Effective communication is the foundation of exceptional hospitality. But with the challenges of labor shortages, increasing guest demands and doing more with less, maintaining this standard isn’t always easy. Hoteliers are now tasked with finding new ways to engage and delight guests. Whether you’re implementing technologies such as automation and personalization, or improving staff training, it’s always a good time to prioritize outstanding hotel guest communication.
Keep reading to discover clever ways to improve your guest communication and a few trends to inspire your next steps.
What is Hotel Guest Communication?
Hotel guest communication refers to the interactions, information exchange, and overall communication between a hotel and its guests before, during, and after their stay.
Effective guest communication is essential for creating positive and memorable guest experiences. It encompasses the entire guest journey, including:
Reservation and booking: Guests may have questions during the reservation or booking process. \
Pre-arrival communication: Once a guest has booked, deliver relevant and timely information related to their upcoming stay.
Check-in: Whether a guest checks in digitally or with a front desk agent, prepare staff to answer any questions guests may have across all channels.
In-stay communication: In-stay communication comes in many forms, including upsells, guest enquiries, room service requests, and more.
Checkout: When it comes to settling bills and checking out, aim to keep front-desk interactions smooth and polite.
Post-stay follow-up: Great post-stay communication is timely and designed to keep your hotel top-of-mind for guests.
Emergency communication: Communicate safety instructions, evacuation procedures, and any necessary information in the event of an emergency.
Why is Guest Communication Important?
Your hotel’s guest communication—no matter the channel—has a significant impact on your guests’ perception of your brand and hotel. Even just one rude encounter with a staff member could be enough to sour the guest experience, resulting in a poor review or complaint.
Companies increased their use of digital communication channels due to COVID-19, implementing an average of 3.5 customer communication channels. That means it’s more important than ever to maintain and improve the quality of your guest communication.
Providing great communication throughout the entire guest journey helps you stay competitive. Whether you’re communicating via SMS, email, phone, or in person, hotel guest communication has a big impact on loyalty and revenue.
The Dos and Don’ts of Hotel Guest Communication
Effective guest communication isn’t always easy. Guests expect fast responses and managing multiple communication channels comes with a unique set of challenges.
Fortunately, the right practices will help you navigate potential pitfalls and deliver excellent service and communication, no matter how busy you are.
Personalize: Personalization is a key aspect of hotel guest communication, and can significantly enhance the guest experience. This is made possible by collecting guest preferences and data responsibly. Address guests by name, offer recommendations you know they’d appreciate, and surprise guests with personalized gifts, amenities, or special treats.
Be prompt: When it comes to communicating with guests digitally (by text, email, or chatbot), reply as quickly as possible. If you can’t reply immediately, use automated replies or chatbots to thank guests for their enquiries and let them know when you’ll respond.
Prioritize clarity: Ensure that all information provided to guests, whether it's about room features, amenities, or local attractions, is clear and accurate. Misleading information can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.
Be friendly and polite: Always greet guests with a friendly and welcoming attitude. A warm and genuine greeting sets a positive tone for their stay. Pay close attention to guests' needs and requests and be proactive in offering assistance.
Use technology: Incorporating technology into hotel guest communication streamlines processes, enhances guest experiences, and improves operational efficiency. Use messaging platforms like WhatsApp, SMS or Canary Guest Messages to enable real-time communication between guests and hotel staff. This provides a convenient and efficient way for guests to make requests and receive assistance.
Be rude or impatient: Avoid interrupting guests when they're speaking, and don't rush them through check-in or check-out processes. Give them the time and attention they need.
Overpromise and underdeliver: Never make promises to guests that you can’t fulfill. If you're unsure about something, it's better to be honest and offer to find out the information.
Ignore feedback: Don't dismiss or ignore guest feedback, whether it's positive or negative. Feedback is valuable for improving service quality. According to TrustYou data, hotels that respond to guest reviews receive 12% more reviews and their rating increases by an average of 0.12 stars.
Invade privacy: Respect guests' privacy at all times. Avoid entering their rooms without proper notice, and protect their personal information in accordance with privacy regulations.
Be inconsistent: Maintain consistency in your personalization efforts across all guest touchpoints, from the reservation process to the stay itself. Inconsistencies can detract from the guest experience.
