During high season, hotels increase room rates as demand rises, and with higher rates come higher expectations from guests. Yet with staff struggling to keep up with the volume of arrivals and departures and facilities often running at full capacity, hotels are not always in the best position to meet the expectations of every guest.
To ensure that your hotel’s standards don’t fall during high season, follow this checklist:
If you wait for high season to hit before calling in reinforcements, it may be too late to prevent complaints. Start the planning process well in advance.
A top priority in high season is to ensure you hire and train sufficient staff. This includes training employees to provide efficient service, empowering staff to resolve problems on property, cross-training employees in other departments and scheduling staff prudently and liberally to accommodate rushes. Bear in mind that high season guests are often higher maintenance, and a bad review can be costlier to your hotel than a few hours of overtime. During busy times, ensure that managers are on the floor supporting and motivating staff, handling guest issues, and showing leadership.
Be sure to whip your property into shape while it’s still slow and housekeeping and maintenance staff can access rooms and facilities. This means conducting a detailed inspection of rooms and facilities, undertaking repairs and maintenance where necessary and a deep cleaning of all rooms and facilities.
Don’t let yourself be caught short on supplies and amenities when you need them most. Conduct a full accounting of inventory prior to the start of high season and ensure that you have ample stock on hand. Don’t forget to ensure that your Wi-Fi system has sufficient bandwidth to meet demand during a full house.
Open, proactive communication among employees and departments is critical during peak season. Ask employees to arrive in advance of their shifts for pre-shift briefings, and use staff memo boards and logbooks to share information like occupancy stats, availability, events, VIPs and incidents.
Technology can play a pivotal role in creating efficiencies and enhancing guest service. This may include:
• Ensuring that your website, booking engine and PMS are user-friendly, fast and effective.
• Using a CRM system to send pre-stay emails to guests to help them plan their stay in advance.
• Offering online check-in and checkout options to reduce traffic at the front desk.
• Allowing guests to make requests by text message or mobile app to reduce phone calls and lines.
• Using guest management software to track guest requests.
• Using ReviewPro’s In-stay Surveys to solicit guest feedback on property and fix problems before guests check out.
Ensure that staff have the knowledge and resources they need to help guests plan activities on property and make the most of their stay. This includes information on local services, activities and dining, special programs and amenities for children and a list of staff who speak foreign languages.
Breakfast is a common source of complaints during the busy season, especially for hotels that offer a complimentary option. Prevent lines at the buffet, waits for food and depleted supplies by ensuring adequate staffing, training, clean tables, food supplies, and cutlery. Service equipment to ensure it runs smoothly.
Keeping up with reviews is especially important during high season because more guests are shopping for hotels. And yet many hotels fall behind due to the high volume of reviews posted. Make time to monitor reviews and social media comments closely, and strive to maintain at least two responses to your 10 most recent reviews. That’s all most travelers read before booking a hotel.
Complaints during high season are far from inevitable, but preventing them requires planning well in advance, anticipating needs, and being highly responsive to guest feedback!