Getting your guests to return again and again


Getting your guests to come back again and again.

Our home-away-from-home for Indaba in Durban is always 10 Woodlands Road B&B in Glenwood. This year I really paid attention to all the small details that ensure that we keep coming back again and again.

The Welcome

It starts before you get there with a quick reply to your realtime, online booking to assure you that it’s been received and to reconfirm payment procedures. Even us techies appreciate the “ping-back” from a real person at the other end to confirm all is well with your online booking.

The welcome continues when you arrive.  However, the friendliness never compromises the professionality, so the check in still covers all the formalities quickly and efficiently. A glance through guest review sites will show how often the hosts or owners are mentioned as having made the real difference to whether someone will return or not.  It seems to require a balance between being friendly, knowledgeable and helpful, without being too effusive and invasive. A tough one! But Ursula, James and Naphtal get this balance exactly right.


Ursula and Naphtal in the breakfast room where miracles happen every morning.

The Room Design

The rooms of course are spotless, with great finishes, quality linen and a place to put your suitcase (other than on the lovely white bed). The real treat for me though is the fact that there is a load of hangers in the cupboard and plenty of shelving space for my clothes. If you’re staying for more than a few days, these details become important for us “girls”, especially when you’re on a business trip. There is a lot more in the room design that shows they thought about guest comfort, from conveniently-placed light switches and lamps, to heated towel-rails in the bathroom.

Free wifi, which is easily set up with a password available in the room, is such a pleasure. We’re assured that guests don’t abuse the service.

The small details (and big bubble bath!)

But then to some of the less obvious items that show attention to detail: Plug adapters for the european two-point plugs (both the round and the flat one); a huge bottle of bubble bath; real coffee in the small refrigerator and even some hot chocolate on the room tray. When I had green tea for breakfast, I found some in my room later on (just in case).

Remembering guest preferences makes them feel that you care — and who doesn’t like that?

Of course the breakfasts could fill an entire blog post (and perhaps Ursula and  Naphtal will share some of their recipes with us for a future post!). Beautifully presented, varied from day to day and above all delicious, the breakfast is a regular feature on their guest reviews.

The planning makes it look easy.

Making it all look easy and effortless is the real art, I’ve realised. You don’t notice all the planning it takes — from pre-printing maps of the area with the restaurants highlighted, to having area maps available to show the shortcut back to the airport — but you would notice if it wasn’t there.

We know so many of our other clients are doing a fantastic job, with beautifully kept properties and wonderful service. We’d love to hear some of your opinions, tips and comments on the small touches (and big plans) you use to keep your guests loyal.