The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost every industry. But if there’s one industry that is significantly impacted by the pandemic, it has to be the hospitality industry. Hotel owners and managers can vouch for this. They had their books empty, rooms vacant, and revenue nosedived. So much so that many had no option left other than furloughing their employees until things were back on track.
And since things are now getting back to normal, owing to the nationwide vaccination drive, hotels are reopening and getting their staff back. According to The United Nations, World Tourism Organization estimated a 98% drop in international tourist arrivals in May 2020.
But hotel businesses are yet to overcome the final hurdle: how can they offer exceptional guest experience while remaining competitive throughout the process? Especially when customers have health and safety concerns because of COVID-19. According to research published in Forbes, found that the average number of days between booking to check-in has been reduced by 50 days (down -37.5% from the average lead time pre-pandemic).
Here are a few ways through which hotel businesses can ensure improved guest experience post the pandemic:
It’s no secret that people are refraining from traveling for fear of contracting the virus. And if anything is going to make their travel amidst the pandemic, it is COVID-19 health and safety measures put in place by hotels and hostels around the world.
With increased scrutiny on cleanliness due to COVID-19, search data cites that 45% of travelers included enhanced cleaning within their top three decision-making
Hotel businesses should update their safety and sanitation procedures to match the current health and safety needs of their guests. This is vital to make guests feel safe and meet their high expectations around hotel sanitation efforts.
Here is a checklist of new safety and sanitation procedures hotels should follow;
● Intense room cleaning
● Using new sheets and bathroom essentials for every guest
● Giving free hand sanitizer to guests
● Additional cleaning downtime in between stays
● Staff wearing personal protective equipment
● Offering free personal protective equipment to guests
● Allowing fewer people to sit in bars and lobbies
● Automated, touch-free check-in processes
● No housekeeping during guest stay
Implementing new standard operating procedures (SOPs) will have a tremendous impact on your guests' experience and help them have a safe and healthy stay in your hotel.
When looking to improve guest experience, many hotel managers overlook the importance of listening to guest feedback and taking necessary actions on it. Seldom do they realize that it can either make or break their business.
Guest feedback can help hotel managers and owners know if they are standing true to their customers’ expectations and whether guests are enjoying their stay at the hotel or not. If they find negative feedback, they can take the necessary steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen with another guest. Every action will eventually help them provide a smooth and eventful experience to their guests.
For collecting feedback, hotel managers can take advantage of feedback management and guest experience tools that make capturing feedback a breeze.
Most people find guest reviews more beneficial than personal recommendations, guidebooks, and tourist boards when it comes to travel planning. They read reviews on the internet before booking a hotel and are more likely to book a hotel with higher ratings and better reviews than those with no reviews or poor ratings. So, one thing is clear: hotel owners and managers need to take immediate actions on guest reviews if improving guest experience is their priority.
When answering your guest reviews, keep the answers simple and try to personalize your response. And if you can show gratitude for their honest reviews, it will make a world of difference to your bottom line. Even a simple “Thank You” can work like a charm. Add an example of how hotels respond to negative reviews as well.
For example, A guest left feedback for a hotel they stayed at, this is what they wrote, “Overall experience was nice, however only if the hotel management allowed us to takeaways to our rooms, it would have been a great experience.” to which the hotel management responded, “We appreciate you taking out time to provide us your valuable feedback. We constantly work to improve your experience with us. We have a top-notch team of multi-cuisine cooks, who work hard to prepare delicious food to soothe our guests. We want our guests to enjoy these in-house delicacies along with a soothing view and ambiance. Please accept our sincere apologies that may have caused any troubles during your stay with us, and to compensate for that, for your next stay with us, your lunch/dinner will be on us. Our team will get back to you soon to help you with further details. Once again thank you and we look forward to your future visits.”
Follow up after booking
In the hospitality industry, the customer experience begins before check-in and right after booking. As soon as someone books a room in your hotel, send them an appreciation and confirmation email to thank them for choosing your facility and confirm their accommodation. Plus, ask them if there’s anything you can do to make their stay more comfortable or if they have special requirements. Such follow-ups can leave a positive impression on your guests and encourage them to recommend your hotel to their friends or colleagues who may be traveling to your location in the future.
The good news is that people have resumed traveling, though they are a bit cautious when spending a night in a hotel or even have thought while booking where they wish to stay. This makes paying attention to guest experience vital for hotel managers and owners.
Hotel businesses will need to update their safety and sanitation procedures, take action on guest feedback, and more to make sure that their guests have a safe and comfortable time at their premises.
For hotel owners looking to gather customer feedback to improve the overall guest experience, our product, Dropthought, can help.
Feel free to get in touch with us to know what it can do for you.