4 Hotel Guest Communication Trends to Watch
The competitive nature of the hospitality industry has created an appetite for better, more innovative communication methods, channels, and technologies. Hotel guest communication trends are continually evolving as consumer demand shifts and technology advances. Here are a few trends that we’ve seen take off over the last few years:
1. Contactless communication
Contactless technology and communication skyrocketed in popularity during the pandemic. Guests could go about their stay with minimal face-to-face contact, using their phones or tablets to communicate, send requests or order from a menu.
And this popularity isn’t waning. According to Skift, 54 percent of travelers said that they’d most like to see contactless check-in and checkout permanently adopted over the next three years.
Contactless processes, including mobile check-in and check-out, keyless room entry and mobile payment options are becoming increasingly popular. They enhance convenience for guests and reduce workloads for your front office staff.
Personalizing guest experiences based on data analytics and guest preferences is a growing trend. According to The State of Personalization 2023 by Twilio, 56 percent of consumers say they’ll become repeat buyers after a personalized experience. And 69 percent of business leaders say they are increasing their investment in personalization.
Personalization gives you a way to delight guests and enhance their stay with things like tailored recommendations, room customization, and special offers.
3. Conversational artificial intelligence
Recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) have made it clear that AI offers a wide range of benefits for hotels. And conversational AI is the next frontier when it comes to improving your guest communication.
Generative AI models can help hotels prioritize, summarize and respond to guest requests. This saves time for you and the guest, improves consistency and empowers your workforce to work smarter, not harder.
Want to learn more about AI’s impacts on the hospitality industry? Download our free ebook exploring AI fundamentals, use cases, risks, and more.
Voice-activated technology allows you to make guest communication even easier. Guests could ask their in-room speaker questions like: “When does the spa open?” or “What time is breakfast?”
And that’s not all. In-room speakers could enable guests to configure lighting, curtains and thermostats just from a simple vocal request. Hotels can customize responses to recommend on-site food and beverage options appropriate to guest requests.
9 Clever Ideas for Outstanding Hotel Guest Communication
1. Smart mirrors
Smart mirrors are digital mirrors that display personalized information for guests. Install smart mirrors in guest rooms to effectively communicate with guests in an engaging way. Here are a few ways to use smart mirrors to enhance guest communication:
Personalized greeting: Display a personalized greeting for each guest upon entry into their room.
Information and assistance: Use smart mirrors to display information such as weather forecasts, local news, or details about your hotel’s amenities.
Virtual concierge: Smart mirrors can function as virtual concierges, providing guests with recommendations for nearby restaurants, attractions and activities. Guests can interact with the mirror to get personalized suggestions and directions.
Interactive maps: Display interactive maps of the hotel property and the local area. Guests can use these maps to navigate the hotel, find on-site amenities and plan outings.
Welcome messages (video, letters, etc.)
Making a good first impression is vital in the hospitality industry. Welcome messages may be your answer. They help you create a positive atmosphere, convey important information, set expectations, and allow you to upsell services. But what do you say? And how?
Start with a warm greeting then introduce yourself and your hotel. Thank your guest for choosing to stay with you and mention any features, amenities, or special offers you think the guest might be interested in.
Provide as much information as possible relevant to their stay in a concise, clear manner. For example, will any facilities be closed during their stay? How can they request an airport transfer? What’s the best way to get to the city center?
These messages can be delivered via a variety of channels, including email, mobile check-in, guest messaging, hotel apps, and more.
An interactive map is a digital, dynamic, and customizable way for guests to interact and manipulate geographical information using various functionalities. Interactive maps or mobile apps that guide guests through your property, can help in several ways:
Wayfinding and navigation: Interactive maps can help guests navigate the hotel property, making it easier for them to find their way to amenities, dining areas, meeting rooms and other points of interest.
Local area information: Use interactive maps to provide guests with information about nearby attractions, restaurants, shopping areas and public transportation options.
Room selection: Offer guests the ability to choose their room using interactive maps during the booking process. This allows guests to view the layout of the property and select a room that meets their preferences, such as proximity to amenities or a particular view.
Voice assistants can play a significant role in enhancing communication and guest experiences in hotels, including:
Automated check-in and checkout: Guests can use voice commands to complete these tasks, freeing up your front desk to spend time on other tasks.
Room service and requests: Guests can use voice commands to place orders for room service, request additional amenities (e.g., towels, and toiletries) or report maintenance issues.
Language translation: Voice assistants equipped with translation capabilities can break down language barriers, making it easier for international guests to communicate with hotel staff and access information in their preferred language.
