Returning guests: the holy grail for hoteliers. All guests are valuable to the hotel industry, but repeat visitors are the foundation of long-term success. Loyal guests not only boost your revenue, they are also less price sensitive and tend to spend more money during their stay.
They are also great ambassadors for your business. According to Nielsen
, 92% of consumers say they trust word-of-mouth recommendations over any advertising. Loyal customers will often post on Facebook or share photos of their stay on Instagram, which can help attract new customers.
In other words, they guarantee sales.
But it’s not that simple. There’s the argument that the majority of guests come to your hotel for the location rather than the hotel itself. So, if they’re highly unlikely to return, why bother rolling out the red carpet?
But consider this. It’s eight times more expensive to acquire a new customer than resell to a current one. This stat might relate to retail, but it also applies to the hotel industry.
Truth is, turning one-time visitors into repeat guests is not the easiest of tasks for hotel owners. The first step is making a good impression.
How to make a good impression
Guest expectations have risen significantly over the last few years, as has the online review culture. Guests have become increasingly reliant on reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor and Expedia.
The best way to encourage more positive reviews and repeat visitors to your hotel is by making a good first impression.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression, but there are plenty of ways you can create the right impression on your guests – a process that can start before they even arrive.
First up, you want to make sure your website and online presence accurately represents your hotel and the service guests will receive during their stay. Use imagery to show every detail of someone’s potential stay at your hotel.
Once a guest arrives, you want them to step into a pleasing environment. This includes the environment outside the hotel as well as the one inside. Make sure your hotel is clearly signposted, and that it’s clean and tidy inside and out, that the reception area is welcoming (flowers are always a good shout), and that staff are friendly and warm when speaking with guests.
Finally – and perhaps the best way of attracting repeat visitors – is to give them a good night’s sleep. A recent study by J D Power revealed that quality of sleep ranks as one of the most important elements of a guest’s experience
. Nothing will make your guests happier than a comfortable bed and pillows!
Tips on how to gain repeat visitors
The more you’re able to impress your guests, the more likely they will want to return to your hotel. But with so much competition, how do you make your hotel stand out from the rest?
Here are seven tips on how to ensure your guests want to come back time and time again.
1 Welcome them before they’ve even arrived
Hotel bookings are often made a long time in advance, so it’s important to create a good impression before your guests even step foot through the door. Let them know you are looking forward to their arrival and of any local events taking place during their stay. You might also want to keep them updated about travel problems in the area and offer to help with alternative routes.
2 Get their stay off to the best possible start
Every guest is different and it’s up to your reception staff to look for clues about what each individual guest wants. Do they want to be checked in ASAP or are they keen for an engaging conversation? This first interaction counts for a lot, so make sure you get it right.
3 Get to know your guests
We all like it when someone remembers our name. Greeting returning guests by their first name is an easy win for hotels, but knowing more about that person is even better. Do they have a favourite room? Do they enjoy reading a newspaper? And are they here for business or pleasure? It only takes a moment to build those details and in doing so you can anticipate guests’ needs and create a more genuine home-from-home experience.
4 Exceed expectations
Make sure you and your staff go the extra mile and create the wow-factor your guests weren’t expecting. Complimentary drinks are almost always well received – you can either let guests know in advance or surprise them on arrival. Who doesn’t like a glass on fizz on holiday?
5 Avoid business interruption
Running a hotel is an unpredictable business. You want to make sure you have everything in place to avoid business interruption. A tailored hotel insurance policy
will give your guests an undisrupted experience and ensure that their stay goes smoothly.
6 Be as flexible as possible
Working in hospitality, you need to be flexible. So, if a guest turns up for breakfast slightly earlier than the allotted 7am start time, bend the rules. It’ll get their day off to a great start. With guests constantly arriving and leaving, staff being absent, and the frequent minor dramas that can happen in a hotel, your team needs to be able to support one another and give guests what they expect.
7 Reward loyalty
It’s a good idea to offer great deals to new customers to get them through the door, but how does that make loyal customers feel? Make sure you reward loyalty and show your returning guests that you appreciate them.
Protect your business with hotel insurance
Whether you’re running a small boutique B&B or a much larger, multiple-room hotel, you’ll need a hotel insurance package
tailored to your business’ specific needs.
At Insurance Choice we can help you find hotel insurance
that covers the building and contents, fixtures, fittings, and stock. Hotel insurance policies can also cover you for business interruption, and other risks the property and business may face.
Get in touch with the team today.