Hotels in Holiday Season – Part II: How to ensure great guest service especially during peak seasons
In our last post, we discussed about hotel marketing strategies that will help you drive higher occupancy at the property. However, the bigger challenge during holiday seasons is to ensure exceptional guest service amidst all the operational hustle-bustle. As a hotelier, you are gearing up to meet the rush of a peak season. But are you prepared enough?
Here are some tips that you can adopt to ensure your guests experience an amazing holidays – because of your warm hospitality!
1. Understand your guest arrivals and departures for every day
Stay in control over your hotel operation. And it begins with the knowledge of which guests you need to welcome for the day and who you need to bid farewell. Pull out a list of your arrivals and departures for the day and brief your team. Your guests would be travelling a long distance to reach your hotel. They may be tired and keeping them waiting at the hotel lobby is never a good idea. Keep the check in process short and simple, ensure the room is ready, offer a refreshing drink on arrival not because it’s part of their package but to show that you really care.
For the ones checking out of your hotel, keep the bills ready and ensure the payment process is smooth. Check on how they are travelling to the airport or station and if they need help in arranging a transport. Also, don’t forget to collect their feedback about the stay as well as their details such as phone number and email address so that you can continue to be in touch with them.
2. Know your customers
Most hotels find this to be a labour-intensive time of the year, where no one has the time to breathe. However, in the hustle-bustle of daily operations, most hoteliers oversee the basic ideology of the hospitality business – ‘Make the guest feel at home’. Due to time-crunch, service often becomes mechanical; staff members become impersonal. This takes away the warmth from your guest service, something that guests are sure to notice.
Instead, plan ahead. Look at the bookings you have already received and engage with the guests before they arrive to understand the purpose of their visit, their likes, dislikes etc. When they are at the property ensure your staff members interact with your guests from time-to-time to understand what could be done more to make their stay special.
Once you know your guest better, personalise the service as per their preferences. Are your guests celebrating a special occasion – such as birthday or anniversary? Then surprise them with a handwritten note along with complimentary glasses of wine, or a cake, or some chocolates. Is he on a hectic business trip? Offer a complimentary massage at your spa. Is it a family vacation with kids? Suggest them sightseeing places where kids could have a great time or offer complimentary ice creams to the kids. A small gesture can make a big difference!
3. Leverage technology
The most important reason why guest service levels drop during peak seasons is because hotels don’t have the bandwidth to pay attention to each guest on the property. There is only a finite number of staff members that the hotel can recruit. This often leads them to choose between – offering customised guest service and meeting daily operational deadlines, rather than achieving both of them together.
This is where technology automation can relieve you to a great extent. Today’s advanced technology not only allows you to automate your reservation process enabling you to be open for booking 24/7, and up to the last available inventory. Such technology is built using intuitive algorithms and big data capabilities that can provide you real-time insights into vital business KPIs – such as channel performance, booking pace, occupancy, current revenue and projected business. It can also be leveraged to evaluate the efficiency of each of your departments as well as the reputation and pricing strategy of your competitors’. This means technology can take away a lot of manual dependency in arriving at the right business decisions, allowing your staff members to spend more time in guest interaction.
The personal touch that you add to your guest’s stay will definitely differentiate you from your competition. More importantly it will create a lasting impression in the mind of the guests. That will reflect in the reviews they post across online platforms and when they talk to their friends and family about their vacation. Pampering your guests with personalised service can transform them into your brand evangelists, helping you to drive new as well as repeat business.