Wake-up calls and reminders: Guests can set wake-up calls and receive reminders about scheduled events or activities using voice commands, ensuring they stay on track with their plans.
Interactive feedback stations
Set up feedback stations where guests can provide real-time feedback using touch screens or QR codes. These stations could be physical or digital kiosks designed to collect guest opinions, suggestions and comments. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your feedback stations:
Offer incentives: Enter guests into a competition to win prizes such as discounts on future stays for participation.
User-friendly interface: Make sure the interface, whether it's a physical station or on a mobile app, is user-friendly. Make it easy for guests to provide feedback.
Anonymous or personalized feedback: Offer guests the option to provide anonymous feedback or identify themselves, enabling more personalized follow-up if necessary.
Integrations: Use stations that integrate with your CRM or PMS to tie feedback to specific guest profiles and reduce the need for manual data input.
Guest messaging technology
Guest messaging technology enables instant and real-time communication between guests and hotel staff. Guests can ask questions, request services and seek assistance, while hotel staff can respond promptly to address guest needs.
Hotels can even utilize AI to trigger in-depth automated answers to commonly asked questions.
Canary Messaging, for example, enables your front desk and concierge teams to save valuable time through automated, broadcast and direct messages (without guests having to download apps). Guests can simply text staff on their preferred app (SMS, WhatsApp, etc.).
“Guest Messaging is such a useful tool for us. For example, my 3pm-11pm front desk agent bakes cookies. The fact that she can now broadcast to our guests that freshly baked cookies are available at the front desk helps us create a better experience and generate more revenue.”
Maintaining active social media profiles on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn can increase your hotel's online visibility. Posting engaging content and updates helps potential guests discover the hotel and stay informed about its offerings. Take a look at how The Ludlow Hotel NYC use social media:
Social media platforms also facilitate two-way communication. Hotels can respond to guest inquiries, comments and messages in real time, providing a direct and interactive channel for guest interactions.
Customized local guides
Create digital guides, personalized for each guest based on their interests. These guides offer valuable information about the locale, helping guests explore nearby attractions, restaurants, activities and services. Consider including foodie guides to local restaurants or outdoor enthusiast guides to nearby hiking trails. These could take many forms, including:
Digital mobile app: If your hotel has a dedicated app, share your guide with guests there. This is a great way to provide real-time updates, interactive maps, and personalized recommendations.
In-room tablet: Equip in-room tablets with your guest’s local guide. Here, they could access local information and recommendations. Consider going a step further and enable them to make reservations.
Printed brochure: Provide guests with printed brochures containing a curated list of local attractions, dining options, shopping districts and cultural experiences. These can be placed in guest rooms or provided at the front desk.
Upselling in person is harder than it looks. It requires charisma, skill, and a bit of luck. Upselling technology, however, helps you offer add-ons intelligently and contextually throughout a guest’s stay.
With upselling technology, hotels automate offers to guests through various communication channels, like email, SMS, or in-app notifications. These offers can be tailored based on guest profiles and preferences, creating a personalized communication approach.
The bottom line
Effective hotel guest communication enhances guest satisfaction, fosters loyalty, and can lead to positive reviews and repeat business. It involves clear and courteous communication through various channels, including face-to-face interactions, phone calls, emails, messaging technology, and mobile apps. And it should be tailored to meet individual guest needs and preferences.
Social Media Marketing Strategy For Hotels: 11 Best Practices
Social media is an extension of your physical brand. This means your hotel’s social media marketing strategies should reflect your values, aesthetics and personality. Read this post to learn how to get it right.
12 Hotel Ancillary Revenue Ideas You Can Implement Today
Looking for new and innovative ways to increase revenue at your hotel? With the tools and revenue-generating ideas for hotels in this detailed blog post, you’re ready to get strategic with ancillary revenue management.
SEO for Hotels: How to Drive More Traffic to Your Website
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for hotels is a long game, not a quick fix. But don’t get discouraged; just keep following as many of the hotel SEO tips in this guide as possible and your rankings are sure to improve.
Get It Right: Your Guide to Online Review Management for Hotels
Your hotel's digital reputation impacts both your ability to win over guests and how much you can charge. This comprehensive Guide details the smartest strategies and tactics for hotel online review management.
10 Hotel Staff Training Strategies for Success in a Tight Labor Market
Good hotel staff training is essential, especially today. Put these tips into practice and implement easy-to-use technology and you’ll find yourself with a happier, more productive workforce in no time!