Do you work in or own a hotel and not only want to have positive reviews from your guests, but also to grow and improve your online presence organically? Thanks to technology, social media, creativity and exceptional customer service, the hospitality industry is changing its rules.
Surveys, reports and different articles show some examples of ways hotels are charming their guests, including the tech-savvy, experience driven, pleasure seeking millennial generation. When living those experiences, guests become the best advocates to transmit a message on behalf of your hotel.
Hint: It’s more than just adding avocado toast to your breakfast menu and designing modern amenities.
How to pamper guests (new and loyal) while getting them to spread the word about just how great your hotel is
The millennial generation is known for their frequent online purchasing habits that include doing research before spending their savings. Millennials are also very present on social media. In this sense, get ahead of the game and have people (including millennials) talking about your hotel in a positive, exciting way that will attract more guests.
With so many options ranging from glamping to Airbnbs, betting on new hotels or relying on well-known hotel chains, offer guests a plus and allow them to identify with your brand on an emotional level with one or more of the following practices.
10.5 Ideas to Consider:
1. Anticipate the needs of guests. Once guests have booked their trip, ask them for more information. Are they vegan or vegetarian, do they diet restrictions? How do they like their coffee in the morning? Any special items you can stock up for their mini fridge before they arrive? If they are traveling with kids, consider offering them activities for their children so they can relax and enjoy your amenities.
2. Exceptional service. If guests are traveling from Europe to the U.S. (or vice versa) offer them a power adapter. If they are traveling for business, let them know they can send you an email with the documents needed and you can print them while they have breakfast. Some hotels also offer guests for staff to unpack and repack their suitcase. Other options are to deliver afternoon tea everyday, have fresh flowers in the room, if the hotel is pet-friendly, offer dog treats in pet friendly areas, etc. If your hotel is on a shorter budget, at least make sure the staff knows guests’ names.
3. Offer unique in-house activities such as jazz performances in the lobby or terrace, cooking classes, wine tasting in the afternoon, along with dozens of other ideas that can be scheduled on a weekly or monthly basis. Give guests a chance to enjoy their stay at your hotel, live a new experience and learn something new they will tell their friends, colleagues and family when they go home. Think outside the box: maybe your staff have unique skills they can share with guests. For instance, can someone from your team take guests on a morning run or teach a painting class?
4. Incorporate cultural touchstones to the rooms and hotel’s interior design. Do not miss out on the chance of highlighting local elements of the city or region where the hotel is located. Local toiletries, menu options with signature flavors of that region, local artwork on the hotel walls and other native culture inspired elements will add more personality to the hotel and guests can have a deeper connection to that culture or city.
5. WiFi can be the reason guests choose your hotel over another. But don’t stop there, sometimes the thought of adding technology can seem expensive, however, budgets in all sizes can afford texting with the front desk, or maybe even allow guests to log into their Netflix accounts on the room’s TV. Higher budgets can weigh in the possibility of adding soundbars guests can connect to their cellphone or other devices so they can listen to their music or Spotify with quality sound. Some hotels have even started to adopt new technology so that smartphones unlock doors, have unique applications created, along with other initiatives.
6. Always stay active on social media. Have an active presence on the networks you choose, but also monitor what guests and the community say about the hotel (social media monitoring tools can help with that). Always answer all comments made to the hotel. Also, do not ignore the negative comments or feedback. Be transparent, ask for more information and offer sincere help.
7. Already on social media? Add User Generated Content (UGC) into the mix. Guests can be excellent photographers or storytellers, they might just need some inspiration. In this sense, hotels can design unique spaces that are Instagram-worthy and even start a contest that will make guests talk about the hotel with their followers.
8. Eco-friendly and sustainability. A Nielson 2015 report indicated that globally, 66% of consumers are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand (73% when talking about millennials.) With different certifications available, hotels can be more responsible in terms of environment and their community. This is also an opportunity where you can involve more people that work with the hotel: invite guests and hotel staff to your reforestation day and offer an extra discount if they attend, mention or include pictures of the local farmers some produce is bought from, offer organic, vegetarian and vegan options, etc.
9. Host guests while providing a unique experience in the city. Help newcomers skip confusing research and embrace the opportunity to be a city host. Give guests some information about the city’s history, its cultural landmarks and popular attractions. Offer them alternatives that match their lifestyle, whether they are food junkies, fitness and health fans or history and art connoisseurs. We get it, having dozens of brochures and maps can be impractical, so an easy way to share your knowledge as a local host in a friendly, digital way is with Arrivedo Neighborhood Guides.
10. Don’t forget about your rewards program. Make it attractive and exciting for both loyal and new guests to come back to your hotel or chain every time they travel. A couple of dollars spent can result in dozens of more bookings. Ever thought of an ambassador program? Find your future ambassadors in the pool of guests that already picked your brand from the competition.
10.5 Extra tip: don’t try too hard. Millennials don’t like to labeled, so always be open to new ideas but stay genuine and respectful. They won’t believe if a 50 year old calls them “bro.”
The hospitality industry is evolving and as a hotelier, you want to catch up with competitors such as Airbnb while also wanting to satisfy the needs of as many guests as you can. From baby boomers to millennials and from your country to other countries and cultures all over the world, the idea can be scary and challenging, but it can also be refreshing and exciting.
Hotels have become more than a place people spend a few nights, they are now spaces where people can work, play, eat, relax, and learn. Hotels can have hip or modern furniture, acai bowls on their breakfast menu and even rent selfie sticks to guests. However, outstanding practices come from those working at the hotel and their commitment to providing excellent customer service, because the smallest details and interactions can make the difference between an average experience to a moment in history they want to share.
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Born and raised in Mexico City, however, most of my life-changing experiences have happened either while traveling to different countries or to a nonfamiliar neighborhood just a few blocks from home. As trivial as it may seem, an event or a place can ignite thousands of stories, many of which deserve to be told! I’m a writer looking to get rid of the line between your comfort zone and your next adventure.