How to maintain guest satisfaction during COVID-19
Today, as hotels are planning for recovery after a long year of losses, it is more important than ever to gather and use guest feedback in order to maintain an unforgettable guest experience. Unfortunately, with travel anxiety at its peak and hotels forced to do more with less, it has become more challenging for hoteliers to maintain guest satisfaction. However, this is the time for hoteliers to stay close and listen to their guests’ feedback. What are the short and long-term moves you can make to keep guest satisfaction high and employee stress low? In this blog post we share five ways to maintain hotel guest satisfaction during COVID-19.
Use the pre-arrival email to set expectations
As more and more people are vaccinated and travel rebounds, hotels must be extra-careful to set guests’ expectations appropriately about what the guest experience looks like during the pandemic. If they haven’t traveled over the last 12 months, they might be excited to revisit your hotel and have a similar experience to last time. The reality, however, is that a similar experience might not be possible.
Depending on where you are located, COVID-19 has introduced a multitude of health and safety guidelines that dramatically affect the services you are able to provide. A visitor coming from a less-strict region but be surprised to learn, for example, that you’re not able to offer inside dining. For this reason, it is incredibly important to set your guests’ expectations before they arrive on property.
The pre-arrival email is a great vehicle for sharing the details around what your guests can expect. As we reported in our 2019 Hotel Email Marketing Benchmark Report, open rates of pre-arrival emails are 60.53% and CTRs are 30.26%. Be clear about what outlets are open and closed, what services are being offered and which ones aren’t, and what your policies are to maintain guest safety. The fewer (bad) surprises your guests experience on-property, the better.
Revinate Marketing takes the work out of pre-arrival emails since they can be easily automated and sent a few days before the guest checks in. As outlets reopen or as policies change, simply update your email to ensure guests are kept up to date.
Use feedback to personalize the stay
When it comes to pleasing your guests, there is no better way to maintain guest satisfaction than to use feedback to personalize the stay. Almost all hotels today collect guest feedback before, during and after the stay. If you’re not using this data, you’re missing an incredible opportunity to wow your guests.
Revinate Marketing makes it easy for hotel staff to see guest information that can be used to personalize the stay. The secret is Revinate Marketing’s Arrivals Report, which allows you to easily view relevant details on guests who are checking in. Like other arrival reports, you can see general stay information for each guest, like number of nights, room type, ADR, rate code, etc. But with Revinate’s report, you can also see NPS, based on your most recent Revinate Guest Feedback Survey responses and guest preferences. With this information, you can welcome your guest like an old friend and ensure you make the experience great from the start by selecting the right room and ensuring past issues don’t happen again.
Collect in-stay surveys
No hotelier wants a guest to return home unhappy. In-stay surveys allow you to gauge how your guest’s stay is going while you still have the ability to improve it. Beyond being good for your hotel’s reputation, it means you can delight your guests and create wonderful memories for them — something that all hoteliers love to do. Revinate makes it easy to automate in-stay surveys so all your guests have the opportunity to share how their stay with you in going.
To ensure that you use in-stay surveys effectively, we advise that you make sure that if you’re asking for feedback, you act on it right away. Service recovery can be powerful, but it can also backfire. If you don’t respond in a timely manner, the opportunity to recover from the service failure will be lost, and you may be making the guest’s experience even worse. Now, not only did they experience something negative during their stay, they were also ignored by hotel staff.
Request post-stay guest feedback
The best hotels in the world are always looking for post-stay feedback from guests so they can improve and better understand guest expectations. Just asking for feedback sends the message to your guests that you care about their experience. With the pandemic changing what guests are looking for in a vacation, directly asking for feedback is a great way to maintain guest satisfaction.
Revinate post stay surveys, part of the Guest Feedback solution, have been helping hoteliers understand what guests love and hate about their stay for more than a decade. The survey is fully customizable, easy to set up and can be automated to alleviate manual work. One of the most important questions on a typical survey is “How likely are you to recommend us?”. This question provides information to determine your Net Promoter Score (NPS), which is a common satisfaction metric used in all industries.
Best of all, because survey feedback is digital and quantitative, so it’s easy to analyze results over time. As you work to understand new expectations around travel, this reports will help you understand how you’re doing and where you should be focusing your efforts.
Respond to reviews
As travelers begin to think about planning their post-pandemic trips, we expect most of them will visit online review sites and OTAs to look for inspiration and validate their booking decisions. They will be looking for clues about how the hotel protects guests’ health and safety and what the overall experience is like. How you show up on these sites is critical for winning a booking in a very competitive time. Great reviews is one data point. But how you respond to reviews is just as important.
It’s essential for hoteliers to respond to reviews, both positive and negative, to ensure that prospective guests see that you’re always looking for feedback and are responsive to guest needs. Responding to reviews helps you minimize the damage negative comments can do to your hotel’s reputation, recover service with unhappy guests and discover brand enthusiasts and turn them into promoters.
Revinate Guest Feedback makes it easy for hotels to stay on top of guest reviews and respond in a timely manner. You can efficiently manage hotel reviews from sites like Google, Booking.com, and TripAdvisor all in one place. Best of all, you can use the ticketing system to communicate service shortcomings to the relevant person or department to ensure that the feedback you receive is used to improve guest satisfaction over time.
As you prepare your hotel for recovery, remember to think beyond driving bookings and put plans in place to ensure a great guest experience. To learn more about how Revinate can help, please reach out today. We would love to share how our customers are using our solutions to win new business and delight guests during this difficult time.