A new study revealed that guest satisfaction has declined in virtually all hotel segments, from economy to luxury compared to 2021. According to the J.D. Power’s 2022 Guest Satisfaction Study, the single biggest factor driving a decline in overall satisfaction is hotel cost and fees, indicating hotel guests are feeling like they are paying more, but not getting more in return.
As the majority of the industry still navigates the labour shortage, hoteliers are under even more pressure to exceed guests’ expectations with even less resources. Cloudbeds, the hospitality management platform powering more reservations and happier guests for lodging businesses around the globe, recently released a new book titled, More Reservations, Happier Guests: The Ultimate Guide for the Modern Hotelier, as part of the company’s growing initiative to make hospitality education and resources more accessible. Authored by the expert team behind Cloudbeds, the book breaks down the top 10 tips to increase guest satisfaction.
10 ways to improve guest satisfaction in hotels
1. Start with the essentials
In addition to a warm welcome, every guest wants an efficient check-in, a clean, comfortable room, and a pleasant, frictionless stay. One study found that if there is more than a five-minute wait at check-in, the guest satisfaction score can drop by 50%. As a starting point, hoteliers should dedicate resources, or consider adopting technology solutions if staff is limited, to meeting these basic expectations on every stay.
2. Set expectations
Overpromising and under-delivering is a quick way to earn bad reviews. It is crucial to set realistic expectations in marketing materials. It is always useful to send a pre-arrival email or text to invite guests to start planning their stay, and include important information such as safety protocols or changes to services.
3. Wow the guests
It is always beneficial to be on the lookout for opportunities to turn a good stay into an unforgettable stay and enhance hotel guest satisfaction. This can be done by offering a complimentary upgrade, a welcome amenity, or other thoughtful, personalised touches.
4. Offer digital service
Keep in closer contact with guests and provide quicker service by enabling communications on digital channels such as text messaging, webchat, messaging apps, social media, or a chatbot.
5. Monitor guest feedback
Hoteliers can benefit by investing in a reputation management tool to track online reviews, analyse guest sentiment, and benchmark performance against competitors.
6. Ask for feedback
It is always a good idea to send a post-stay survey to guests a few days after their check-out, to understand guest satisfaction. This can also include an invitation to share feedback on Tripadvisor or Google, with a direct link to the corresponding page on the site.
7. Master the art of service recovery
A survey in 2019 found that 42% of guests will actually return to a hotel if they are able to turn their experience positive by solving any issue immediately. Staff should be trained to be on the alert for signs of trouble and empowered to resolve issues quickly. This can be done by following the six steps to service recovery: listen, clarify, empathise, apologise, resolve and follow up.
8. Check in with guests during their stay
Sending a quick text or short email survey to guests just after arrival or halfway through the stay to see how things are going is something that should be practised by hoteliers. This will help to identify problems, as well as opportunities to impress guests while still on the property.
9. Benchmark performance
It is useful to set survey and review objectives by department, along with timelines for achieving them. Staff can share results with the team, using feedback as a constructive learning tool, recognising positive comments and celebrating achievements.
It is important to mention that responding promptly to reviews and surveys – positive, negative, and mixed can benefit businesses. Thanking the guest for the feedback, apologising if something went wrong, and explaining how to resolve the issue by never showing anger or frustration is crucial.
Read more about improving guest satisfaction
Now available to download at Cloudbeds.com, the guide offers lodging owners and operators unique insights and strategies to increase reservations, streamline operations and create better guest experiences. To access a free copy of the book, visit cloudbeds.com/modern-hotelier-book.