How to Make your Hotel Guests Happier with no Extra Expense to Hoteliers
Making your hotel guests happier during their stay does not happen by accident:
In an industry that revolves around customer service, knowing how to please your guests is crucial for the success of your operation. Hotel industry veterans know, and numerous industry surveys show, that it does not always take a major financial investment to make your hotel much more appealing for travelers. It takes a lot of planning, creative thinking and enthusiasm to create the right type of atmosphere.
Knowing how to make your guests happier is good for business. You will receive more positive reviews on travel sites. Happy customers will share their positive experiences on Facebook and other popular online social sites. Your efforts to please your customers will lead to more repeat business and you will start to see an increase in occupancy rates and revenues. How to put smiles on faces and make for a happier hotel stay is a matter of taking a series of small steps that, when combined, will make a big difference in the quality of your guests experiences
In business, if you are not at the top of your industry, there is plenty of room for improvement. You can not afford to sit by and hope that by some miracle your business will turn around. Following are some suggestions on how to make your hotel more appealing and make your guests happier.
Give them free WiFi
Having free wireless service in your rooms is probably more important than having a dial tone on the telephones that sit on the nightstand by the beds. You can not ignore technology today as travelers carry smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices that use wireless connections. People resent having to pay extra for WiFi, so if you insist on recovering your investment, it is better to charge $5 or $10 more on room rates and be able to “honestly” advertise that you offer this desired service for free.
Use brand name shampoos, soaps and lotions
It may cost you an extra dollar or two per room to have brand name shampoos, soaps and lotions sitting on the bathroom counter, but they do evoke a positive response from your visitors. Everyone knows that these small items get taken as little souvenirs. House keeping has to replace them every day when they disappear and that adds a little to your supply costs. Consider the extra money it costs for upgraded bath products an investment in happiness.
Don’t let them go hungry
Offering a free breakfast is good, but having a free breakfast with fresh seasonal fruit, delicious pastries and other special menu items, will leave a very positive impression. People equate eating a nice meal with happiness. You can also trigger those epicurean emotions by offering free cookies or snacks at the front desk, having an informal evening wine and cheese party or serving hot cocoa during the winter months.
Families like to travel
When families travel with young children, they always appreciate it when you go beyond the expected and make it a priority to focus on the young ones. Having baby cribs, games and coloring books, and maybe even handing out little stuffed animals to small children when a family arrives, makes it obvious that your hotel is a good place for families to stay.
Make the television an entertainment center
People may not stay in their rooms all day, but they do spend enough time in them that they need to find things to keep them entertained. You have the opportunity to fill those needs by making the television the entertainment center in each room. Today’s high-definition televisions provide a fantastic picture and make watching a movie almost as good as seeing one in a theater. You should not have 10 or 20 channels, but rather, subscribe to a service and give them 100 or 200 channels. Enhance the capabilities of the television entertainment center by making it possible to play games, watch DVDs and even connect to the Internet.
Happiness is a hot cup of coffee
There is nothing like a good cup of coffee to start out the day. Every room should have a coffee station with a selection of premium quality coffee. It is also nicer to have mugs as opposed to cheap foam cups. Give your guests the shot of caffeine they are craving and they will start off the day on a high note.
Take a creative approach to room service
If you do not have an onsite restaurant or a kitchen that can prepare meals, you can still offer the convenience of room service by thinking a little creatively. Forge a relationship with several of the local restaurants that offer delivery service. They can prepare meals off-site and deliver them to hungry people who do not feel like going out for dinner. The restaurants will love getting additional business and you will take another step toward making your new friends happier.
Offer special rates for less desirable rooms
Almost every lodging facility has a few rooms that are oddly shaped, much smaller than the other rooms or are located in an undesirable part of the building. You should set aside a few of these less optimal rooms and offer them to travelers who are very budget conscious. If you are willing to stay in a room that is only slightly larger than a walk-in closet, you deserve a break on the standard rate.
How about some free tickets or free passes?
One of the things a manager can do to make their temporary clients happier is to provide some free passes or tickets to area attractions. If your property does not have an on-site exercise facility, you might make arrangements with a local gym and issue passes that allow people staying with you to have free access to the really nice health and fitness center just a few blocks away. Even if you can not give away $100 tickets to Disneyland or other major attractions, you can offer special rates by subsidizing part of the cost. Making relationships with local restaurants and shops helps create more business for everyone in the hospitality industry. Visitors love the free or discounted offers and will be happy to spend money when they feel they are getting a good deal.
A la carte pricing is better left to the airlines
Judging from the really negative reaction people have over the recent trend in the airline industry to nickel-and-dime people to death with all of those add-on charges to basic airfare, it is smart to avoid continuing the policy when people arrive at your property. Although it is quite true that you incur additional expenses for having WiFi installed, providing business services and putting a roll-away bed in a room, you need to think hard before passing on those costs to your customers. Your pricing policy should be clearly stated and it does not hurt to be a little more lenient to make people happy.
Remember that you are in the hospitality business and your job is all about how to make people smile and have a pleasant experience during their stay. You do not need to spend a fortune to please your customers. Sometimes, all it takes is a smile and a good cup of coffee.