We can probably all agree that first prize in an accommodation property business is the returning guest who books directly. And if a guest does that, it means he or she had a very good stay, left a great review, and probably even spread the word to friends about your property.
How do you get more of those first-prize guests? Especially over the busy holiday period, when you might be rushed off your feet… It’s the small things that leave a lasting impression, and make your accommodation stand out from others that travellers might have stayed at. We’ve come up with a list of the little extras that make a big difference, and do get noticed by guests. And, they needn’t cost you a fortune.
Spend a night in each room
Sounds odd maybe, but before things get too busy, test your rooms out yourself. How’s the room temperature? Are there enough plugs and adaptors for all kinds of devices? Has a lamp light bulb blown? Is there a strange noise in the pipes at 3am? These little things can make or break a night for a sometimes-weary traveller, and your review may not be as glowing as you hoped.
Offer free, fast Wi-Fi
Travel surveys show time and again that Wi-Fi is one of the most of important requirements for many people searching for accommodation online. And these days most guests don’t expect to pay for Wi-Fi. Make it free, and make sure it’s fast.
Start the relationship before guests arrive
Mail your guests a few days before they arrive, to say hi, and to find out if there’s anything in particular they are interested in, or may need. Perhaps you can put them in touch with a baby-sitting service before they ask you at the last minute. An email exchange beforehand means that by the time they get there, it will be like welcoming back a return guest.
Check in on your guests a few hours after arrival
Sometimes guests are shy to complain about something but they’ll still register it as a fault in their minds. A quick check with them gives them the space to flag it, and lets them know you’re there to fix it. And if they do report something as broken, aim to fix it before they get back that day – that’s good service!
Anticipate their needs
A choice of pillows, bottled water on the bedside table, delicious biscuits on the tea tray and a few menus of local restaurants (make sure they are up-to-date) – these things will be noticed and remembered. If they are checking out early, pack a muffin and fresh juice that they can take with them. Let them know you’re available on Whatsapp during their stay – they may have a quick question that you can answer in a heartbeat, and everyone wins.
Add a personal touch
Treat your regular guests like VIPs. Make them feel appreciated with a discount that is offered only to them. Leave them a handwritten note to welcome them back again, and keep a record of their likes and dislikes – there’s nothing more impressive than someone remembering you prefer an espresso to a cappuccino.
The next few months are probably your busiest, but don’t let your guests feel like they are just another booking. To bag those returning guests, who leave excellent reviews, make sure you give them a reason to come back.
Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash