Unlike other sectors such as Online Retail, working within Hospitality means you have to ensure your customer has an amazing experience each and every time! Part of that experience is your listing and the incredible services you offer, but the major other part is you! As a host, you need to ensure you offer the best Customer Service possible to keep existing guests coming back for more whilst welcoming new guests on a regular basis.
Customer Service can be a complex beast to master, but we’ve condensed it down into 5 key areas to ensure your customers have the perfect experience, before, during and after their stay with you. Let’s jump in…..
#1 – Boost Personal Availability
When a guest is either going through the booking process, staying in your property or have already had their stay with you, ensure you make yourself available to them for anything they need. There is nothing worse than when you’re online, taking a look at a listing and you need to ask a quick question but no contact information can be found!
Making yourself available either via email or phone means a potential guest can reach out to you easily! Not only does this show your commitment to great Customer Service straight away, it’s probably going to help you get more bookings!
When a guest is staying with you, ensure they can get in touch with any needs they have. The experience, safety and enjoyment of your guest should be front and centre whilst they’re staying with you, so make sure you’re contactable! Once they have had their stay with you, ensure they know how to connect with you for any feedback or follow ups now they’ve left!
Action Point – Provide clear contact information on your listing, communications (i.e Emails) and within your property so your guests know they can get in touch!
#2 – Be Communicative
Many people believe that interacting with a guest is the worst thing you can ever do – you might feel like you’re pestering them or taking away from the enjoyment of their stay! At Flamingo, we disagree and believe that as a host, it’s your responsibility to ensure they’re having a great time.
Whilst you may not do this for a guest who is having a one night stay, check in with your guests during their stay to ensure they have everything they need. Many guests will suffer in silence, with their concerns only being raised after their stay when, as a host, there is nothing you can do. Chances are a guest will be all ok, but checking in to fix any minor niggles not only ensures a great experience, but makes you look awesome.
Naturally there is a limit here though! Don’t be checking in with your guests every couple of hours or so as that will become a little irritating and while the right intent is there, may end up putting a negative spin on the experience.
Action Point – Create a basic communication strategy to keep in touch with your guests. For example, for all guests staying 5 nights, check in with them on day 3 to see if there is anything they need.
#3 – Embrace Feedback
You’re listing is undoubtedly your pride and joy, but sometimes when you spend your time making it perfect you don’t see the parts that could do with being improved. Your guests will give you a fresh perspective on the good and the bad of your property, with the bad being like goldust to a proactive host!
Promote the opportunity for your guests to give you feedback – this can either be privately via email or telephone or asking them to leave a review on your website or booking page! We’ve recently wrote an article about the best way to deal with reviews both good and bad. It’s full of great tips – you can check it out here!
Once the feedback is in, ensure you act on it. If someone says the bed’s lumpy or the heating isn’t working as well as it could, ensure you get it fixed as soon as possible. Not only will this ensure your next guests have the best experience possible, it shows a great level of Customer Service that you care and act on the opinion of previous guests!
Action Point – Encourage guests to leave reviews wherever possible. Thank positive reviews and action the negatives. Remember: better reviews = more bookings!
#4 – Reward Loyalty
The success of many online listings is built upon the good reputation and repeat business of returning guests, so your customer service strategy needs to reflect that! There are a vast number of great ways you can recognise the customers that have been to stay with you before – but here’s a couple of easy steps you can take right away!
Follow up after their stay. Get in touch after their stay ensuring you greet them by name and thank them for staying with you. If you’ve had the chance to get to know your guest, ask them how their journey home or their next destination was. It’s all about building a relationship so they feel at home with you and your listing.
2. Create a members-only or loyalty scheme. Many great hospitality organisation have members only schemes or clubs for frequently returning guests. This gives them the ability to access exclusive services and bolt-ons. Maybe you could provide a voucher for a local restaurant for example?
3. Incentivise. Along the lines of the last point, offer your previous guests a discount or offer to entice them to return. From a Customer Service perspective you are showing that you value their booking and want them to stay with you again! From a business perspective, if someone has had a great experience before, it will be far easier for you to secure their booking again and as such boost your overall revenue.
Action Point – Come up with a way to reward those guests who stay with you often. Not only are they your recurring revenue, they’re a great advocate for your property!
#5 – Put The Guests First!
Bringing together all the above points, the best way to offer awesome Customer Service is to put your guest first. Asa host, your main concern should always be the experience that your guest has when staying with you. If you focus on that, the additional bookings, reviews and success will inevitably come.
Even those of us who work as hosts will have been a guest somewhere before – try drawing on the amazing and terrible experiences you have had in the past to ensure the service you offer is one you would expect in return! As with all sectors, it’s the people that make a business successful, so be as warm, inviting and helpful as you can to give your guest an experience they will never forget!
Action Point – Adopt a Customer Service oriented mindset – without guests, you have no business so ensure they have the best experience possible!
To Wrap Up….
In a competitive marketplace, you need to put your listing above the competition to secure those all important bookings. Having awesome Customer Service can not only set you apart but give you a major USP amongst those around you. The power is in your hands, so get out there and give your customers the stay they deserve by offering awesome Customer Service!