Responding to guests’ requests and needs for information is at the heart of hospitality. However, it’s not enough to be reactive anymore, we have to be proactive. For an effective communication strategy, it’s time to embrace proactively reaching out to your guests via messaging or email – whether that be pre-stay guest communication or at any other stage of the guest journey.
Pre-stay guest communication sets the right expectations
Imagine, you’re a guest who just booked an upgrade to your room, hoping to enjoy access to an exclusive lounge which comes with nice extras. When you arrive at the front desk of the hotel, they inform you that the exclusive lounge (and also the nice extras) is temporarily closed due to renovations. You end up being disappointed even before your stay has begun.
It is essential as a hotel to reach out to your future guests in these types of circumstances and set the right expectations. Let your guests who booked the executive room know that the exclusive lounge has temporarily been closed. This can be done in a number of ways: automate an informative pre-stay email, WhatsApp or SMS to be sent out a couple of days before check-in, so you can avoid unnecessary disappointments. Don’t leave it up to the guest to find out for themselves, become their point of contact for their whole stay, and create better guest relationships.
Check-in using automated guest communication while guests are still on site
Let’s continue with the previous example: you just got disappointed and when you go to your room, you notice your view looks out on the street and not the sea. Yet another disappointment but you can’t be bothered to go down and queue at the front desk to complain about it. Then, you receive an SMS from the hotel asking you how your stay is going. You decide to let them know that your view is disappointing. They promptly reply that they will switch you to a new and better room. What could’ve been a bad experience turned into a positive one, leaving you feeling well taken care of.
By checking in on how your guests are feeling while they’re still on the property, you are able to capture any bad experiences before they leave. Automate a process where a WhatsApp or SMS is sent after check-in asking how their stay is going so far. Or send them an email with an in-stay survey, to maximize your reach.
Once the guest leaves, the journey isn’t over
Imagine again that you’re that guest who didn’t get access to the exclusive lounge. When you check-out, you leave the hotel slightly disappointed of not having enjoyed that special lounge and its extras you had been dreaming about. A few days later you receive a survey invitation, which you fill in honestly: you were disappointed you weren’t told the lounge was closed. You receive an apology for the inconvenience explaining the unusual circumstances that led to the miscommunication and they offer you a discount code for your next stay. Instead of leaving a negative review online complaining about an overpriced upgrade, you decide to take them up to their offer and return another time.
Once a guest leaves your hotel, the guest experience doesn’t end there. Proactively reaching out to them for feedback helps you to understand where improvements can be made, and you can even make up for disappointing experiences by responding well to even the most negative feedback. Often, guests understand that oversights happen, it’s the manner that disappointing situations are dealt with that counts. A good and honest management response can turn around negative experiences, and increase loyalty.
Automating your outbound communication – pre-, in-, and post-stay – allows you to streamline your strategy across the hotel organization. By proactively reaching out to your guests you can maximize your opportunity as a brand to create great experiences at every stage of the guest journey.