Tips To Improve Guest Communication In Hotels
In the hospitality industry, communication is everything. Hotels need to have a cordial relationship with their guests, otherwise, they will not consider your hotel to be a contender amongst the competitors. Guest communication in hotels goes through various stages - pre-booking, booking, stay, and post-stay.
Inefficient communications can take a massive toll on customer relationship management. It can harm your business as well. To help hoteliers, new and established ones, we have listed 8 tips to improve guest communication in hotels.
Hotel Guest Communication - Why It Is Important?
Guest communication in hotels is like salt in a dish. You might not notice its presence, but you will notice its absence. Communication is essential for any service-oriented industry, especially the hospitality industry. To understand its importance, we need to dive into detail.
1. Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is the most important part of any business relationship. Gaining new customers is one thing, but retaining their loyalty is a whole new ball game. Hotels need to establish strong communication with their guests to build customer loyalty. Loyal and repeat customers provide higher returns compared to new and/or one-time customers.
2. Gets Repeat Bookings
Repeat bookings provide higher returns to the hotel since it takes fewer resources to gain repeat customers compared to gaining new customers. For repeat customers, you can send them an email to encourage them to book a room at your property. Since you already have the data, you can easily reach them. For this, you require efficient and smooth communication in hotels.
3. Guest Needs
Fulfilling the guest requirements promptly is the bare minimum for hotels. That can only be achieved through efficient guest communications. Receiving proper feedback from the guests also helps improve service quality. Proper guest communication in hotels is essential for solving any flaws the property has.
The Challenges Of Guest Communication In Hotels
As with any other process, hotel guest communication also faces several challenges. Before we explain the various tips, we need to understand the various challenges the hotels face while establishing contact with guests.
With most of the communication now being automated and impersonal, it can be difficult to keep track. This brings in various strategic challenges while establishing communications with guests. We have elaborated on them here in detail:
1. Communication Overload
In the good old days, the hotels only had to deal with guests when they were booking, and when they were staying. The moment they left, the marketing cycle was concluded. However, times have changed now. Hotels and guests communicate with each other on various mediums and during various stages.
Emails, OTAs, Google My Business, Social Media etc., have made guest communication in hotels even more complicated and hectic. Imagine, you as a reputation manager, have to reply to reviews on 5 platforms and reply to communication on various social media platforms.
From the guest side as well, it is challenging. Imagine you open your phone and see 60 notifications, you will simply clear them rather than read all of them. So challenges are there on both sides.
2. Two-Way Communication, One-Way Effort
Hotels need to understand that even though communication is a two-way street, efforts have to be entirely taken by the hotel. The customer does not have the time to reach out to each individual hotel for bookings, they will simply select the option that is in front of them and will choose that option, or any other option they like.
Hotels, however, cannot slack around and hence, they need to take all the effort to keep the communication going. So it is the responsibility of the hospitality businesses to encourage the actual and potential customers to keep the communication going on.
3. Multi-Channel Communication
Multi-Channel Communication is one of the most challenging aspects for the hotel. Hotels need to handle OTAs, GMB, hotel websites and even multiple social media accounts. On average, a serious hospitality business needs to handle at least 7 - 8 platforms. This creates confusion and stress, both for the hotels and the guests.
Hotels have to keep a dedicated team whose only job is to manage guest communications in a timely manner without any interruptions or lapses. Any mistake can cost the business dearly. The hotel guests also get annoyed if they get the same message from multiple channels.
For example, imagine a guest who is bombarded by promotional emails, gets more messages from their social media profile. They will surely get annoyed.
4. Slow Responses (And No Responses)
“No responses or slow responses, which is worse?” is a question that is not worth answering, because both should be avoided. The main principle of hotel guest communication is to ensure that the response is appropriate and timely. No responses, slow responses, and ineffective services are sure-shot ways to ruin your relationship with the customer.
5. Front Desk Management
The front desk sets the tone and ambience of the hotel. It is understandably difficult for the front desk staff to attend to all the guests enthusiastically. The reasons include exhaustion, workload and several guests being in front of them at the same time. However, seeing unenthusiastic and unbothered front desk staff will only make the guests frustrated.
Strategies To Improve Guest Communication In Hotels
With so many challenges in front of hoteliers and their staff, managing hotel guest communication is a task. However, we have devised certain strategies that will boost guest communication in hotels. This will help you maintain hotel guest relationships.
1. Keep Regular Contact
You can only keep positive contact with your guest only after keeping regular contact with them. The hotel guest does not have all the time to search your property specifically or even the knowledge about your property.
You need to first establish contact with the guests, and then maintain regular contact with them if you want to gain profitable returns from them. Respond to their reviews, send them attractive newsletters and use WhatsApp marketing - the possibilities and tactics are endless. Hotels need to make the guest feel loved and wanted. They should consider you special vis-a-vis your competitors.
2. Optimize Front Desk Operations
You may or may not survive bad communication in the digital sphere. However, you will be ruined if your front desk is not able to keep the customers happy. The front desk is the bridge between the hotel and the guests. It is the job of the front desk manager to close the guest, manage their issues and keep them satisfied with your service.
However, when the front desk is busy and crowded, it becomes difficult for the staff to manage the load. That’s why it is essential to have a concierge staff to assist the guests with various additional services, such as booking a taxi or arranging a tour. This helps relieve some burden from the front desk and also helps in improving guest communication in hotels.
3. Use Personalized Marketing
Each guest is an individual and hence, they need to be targeted with personalized marketing based on their wants, needs and characteristics. Email and Whatsapp marketing is the best medium to engage in personalized guest communication in hotels.
With email marketing, you can curate email copies based on the demographics and personality of each guest segment. WhatsApp is also an efficient tool for marketing since you easily get in touch with the guests, and also individually communicate with them at any stage of the hotel marketing cycle - pre-booking, booking, post-booking, stay and post-stay.
However, the most important component of personalized marketing during the stay is the front desk. They set the tone of the relationship. The front desk should keep note of all the queries made by the guests at the time of booking and then confirm with them again. For example, if the guests have chosen gluten-free food, the receptionist should confirm with them and also inform the other staff to make arrangements for them.
4. Separate Data Base For Multiple Channels
Organisational structure is everything in the hospitality business. Hence, you need to maintain a separate database for each channel to manage them efficiently. Dumping all the information into one database will make your job difficult. It will also lead to you sending one guest the same message from multiple platforms, which is bound to annoy them. That’s why you need to filter your database to ensure that the guests receive one piece of info from one medium.
With these steps, you can improve guest communication in hotels and build a better relationships with your customers. Read our blogs to know more about the various concepts, trends and challenges in the hotel industry.