Discover how to harness the power of guest messaging and guest reviews to improve guest experiences, enhance your online presence and increase your occupancy.
Once upon a time, guest management was confined to check-in and check-out. Now it spans everything from pre-stay requests to in-stay impressions to post-stay reviews. But that doesn’t mean your property can’t prosper happily ever after. We live in the 21st century after all, where every challenge can be faced with user-friendly technology.
Read on to learn how guest messaging and guest review software can boost both guest satisfaction and your bottom line. Technology can take some getting used to, but once we understand and feel comfortable with it, we usually come to rely on the convenience and time-saving that it brings. Not to mention the level of service it can offer customers. Can you imagine running a business today without email? Or WiFi?
And technology isn’t only for high-tech hoteliers or the biggest chains. No matter what size your accommodation is, there are software solutions out there that can save you time and help you provide a great guest experience. Wondering where to start? By tapping into your most important asset – your guests. In this post, we explain how to stay connected with guests and improve their stay using guest messaging. We’ll also outline how you can protect your online reputation by efficiently managing reviews of your property.
How guest messaging creates better guest experiences
These days, free instant messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are hugely popular – especially with travellers. People now expect to be able to communicate with businesses through messaging. In fact, over 45% of consumers say they’d prefer instant messaging to email when talking with a business. This increasing interest in messaging creates a great opportunity for you to stay connected with and provide extra service to your guests. But manually logging into the various apps your guests use just isn’t practical.
Instead, there are a range of solutions that let you communicate with guests the way they want – when they want – while still being convenient for you. These solutions gather messages from various channels under one platform, so it’s easier for you keep track and respond to questions and requests. You could even set up automatic replies to the most common requests, such as ‘What’s the WiFi password?’. That way, guests get the answers they need right away, and you can spend time adding value to your business in other ways. Here are a few more ways you could improve your property’s guest experience with a single messaging platform:
- Automatic check-in
- Room/bedding requests
- Directions to your property
- Local information
- Room service
- Wake-up requests
- Additional cleaning/toiletries
- Maintenance issues
- Special offers at your restaurant
- Automatic check-out
- Satisfaction follow-up
- Review requests
- Special offers
Better guest experiences bring better reviews
Then there’s the knock-on effect that guest experiences have in the long term. When a guest leaves your property happy because you’ve exceeded their expectations, they’re more likely to leave a better review. Reviews often convince other customers to book your property in the future. Compare the following scenarios – which experience is likely to result in a higher review score?
A family arrives at 12:00 after travelling for several hours, but check-in isn’t until 14:00. The day before, they were able to automatically select their arrival time, 12:00-13:00, so you had prioritised the cleaning of their room. When they arrive their room is almost ready, so you send them to the pool or guest lounge to wait. At 12:15, they receive a text message that their room is available.
A family arrives at 12:00 after travelling for several hours, but check-in isn’t until 14:00. You quickly realise their room hasn’t been cleaned yet. You prioritise their room next, send them to the pool or guest lounge to wait and ask them to check back at 13:00. They return at 13:00 but the room isn’t quite ready… They come back at 13:30 and the cleaner is just finishing up… They wait at your front desk for 10 more minutes before you’re able to give them their room keys… As this example demonstrates, instant messaging can make all the difference. It keeps you in the loop, so you’re on top of every situation – from early arrivals to malfunctioning hair dryers. As a result, you can deal with any issue as it arises rather than hearing about it during check-out, or worse, in guest reviews.
Great guest reviews bring more bookings
Did you know that 95% of travellers read customer reviews and look at review scores before making a booking decision? Or that, on average, hotel guests read six to twelve reviews before making a reservation? It’s clear, then, that your online reputation really matters when it comes to attracting new guests – and that these potential guests value and trust the opinions of fellow consumers. Your property is likely to be reviewed across a number of online platforms – OTAs, Google, TripAdvisor, social media, and perhaps your own website. So it can be tricky and time-consuming to keep track of all these reviews, never mind taking action on them.
That’s where reputation management software comes in.
There are a number of guest review services that let you collect, analyse and manage your online reviews. So even if your reviews are posted across multiple sites, you can easily view them and reply to guests in one place. Some tools also allow you to publish reviews from other sites on your property website. This is the kind of rich, unique content that search engines look for, so you’ll boost your online ranking in the process.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Some guest review services offer real-time feedback from guests during their stay. This lets you monitor things like check-in satisfaction, room comfort or cleanliness – as well as doubling up as a channel to promote in-stay deals.
Other guest review services let you create post-stay surveys – sent via instant message – that provide you with powerful proof of how you’re wowing guests and where you can improve their experience. More advanced features can include competitor analysis, custom reports and marketing your reviews – all of which can help your business gain a further edge in a competitive online marketplace.