providing impeccable service that, whenever possible, exceeds expectations. In addition, they excel in personalizing their interactions with guests by leveraging current technology. This personalization can be achieved through:
By utilizing technology, you can enhance your ability to maintain and optimize your relationship with guests. Numerous (web) applications are available for this purpose, and GuestCompass is one of them. A good web application eliminates the need for someone to download an app, as people are often not willing to do so anymore. Instead, it's smart to have the application run on the smartphone because people almost always have their phones with them. With this step, guests can easily communicate with the reception even before their arrival. During their stay, they can benefit from extra information and promotions, quickly report a complaint or request, or use their phone to access their room or other areas. After their stay, it's exceptionally easy to leave a review on the platform of their choice.
Trends come and go, but we observe several hospitality trends that are very intriguing and contribute to enhancing and improving the guest experience:
Reputation management: Online reviews can have a significant impact, both negatively and positively. We see that hotels are investing more time and resources to monitor, protect, and enhance their reputation.
The integration of the reception with the hotel bar: Instead of a traditional (boring) check-in at a counter, there's a welcoming entrance where guests can be offered a drink if they happen to wait during check-in or check-out. The hotel lobby becomes a meeting point where people like to gather, whether it's for a question or a drink. Accor is leading the way in this regard: within three years, no Ibis hotel worldwide will have a reception desk, but they will have a "smile team." These are multi-skilled employees who serve as front office staff, bar staff, and concierge.