In the movies it looks so easy. Hotels run effortlessly with staff swooping in at the right moment to greet guests by name, offer a refreshing drink or bustle off to deliver baggage to the room.
Just think of how the concierge Barney Thompson is always there to do and say exactly the right thing in the all-time classic Pretty Woman.
And of course, in such an ideal world the manager is relaxed as well, has time for a chat with every guest and is never weighed down by a pile of admin tasks.
But if you run any type of hotel or accommodation business, you know that reality is different.
The day-to-day can be tricky with new challenges cropping up at unpredictable intervals.
Below are ten hospitality tips to follow at your property that can help you with every curve ball that comes your way.
The 10 Hospitality Tips You Need to Know
1. Greet Every Guest With a Smile
This one might seem like a given but it makes a massive difference. Welcoming guests to your hotel with a warm smile makes them feel comfortable. It puts them at ease from the moment they set foot on your property and creates a good first impression of your hotel and team. A smile also portrays your staff’s positive attitude towards their work and the guest. It can make all interactions from check-in to requesting a taxi feel more pleasant and personal.
This, in turn, can help you increase your guest’s brand loyalty, with 73% of customers saying friendly employees make them appreciate a brand more strongly. On top of that, 58% are willing to spend more if they experience excellent service. Starting off with a smile increases the chances of that happening.
2. Pay Attention to Reviews
Guests may not always tell you what bothered them during their stay. That’s unfortunate since it robs you of the opportunity to correct mistakes while they’re in-house. However, you can check your reviews for clues about how to continuously improve your service. Keeping an eye on public feedback also gives you a chance to recover after a service shortfall. Respond to bad reviews with a sincere apology and offer to welcome guests back to show you can do better.
Don’t focus only on the complaints though. React to good feedback as well to demonstrate that you value the guest’s comments and the time it took to share them. According to TripAdvisor, this can increase your chance of getting new enquiries by 21%. Positive reviews are also a goldmine for marketing since they show you what people like most about your hotel. That’s priceless knowledge for your marketing team’s future campaigns.
3. Keep Things Fresh With Changing Service Offers
Today, you need to offer something new regularly to grab people’s attention and stay at the front of their minds. Think of ways you can update your services occasionally to make new guests curious and encourage past patrons to return.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here (unless you have crazy, yet actionable ideas). You can start with seasonal menus or promotional offers that highlight local holidays, events or specialties. Other options include limited-time packages built around your spa, recreation or F&B offering.
This not only gives you something to talk about on your website, social media and in your newsletter. These deals also allow you to drive direct bookings if the best offers are available exclusively on your website.
4. Test New Tech Developments
New tools keep emerging and it’s impossible to try them all. But that doesn’t mean you should just turn your back on the topic altogether. Many new tech solutions can make life much easier for your staff and enhance the guest experience at the same time. This, in turn, can boost your reputation and generate more revenue at the same time.
That’s why it’s important to stay up to date with new products, read reviews and speak to colleagues in the industry to hear what others are using. If something seems like a potential fit for you, get a free demo or a trial from the provider to find out if the tools will work well with your existing tech stack.
5. Use a Guest Management System
A Guest Management System like Canary helps you streamline a variety of services and create an overall better in-stay experience.
A comprehensive Guest Management System will include products such as:
Contactless Check-In/Checkout: Create a hassle-free digital arrival and departure process travelers can complete at their convenience. This also enables you to capture more guest information (e.g. email, phone number, etc.) during the check-in flow and more 5-star reviews (via a simple guest satisfaction survey) during checkout,
Guest Messaging: Enable your front desk team to save valuable time through automated, broadcast and direct message to guests.
Digital Upsells: Automate upselling to boost ancillary revenue while allowing travelers to curate their in-stay experience.
Together, these solutions can increase your guest engagement, lift your top line and save your team valuable time. It’s also a way to address the changing expectations of modern travelers. Many of them now desire these tech-driven experiences or at least want the option to interact with the hotel via their smart devices.
6. Ensure PCI Compliance
Making your payment processes safe and smooth is just as important in hospitality as it is in eCommerce. A big part of that is ensuring that you’re up to date on and comply with the latest regulations such as PSD2 and PCI-DSS.
This is essential for two key reasons:
Secure payment processes make guests feel more comfortable. If they have the feeling that their financial details aren’t safe with you, they won’t book directly (or at all).
The forms you use to process payments play an important role here. If your hotel is still using paper/PDF forms to authorize credit card payments, you should look for a digital alternative ASAP as these documents are no longer considered PCI compliant.
So, how could you help your employees gain new skills?
Short on-site training within departments: Add these short sessions before or after a shift to revise operating procedures, discuss how to address common issues or ensure newer staff master all essential service techniques.
Half- or full-day workshops: Regularly invite team members to these seminars to deepen their knowledge of their field (e.g. F&B, revenue management, etc.). Encourage them to share their new-found insights when they return to work.
Cross-training in other departments: This can improve interdepartmental understanding and communication. Here, you could let housekeeping staff spend time with the maintenance team or vice versa. Or kitchen staff could switch places with purchasing employees. The options are endless. For more ideas, ask your team which departments they’d like to explore and try to organize this exchange.
Online training: Work with providers like Lobster Ink or Typsy to provide on-demand resources your employees can use to further develop their skills.
8. Implement a Digital Tipping Option
Another great way to increase employee satisfaction is to help them earn more tips. Since fewer people carry cash these days, guests may not always have enough on hand to offer a gratuity.
First, if you’re not already collecting your guests’ email addresses, it’s time to start. Email remains the best way to stay in touch, inform guests about new offers and promote exclusive deals.
To grow your list, encourage site visitors or current guests to share their details. Offer a bonus to sweeten the deal such as 10% off their next booking or free drinks at the bar during their upcoming stay. Again, Canary Contactless Check-In can help in building these lists by capturing these key details as guests check-in (even from guests who booked through OTAs).
Then, send out messages regularly with relevant hotel updates, information about new offers or exclusive specials you only share with your list. This can help you drive direct sales and keep you at the front of people’s minds for future bookings.
For the best results, use guest data to segment your list and send personalized messages with targeted promotions. While this takes more effort, it also leads to higher open rates, better engagement and more conversions.
10. Keep Your Hotel Website Looking Sharp
Your hotel website is your only sales rep working 24/7/365. At the same time, it’s your online business card and often creates the first impression of your brand. Finally, it brings you the most profitable bookings since you don’t owe anyone commission on your direct reservations.
This should be enough of a reason to make your website a priority and ensure it gets a facelift whenever necessary. That includes getting professional photos taken regularly, writing valuable information-rich copy and ensuring it’s easy for site visitors to navigate.
Improve the user experience even further with tools like live chat or a chatbot to answer questions and a fast, easy-to-use booking engine. This will pave the way to even more direct bookings and increased profitability.
Ok, that was a lot. And implementing all these tips at once may feel like a bit much. If that’s the case for you, start with one or two that are most manageable right now. Then work your way down the list until you’ve got them all covered.
If you need support, recruit your property’s department heads to take on some of the new initiatives you have in mind.
Yes, it’ll require effort to go through all of these points. But as you begin checking them off, you’ll see performance metrics like occupancy, revenue, guest satisfaction and employee retention steadily improve.
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