We all are aware of how a communication gap can damage any full-fledged relationship. Likewise, it is with hotels and their guests.
Hoteliers need to communicate with their guests at several stages – pre/post-booking, during their stay, and post-departure. Though handling these communications perfectly wouldn’t always bring you in a limelight but improper or dull communications can take a massive toll on your guests’ experience.
With this blog, I will give you a check on how you are lacking in terms of ideal guest communication and all the strategies you require to master it.
Why is Guest Communication Important?
Guest Communication is like a background score of your hospitality establishment. You might ignore it when it’s there, but when it is absent, you can easily sense the difference.
To set the emphasis right, here are some of the points that clearly show the importance of guest communication in the hospitality industry:
1. Earning guest loyalty
Have you ever wondered why few hotels are small-sized, but guests still choose them over other fancy ones?
Chances are that those hotels have cracked the code of establishing strong communication with their guests.
They have understood how to communicate with their guests, assist them with the issues to create a big impression, and earn their priceless loyalty.
2. Fulfill your guests’ requirements
Ideal guest communication helps in getting proper feedback from your guests. And from genuine feedback, you get to know what are the issues they are facing.
When you set up effective personal communication with your guests, you become aware of the loopholes your hospitality system has.
Consequently, you equip yourself in advance with the ways to fulfill your guests’ requirements in the future.
3. Win repeat bookings
Good communication helps in building trust between any two parties. And once you win the trust of your guests it becomes easy for them to choose you among your competitors in the industry.
In this way, you can increase the flow of repeat bookings to your hotel by many folds.
Challenges in Establishing Ideal Guest Communication
In this digital era, most of the communications you establish with your guests are automated and online.
The biggest challenge while doing so is getting feedback. Though you get to reach the masses, the masses don’t reach you back. In a way, you end up having one-way communication.
You never know if you are being received the way you intend. You can just wonder if what you are putting out to your guests is making an actual difference or not.
Besides that, there are some strategic challenges too which make the simple task of establishing communication with guests in hotels a lot more extensive.
Here are some of them:
1. Increasing digital indulgence
When you interact with the masses digitally it can create ambiguity and often end up confusing your guest. In addition to this, there are tons of companies providing different services to customers. Mostly all of them do digital marketing.
Subsequently, if you wake up to 50 notifications, it naturally will feel convenient to erase them all without even looking at what they are about.
Therefore, digital transaction of anything is easy and affordable but they cannot assure the required engagement.
2. Multi-channel communication system
Using many channels can widen the spectrum to strike conversations with your guest but at the same time, it can also bother them.
Imagine receiving the same messages on 10 different platforms!
Sounds irritating right?
Anyone would question this desperate nature and ignore such things.
3. Slow responses and ineffective services
A slow response to your guests’ queries and ineffective services when your guests need them is a mood killer.
Sometimes, till you get in touch with them or resolve their issues, it turns out that they have not waited for your response and have moved on.
Hence, you lose a guest’s reliability.
4. Unbothered or busy frontdesk
If you are a hotelier then it could get challenging for you to welcome every guest with the same enthusiasm when your frontdesk is busy.
Well, this can be a turndown for your guests because frontdesk communication sets the whole ambiance for them.
That’s why the waiting period in the lobby is the first place where hospitality should be made evident. If you fail to win your guests there, then only luck can save your image.
To overcome all these challenges, you need to work inside the framework of a few strategies I am discussing below.
Strategies to Boost Guest Communication in Hotels
Your first step should be analyzing where you lack at setting up ideal communication with your guests.
Once you are aware of your shortcomings, you will avoid investing your labor and financial resources in them.
Now, it is of utmost importance that we strategize how we communicate with guests and renew the outdated and extensive methods to do so.
Here are a few tips to help you with that:
1. Keep a regular touch
To get constant visits, there has to be a constant connection between your business and its potential or existing guests.
If you don’t do so your guests might forget to acknowledge you because it’s human nature to keep searching for better things endlessly.
Hence, it is quite a task to make someone settle for one thing, isn’t it?
But it is possible to achieve it if you maintain regular contact. It makes your guests feel comfortable, wanted, and welcomed.
So, never overlook the power of connecting with your guests via digital technology to frequently let them know about what have you upgraded, how your services have improved, what’s new and profitable for them, etc.
2. Ensure a good front desk impression
If you are bad at digital communication, it is still acceptable. But if you can’t allure people while conversing with them face to face, it can be disastrous for your hotel’s reputation. Especially when you are assigned to the job at the front desk.
Because then, you are the gateway between a guest and the hotel. It is your job to be in close proximity with your guests, handle their issues, listen to their requirements, and ensure that they are in comfort and are not feeling anxious to come to you for anything.
Though you can do everything in your power, you can’t help the situation where your frontdesk gets busy and crowded.
To combat this problem, hotels should have concierge staff to assist the guests with various additional services, in and around the hotel, that they would need. This can save your guests from waiting in queues at the frontdesk just to ask for pieces of information.
