Guest experiences are at the heart of your business. In this article, we’ll look at a few ways to ensure those experiences are great – and how, in turn, that can boost repeat bookings.
As any business owner knows, the customer is at the heart of everything you do. For you as a hospitality professional, that means your guests.
Each guest’s experience is something to be treasured and nurtured. Why? Because ultimately, your property’s identity is defined by your guests’ experiences. And in turn, that’s what can help fuel future business, whether through repeat bookings from the same guest or by attracting new bookers.
The power of delight
English entrepreneur Richard Branson famously said that in business:
The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not just meet them, but exceed them – preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.
The moment when your guests’ expectations are exceeded in an unexpected or helpful way is magical. A free room upgrade, finding a bottle of wine in their room, the sudden offer of some freshly baked treats. It’s moments like these that create lasting impressions – and loyal customers.
Loyal customers are key to any business, and that includes the hospitality industry. In a study about travel behaviour by Deloitte, 50% of people said they check for special promotions on a loyalty programme before booking. What’s more, not only do repeat bookings require less effort and investment to secure, but when you have people publicly and wholeheartedly endorsing your property, it can make a huge difference.
One way of keeping customers happy – and crucially, get them coming back for more – is through rewards. At this point, you may be picturing the points schemes used by some big hotel chains, and wondering if this kind of thing is really suitable for a small property like yours. The answer is simple: anything that can increase revenue without compromising your identity is a good thing. And there are plenty of ways of doing it without breaking the bank.
1. Attract repeat customers
If guests have an added incentive to come back to your property a second time, it can be an easy way to create repeat customers. Consider offering a discount for returning guests, or perhaps a free breakfast.
2. Sharing is caring
One of the most important factors to get people booking with you is the opinions of others. That’s why guest reviews and social media endorsements are so valuable. Why not offer guests a freebie if they follow your property on Facebook, or if they upload a photo at your property to social media?
3. Encourage direct bookers
Guests who book direct through your website are hugely valuable. They involve limited (or no) commission and greater engagement with your brand, meaning a better return on investment. You could offer extra freebies to your guests (think a free bottle of wine or spa session) when they book direct, boost repeat bookings.
4. Widen your net
It’s not just guests who are looking for value. If you have facilities that can accommodate events like weddings or conferences, securing some of their business could be a way to dramatically increase your revenue. Consider offering a loyalty programme to wedding and event planners, and you could be getting regular bookings that are worth their weight in gold.
5. Look outside for rewards
Rewards can come in all shapes and sizes: discount on future stays, cut-price meals, free drinks. But to really get your guests excited, how about looking a bit further afield? Consider partnering with local restaurants or tour operators to offer a perk that’s slightly out of the ordinary.
Never underestimate the power of delight. When you run a property that consistently delights its guests, you’ll see the benefits – whether it’s with repeat bookings or valuable positive reviews.
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