There are many things a hotel can do to steer a guest towards a competitor, but some faux paus stand out among the rest.
When it comes to an overnight stay, guests want an experience that is relaxing and revitalizing. Regardless if your patron is travelling for business or pleasure, your hotel should be a home away from home. Ironically though, when it comes to cleanliness, your guests want a retreat even more meticulously kept than their own abode.
The fact that hotels staff numerous employees with the sole responsibility to keep surfaces pristine should make this a non-issue; however, a cursory glance through Tripadvisor will yield numerous reviews regarding nightmarish hotel stays attributed to poor housekeeping. Consider implementing some type of accountability system where more than one person scans each room after a cleaning. This will ensure that no toilet goes unscoured and no tub goes unscrubbed. Patrons should not see reminders of past guests.
If dirt and grime doesn’t send your guests running for the hills, a hotel staff with bad attitudes absolutely will. Your staff needs to be trained in the art of providing exceptional customer service while enduring challenging circumstances.
Many hotels have professionalism guidelines when it comes to how their employees should interact with guests; however, giving your staff opportunities to practice using conflict management strategies before actually using them on guests will bode well for guest and employee alike. Provide them examples of frequently encountered conflicts, and give them specific feedback on how you would like them to navigate that type of interaction when they are around guests. Large scale conflict between employee and guest can absolutely sully a patron’s impression of a hotel, but even slightly unfriendly behavior can cause a guest to look for alternative lodging.
Ensure that your employees are attentive to their guests; their phones need to be put away, they need to mitigate any additional outside distractions, and they need to give each guests their complete time and attention, making them feel valued and respected.
Long Check-in Lines at the Frontdesk
Another way to ensure your guests know you hold them in high esteem is to illustrate that you value their time. Many hotels are escapes for vacationers looking to experience something different. A significant amount of time, attention, and planning goes into planning a trip. It is highly probable that your guests have already spent a portion of their day travelling. They likely have waited through security, waited for bags, or waited for a taxi.
When your guests must wait in long check-in lines at your hotel, you communicate to them that your hotel does not believe their vacation time to be valuable. In fact, Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research found that as soon as US hotel guests have to wait 5 minutes at the front desk to check-in, guest satisfaction levels drop by 50%. Consider utilizing a mobile check-in service such as OpenKey to expedite the check in process. We’ve found that doing so decreases frontdesk traffic by around 20%.
Slow Response to Guest Requests
Not only were check-in lines a frequent cause for complaint on TripAdvisor but also slow responses to guests requests. Each time a hotel guests is waiting on something from a staff member, precious vacation time dwindles away. Put systems in place to respond quickly and efficiently to requests.
Have staff at all levels respond to guest requests and measure response times. Implement ideas to mitigate guest requests. Consider having the top requested items available on every floor, so staff doesn't have to walk to the lobby to obtain them. Find small ways to impact your guests’ experiences in big ways.
Skimping on the Extras
While consumers value their time, they also value their amenities. Consumers are incredibly savvy, and even an infrequent hotel guest can discern if a hotel is trying to cut corners. To save money hotels will often do certain things to cut costs such as decreasing the number of towels they put in a room or only providing small items such as toothbrushes upon request.
These small downgrades speak volumes to your guests. When guests inevitably call the front desk to request items, many hotel managers don’t consider the manpower being squandered for each delivery request.
When possible, luxuriously stock your hotel rooms. Supply your guests with extra towels, pillows, soap, toothbrushes, coffee, and water bottles. Your staff will be required to make fewer deliveries, and your guests will feel that their needs both expressed and unexpressed are being met.