For instance, your guest Samay wants to book a cab. But unfortunately, the frontdesk is caught up. Would it be correct to keep your guest waiting? What if Samay has something urgent coming up?
This is where a concierge staff enters the screen and plays their crucial part.
Samay can simply reach out to the concierge and get himself a cab booked. Not to mention, the concierge can also help him out with other queries.
3. Introduce Chatbot on your website
While you are progressing with digital communication, hotels must have a website where people can visit and make direct bookings.
However, in these cases, guests can get confused with the information given on the website and would want instant assistance.
An innovative way to provide this is by introducing Chatbots on your website. The chatbot is a space that uses artificial intelligence for giving efficient replies to the queries of your potential guests.
The more instant and useful your replies to the queries are, the more your guests would be satisfied and look forward to booking you up.
In this way, chatbots can help you fill the communication gap at the stage of pre-booking.
4. Communicate using meaningful offerings
It is common nowadays to make your guests win exciting gifts, vouchers, discounts, and complimentary things so that you could win their loyalty in return.
And most of the time, you strike the conversation while offering any of these to your guests so that they get delighted.
Moreover, meaningful offerings can make you popular in a short period.
Well, if you offer something really exciting then your chances to win new customers increase. It is simply because word of mouth plays a tremendous role in these cases.
So, for those hoteliers who ask, “How to improve Guest Communication in their hotel?”, one of the simplest ways is to put offers on your services.
But do not put your revenue at stake for doing so. Use an appropriate Revenue Management System to put dynamic pricing on your services to optimize your revenue while giving offers.
5. Be proactive
Well, when your guests have an issue and till you solve that, there exists an awkward moment. It can impact the fluency of their stay and unknowingly creates a distance.
But imagine, if there’s no space for any issue because you have provided them with a full manual to help themselves out. Now, they would efficiently look after it without having to go with an awkward situation.
Equipping your guests with the necessary information and tools in advance so that they are left with less or no queries is what a proactive hotel does.
6. Keep a separate database for Multi-Channels
Yes, you should provide clear information to your guests but that doesn’t mean you will provide it to them ten times in a row, right?
It seems funny and irritating at the same time!
But you are probably doing that.
Do you use multi-channels to get connected with a wide spectrum of your guests but end up connecting with the same one just on different platforms?
It has to stop already because it might be bothering your guests to receive the same text as an SMS, via e-mail, WhatsApp, sites of integrated OTA’s and the list is never-ending.
To curb this, you must filter your database at regular intervals so that your messages can hit the audience one time and make an impact.
Notifying the guests continuously can motivate them to shut their doors on you.
7. Personalized and authentic interactions
I’m sure you are familiar with that feeling when someone recognizes you, even though you meet them once in a while.
That is what personalization feels like.
For instance, you have a booking in a hotel and at FrontDesk, the receptionist remembers you and what special things you have asked for the last time.
Oh, she remembers that!
What an eidetic memory!
This kind of effect can buy you LOYAL GUESTS.
Not just that, you can also play the personalization game by your actions.
Let me tell you how.
Samay comes to your hotel for a week and you can see on your PMS records that tomorrow is his birthday. Now you can surprise him by sending a cake or providing free meals or offering a discount…
He will never forget this gesture and will tell this particular incident to his friends and family for sure.
These personalized gestures will help you build a unique image of your hotel in front of your guests.
Furthermore, you should also ensure authenticity while communicating with your guests.
If you give them the accurate and right amount of information with clear instructions only then they can work around it with ease. But, if you get them confused with a hefty amount of information at once, they will simply lose interest in your services.
8. Be available and responsive
Make sure that you are not burdened with tasks all the time. To give a hospitable ambiance to your guests, ‘being available’ is necessary.
Keeping them in wait can make them skeptical about your services and willingness to fulfill their requirements.
If they hardly get any responses, then they will lose interest very quickly.
Therefore, hotel technology solutions are a Must-Have for modern accommodation properties. So that the staff won’t compromise on the hospitality of their guests in order to handle extensive operations.
9. Ensure guest satisfaction
Though as a hotelier you and your staff are always providing guests with a wonderful experience while they stay, it can become unpredictable sometimes if guests have liked it or not.
You must amplify their experience and make them overwhelmed with your services and offerings so that they get open about how they feel about your hospitality.
This can only happen if you somehow manage to maintain a friendly touch with them.
And that’s the skill you should possess to know their final feedback in advance.
Guest communication cannot be simply molded or directed with hard and fast strategies.
It can vary with different guests and their needs but you can make the place for the exceptions once you are set with the basic rules that I have mentioned above.
With these minor changes in the way you communicate with your guests, you are definitely going to see a major transformation in how your guests approach you.
As you will proceed with these tips to boost guest communication in your hotel, you will see that the communication barriers between you and your guests will fall off naturally.
Hope you had a good time reading the blog and it helped you analyze your current strategies and how to improve them!