Make a strong first impression during the booking process
The guest experience begins when a traveller first discovers your accommodation, either via your own website or on an Online Travel Agency. This is your time to make a lasting impression and stand out from the competition.
Sometimes, listings on booking websites can come across a little impersonal or dull. Have you thought about the first picture and short description people get to see on an OTA? This little preview that shows up in the list of search results is what convinces travellers to click through and consider your accommodation. Don’t use a generic city photo with a bunch of cold facts here, but really showcase your unique assets.
Once users have clicked on your listing, try to convey the experience at your accommodation by means of vivid pictures and meaningful room descriptions. Interior photos are essential, but just empty beds can feel quite lifeless. To make it more personal, portray real people enjoying themselves and highlight your unique assets. The quality of your photos plays an important role, so consider letting a professional do the job for the perfect angles and lighting. Our Channel Manager allows you to easily manage the content on different OTAs.
On your website, you can go more in depth and dedicate a whole ‘About us’ page to telling your full story through text and images. Do you have an original story on how your accommodation came to be or other fun anecdotes? Don’t keep them to yourself! People like to know who’s behind the hotel or B&B that they’re staying in.
Next, guide website visitors to your user-friendly booking engine for a seamless booking experience. Here, you can show a few reviews of previous guests. After all, nothing is more convincing than first-hand experiences and testimonials from peers. Connect a Payment Service Provider like Mollie or Stripe, so that the monetary affairs can be taken care of in advance and guests no longer have to worry about it. Last but definitely not least, reassure your customers that the booking was successful by scheduling an automatic confirmation email.
Build a relationship with your guests prior to their arrival
Use pre-arrival communication to start developing a close customer relationship. Ask your future guests about any special preferences or allergies they may have, so that everything is sorted out in advance. A few days before their arrival, you can send them an invitation to check in online to save time. You can link our cost-effective emailing tool Emailinglist to your Bookingplanner PMS to automate and personalise all of your guest communication.
While you’re at it, invite people to follow you on social media, so they can become familiar with your accommodation. Go for a personal approach and start a dialogue with your audience. Instead of merely talking about yourself, be sure to launch questions, polls, contests, giveaways, … People on social media are not looking for practical information - that’s what your website is for – but want to get a sneak peek of the experience that awaits them. Make sure the content that you post on your channels is consistent with your story and branding.
The pre-arrival stage of the guest journey is also the perfect time for upselling and cross-selling. Check if your clients are interested in completing their experience with exciting add-ons or activities that you have to offer. Package deals make it super convenient for them to plan their trip further without hours of research. With tools like Oaky, you can simplify and automate your upselling efforts in a professional way.
Provide a warm and personal service to match the story
Offering guests an unforgettable experience requires time and attention. Therefore, use technology to take care of administrative duties, so you (and your staff) have more time to invest in excellent service. Make it clear to guests that they can always approach you (or your staff members) if they have any concerns or additional requests.
The first step of the stay is of course the check-in procedure. In case checking in online isn’t an option, there are a number of other time-saving check-in solutions you can use: a self-service kiosk or tablet, ID scanners, key system providers … Follow up by creating a memorable welcome experience, for example with a hand-written note accompanied by a small welcome gift. This could be a typical regional treat or merchandising of your accommodation like a tote bag, pin or coffee mug.
During the entire stay, convenience is key! Make it easy for guests to order and pay (contactless) for room service, for example by means of a QR code on the menu. Apply the same principle to your bar and/or restaurant. In addition, use the automatically generated housekeeping and breakfast lists in Bookingplanner to personalise these services. Should guests have special requests, you can simply add a memo to their reservation, which will show up in the according list.
Help guests make the most of their trip by providing relevant and up-to-date leaflets about excursions and places of interest. Of course, you (and your staff) can share genuine tips with guests face-to-face as well. Always stay informed about must-visit attractions and special events in the area.
Finally, the check-out process should be quick and hassle-free, so that guests can conclude their stay on a positive note. With the help of a good cloud PMS, the check-out only requires a few clicks and feels much more like a proper goodbye, especially when the payment has been settled beforehand.
Maintain the relationship with guests post stay
For hospitality professionals, it is crucial to remember that the guest experience doesn’t end with the check-out. Stay in touch via email and social media to maintain a personal customer relationship. This allows you to turn one-time guests into loyal customers or even ambassadors who will recommend your accommodation to friends and family.
After their departure, send your clients a personalised thank-you email with a request to write a review. Let them know you greatly appreciate their feedback and hope to make their next stay even more enjoyable. Do you have trouble gathering reviews? Try attaching an incentive to it, like a discount on their next stay. Take your time to do proper review management to show your engagement. Don’t just copy and paste the same generic response but reply to every comment in a personal and professional way.
If you don’t have a loyalty program in place yet, this is your sign to create one. Reward returning guests with, for example, a discount, free use of the spa or gym, a free breakfast, early check-in, late check-out … This is a great opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition, so let your creativity run wild!
Elevate the guest experience thanks to Bookingplanner
Bookingplanner is designed to simplify and accelerate various tasks at your accommodation, allowing you to dedicate more time to guests. Would you like to know more about our solutions? You can contact us at any time through the form below!