Three Practical Ways to Improve Your Hotel’s Guest Experience

Create personal experiences, improve your check-in process, and take advantage of existing hotel technology.

When it comes to hotels, the guest experience is king. A positive experience can lead to repeat business, rave reviews, and a strong reputation, while a negative experience can damage a hotel's reputation and bottom line. In this article, we'll discuss several ways to improve your hotel’s guest experience, from understanding guest needs to utilizing technology to enhance their stay.

Why It’s so Important

Before we dive into specific ways to improve the guest experience, it's important to understand why it matters so much. Basically, guests talk about their experience. Back in the day, before the internet was a thing, guests used to only talk to their friends, neighbors, and associates. That was it!

These days, when someone posts a hotel review online, they’re broadcasting to anyone who is willing to listen. Therein lies the rub. On the one hand, a great experience leads to positive online reviews that ultimately increase your hotel revenue. On the other hand, a horrible experience results in scathing reviews that will drive people away and harm your hotel's reputation for a long time to come.

It stands to reason that in today's competitive hospitality industry, you cannot afford to provide mediocre service.

What Your Guests Need

First, we need to understand what your guests are looking for. An easy way to do this is through your existing reviews and guest feedback – that means analyzing online reviews, feedback from guest surveys, personal interactions with guests, or even comments on social media platforms. Listen to what they’re saying.

It’s particularly important to consider both positive and negative comments. As a Hotelier and/or GM, you will do your utmost to satisfy your guests, but there will always be some who will never be pleased. So, take the bad reviews with a pinch of salt, and don’t forget to counterbalance them with the positives.

Once you have a clear understanding of what your guests are looking for, you can then tailor your offerings and services to meet their needs.

3 Ways to Improve Hotel Guest Experience

Here are three specific ways to enhance your guest experience:

1. Create Personalized Experiences: By tailoring experiences to your guests’ preferences, you can create a unique and memorable stay. Personalization can include everything from welcome drinks and activity recommendations to a simple wrapped chocolate square on a pillow. While you may be offering the exact same service to everyone, even the smallest gesture will show that you care.

Wrapped gift on hotel bed

a. Offer Surprise Amenities or Gifts: Surprise guests with unexpected amenities or gifts, such as a complimentary bottle of wine or a personalized note.

b. Celebrate Special Occasions with Guests: Recognize special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, and honeymoons with special touches like room decorations, celebratory treats, or a complimentary upgrade.

c. Provide Personalized Attention and Service: Train staff to remember guest names, preferences, and to anticipate their needs. From offering restaurant recommendations to providing extra towels, personalized attention can go a long way in making guests feel valued.

i. Use the 5/10 rule

The 5/10 rule is a hospitality industry standard that states that staff members should make eye contact and smile at guests who are within 5 feet of them and acknowledge them in some way within 10 feet. This simple rule can go a long way in making guests feel welcomed and appreciated.

2. Ensure an Easy Check-in Process: No guest wants to spend hours waiting in line to check in. It sets a bad tone for the entire stay, so make sure to get this process right. If your front desk is taking more than 5 minutes to check in a guest, you need to be reviewing the process. Now, more than ever, you can use technology to streamline processes like mobile check-in, keyless entry, and mobile payment options.

Of course, none of this can replace the importance of genuinely kind and welcoming reception staff who smile and truly care about your guests. If your front desk staff aren’t truly kind people, they are not meant for that role. In fact, it’s the one criterion that’s crucial when hiring your hotel front desk staff.

3. Utilize Technology to Enhance Your Guest Experience: Technology can be used to improve your guest experience in a variety of ways, from personalized recommendations to chatbots that provide 24/7 support.

Woman using AI in hotel room

Use automation to improve your customer service. Remember that your guests will have plenty of questions before and after booking.

“What time can I check-in?”

“Can I store my luggage for the day?”

“Do you provide shuttle service?”

These common questions and hundreds of others can be instantly answered without a receptionist. It’s a simple tool to enhance your guest experience. Guests won’t have to wait for anyone to get their answers. And you won’t need to hire someone to sit around 24/7, answering the same questions over and over. That’s our area of expertise at GuestChat. We customize those answers specifically for your hotel.

Bonus suggestion:

Solve Your Guests’ Problems

No matter how well a hotel prepares, there will always be some issue or complaint that arises. It's part and parcel of what it means to run a hotel. Hotel management is all about putting out metaphorical fires - solving problems all day, every day.

Address problems quickly before they get out of hand.

1. Listen Carefully to Guest Complaints: Allow guests to voice their concerns fully and actively listen to their feedback.

2. Be Empathetic: Show understanding and empathy for the guest's situation and demonstrate a willingness to help. Recap what they’ve told you to make sure that they know that you understand their situation.

3. Offer Solutions: Provide specific solutions to the guest's problem and follow through to ensure it is resolved to their satisfaction.

Putting it all together

Creating a positive guest experience is essential for any hotel looking to succeed in the hospitality industry. Not only does it lead to repeat business and positive reviews, but it also enhances the hotel's reputation and revenue. By understanding the guests' needs, providing personalized experiences, ensuring an easy check-in process, and utilizing technology, hotels can enhance their guests' experience and exceed their expectations. Remember, addressing problems quickly and effectively is also critical in providing exceptional customer service. So go ahead and start implementing these practical ways to improve your hotel's guest experience and watch your hotel thrive.