As marketers can testify, it is approximately six-times more expensive to win new customers than to retain existing patrons. This represents a significant difference, and one that highlights the importance of developing a defined marketing strategy.
It is a general rule that applies to other business disciplines and markets too, with the hotel sector offering a relevant case in point. It can cost between five and eight times more to secure new hotel bookings than drive repeat business, meaning that managers must strive hard to keep their guests happy and build a keen sense of loyalty.
This can help to reduce costs and optimise profitability overt time, so here are some practical steps that will enable you keep your hotel guests happy at all times.
#1 – Use Furnishings and Decor to Create a Positive First Impression
According to statistics, it only takes seven seconds to form a first impression about people, places and interior spaces. The same principle applies to hoteliers, who must optimise the layout and decor of their individual rooms to make a positive impression on first-time guests.
This also contributes to a positive visual experience for guests, who can be wowed through the intuitive use of colour, furnishings and an aesthetically pleasing interior design.
The use of colour is particularly important, as different shades can trigger variable emotions in guests and impact the way in which their perceive their stay. As a general rule, neutral and elegant pastel shades such as pale blue are the most effective, as they tend to have a calming influence and contribute towards a relaxing ambience.
#2 – Adhere to the Basics of Keeping a Clean and Fresh Interior
When looking to keep your guests happy, it is easy to become preoccupied with creative ideas and truly innovative ideas. While there is nothing fundamentally wrong with attempting to think outside the box, you will also need to adhere to the basic principles of maintaining a clean and fresh interior at all times.
This also contributes to the cultivation of a positive first impression among guests, for whom an hygienically clean and allergen-free room is a basic requirement regardless of the price that they have paid.
Housekeepers can play a central role in helping you to achieve this objective, while the way in which they operate can also create a refreshed interior. By opening windows as they clean, minimising the use of chemicals and dusting from the top down, they can develop a strategic way of working that leaves each room spotless.
#3 – Offer Your Guests Free Wi-Fi,or at Least Be Transparent About Costs
Access to free Wi-Fi is something that we take for granted in the modern age, particularly in retail outlets throughout the UK. There has been a slight change in approach in recent times, however, with coffee shops particularly keen on the notion of restricting free Wi-Fi access to paying customers.
This is not to be recommended for hotels on the digital age, particularly given our reliance as a society on smartphones, tablets and wearable technology. Make no mistake; this means that guests genuinely resent having to pay an additional sum for Wi-Fi access, and charging this as an extra may deter some from ever booking again.
You therefore have two options as a hotelier. Firstly, you can offer genuinely complimentary Wi-Fi access which is included as a standard feature in all rooms.
There is a second option for owners who wish to recoup some of their investment, however, as they can increase their base room price incrementally to cover the associated costs. This is a tactic that taps into the popular, freemium business model, which enables hoteliers to honestly advertise complimentary Wi-Fi and create the illusion of free without hurting their margins.
#4 – Keep it Simple With a Complimentary Coffee or Tea
We have already touched on the importance of adhering to basics, but simple measures can have a prominent impact in the mind of guests.
With this in mind, there is nothing more likely to please guests that access to a complimentary hot drink at the beginning of each day. This can be relatively easy and cost-effective to organise, as you simply need to establish a coffee station in the room and fill it with the required amount of premium coffee sachets and tea bags.
These can be sourced cheaply when they are purchased in bulk, while they provide a breathtakingly simple way of engaging guests and starting their day right. The impact is embellished further when you use mugs as opposed to foam cups, as this adds to the experience and drives higher levels of consumer satisfaction.
#5 – Use Local Partnerships to Reduce Costs and Improve Your Value Proposition
Sometimes, it may appear as though the best ways to engage guests and satisfy their needs are relatively costly. Take room service, for example, which requires you to have a solid ordering and delivery system that is backed by 24-hour kitchen and dining staff.
There is a way that you can offer flexible room service and food on-demand to your guests without such a costly infrastructure, however, simply be forging mutually beneficial partnerships with local eateries.
This will enable meals to be prepared offsite and delivered to your guests’ rooms, improving their experience and taking room service to an entirely new level. You can even secure discounts with local restaurants to improve the value proposition for guests, while your suppliers will benefit from increased orders.
The principle of forging progressive business partnerships within the local area can also help in other areas of your venture too. You would be well served by partnering with local tour providers and points of interests, as this offers you the opportunity to supply your guests with discounted tickets to a host of local attractions.
Alternatively, you can join forces with a local gym to offer reduced rates to business guests, helping them to enjoy a superior work-life balance during their stay.
In an instant, you are reducing business costs while improving the typical guest experience, and this represents the Holy Grail for all hoteliers.
The Last Word
So there you have it; five top tips to keeping your guests happy and improving your profitability over time. Above all else, try to create an experience that you would enjoy yourself, while taking on feedback from your guests and understanding precisely what they need if they are to book again in the future.