Have you ever been stuck on hold for what feels like an interminable amount of time, only to be juggled between various automated voice message systems? In some cases, you might have just hung up, frustrated with the entire process. Nothing beats the human touch (or voice, in this case) and that goes double for industries whose primary job is to interact with the public, such as the hospitality industry. Good customer service can go a long way towards building a loyal customer base, spreading positive word of mouth referrals, and boosting sales. One major hotel management solution is being attentive to how your guests feel, what their needs are, and ensuring that every member of the staff is courteous, attentive, and informative at all times. Running a well-controlled hotel, with the help of hospitality management software systems keeps guests happy.
Tips for Attracting Customers to Your Hotel
Technology has certainly changed the way people travel. Indeed, over half of people use their cell phones to find information pertaining to their travels and the average research session is around 17 before the person actually books. Mobile searches in the travel category have gone up by more than 50% and interestingly enough, even though almost half of travelers research on their cell phones and make their final booking decision there, they move to another device to actually book.
Making sure your website and information is readily accessible online and easy to navigate — as well as optimized for mobile — can make a big difference. If a traveler has six or seven open tabs for hotels, you want to make sure yours stands out from the crowd. Having a live chat feature offers great customer service and lets the person ask targeted questions and get the answers he or she needs fast.
Almost 75% of travelers return to a spot they’ve been before, so a first time guest to your hotel is a chance to make a good impression — and to make them want to come back and stay with you every time. Having a flexible cancellations policy, the ability to book online, friendly and helpful staff, and a welcoming environment are crucial to making a guest’s experience above and beyond.
Interact with guests or attract potential new guests using social media. Fun, tasteful pictures on Instagram, well timed Tweets, and updates on your Facebook page can all help engage guests — as well as providing a platform for feedback. If there are negative comments, address those and show that you’re working to remedy them, or offer the guest a service or discount to woo them back, if possible. Following the old adage, “The customer is always right,” can only help you in these kinds of situations.
Advertise locally, as well and keep in mind there are always people looking to travel, even on “off-season” times. For example, three out of four travelers hope to do a weekend getaway this winter — vacations aren’t just for summer!
Why Customer Service Matters
Having bad customer service can have a hugely negative impact on your sales and reputation. CEB research shows that over 95% of customers who ended up having to put in a significant amount of effort with a company over an issue are more likely to be disloyal and go elsewhere next time. In 2011, Harris Interactive/RightNow reported that almost 90% of customers just stopped doing business with a company, over a bad customer experience.
Alternatively, even just building loyalty with 5% more customers could net you a better profit between 25-100% per customer on average. Dissatisfied customers also tend to leave reviews that are negative, as a way of expressing their frustration. And given that other than price and location, 50% of travelers check out customer reviews before booking a hotel before anything else, bad reviews can have a hard hitting effect.
All in all — customer service matters. Make sure you’re investing the time and energy to make sure it’s done right and that your guests feel well taken care of and satisfied.