Reviews. One of the most influential factor for the guest when try to answer the Hamlet question – Book or Not to Book? Based on the research of TripAdvisor, 77% of travellers usually or always read reviews before booking a hotel. 80% of travellers read 6-12 reviews before booking the hotel. Those are significant numbers.
How does this fact affect you? It’s pretty straightforward. You just have to collect many positive reviews in order to build a trust when your potential guest browse the offers served by booking engines. In this moment, negative reviews are your worst enemy (besides the fact that 9 positive reviews and 1 negative review sell more than 10 positive reviews – however, I am not sure if it can be applied in the hospitality industry, too). Don’t forget that if you receive a negative feedback on Booking.com, you need at least 3 positive reviews to restore the rating you had before the negative review came. So, it is obvious that you want to avoid negative reviews.
Even worse thing is that it is not that difficult to obtain one. Many of you probably know “for this money, how could the bulb be blown?” type of guests. They often seem satisfied when leaving your hotel but after their stay, you can see they slander you all over the Internet. And this is something you cannot afford when your potential guests have dozens of other options.
This post will teach you how to do eliminate this pattern and identify unsatisfied guest before he/she leaves.
First-class services are Alpha and Omega
Before we start, you should remember one thing. You will not be able to please your guest unless you are ready to provide high level service. It does not mean that you cannot be great if you don’t have a spa or restaurant with masterchef. I am talking about other factors you can affect: willingness, decency, joy, helpfulness and humility. If you are not ready to provide those when problem arise, there are odds you will not please your guest in a proper way. You cannot be perfect anytime, it is normal, no one is. However, your attitude to solve the problem will make a difference.
Give a chance to complain before the guest checks out
The difference between positive and negative review is not just in a way of handling a complaint. Even more important is the opportunity to handle it or not. Many times the guest faces some problem in the room like non-working TV, WiFi etc., she doesn’t want to call to the front desk and always forget about it when they are around (This is at least my case). The guest’s anger intensifies and nobody solves her problem because nobody knows about it. So once the guest is at home, she turns on Booking, TripAdvisor and all other possible media and doesn’t hesitate to write about it. W-R-O-N-G! When something like this happens, you failed to know your guests.
What you should do is to make it easy for your guests to complain during their stay in a way you can identify them. If you know the name of the guest or the room number, you can get in touch and solve the problem immediately. In other words, you can make unsatisfied guest to be satisfied in the moment he/she leaves. How you will do it (discount, extra free service, apology) is a matter of your policy. The crucial factor is the medium that will allow the guests to let you know that something is wrong.
There are several options to find out that there is a problem:
- Complaint box
- Complaint kiosk
- Mobile application
1. Complaint box
This might seem quiet old school but it can work especially well for people who are not that engaged in technology. The use of pencil and paper will help them share their feelings about your hotel. Don’t forget to include the box for the room number (and don’t forget to ask for it).
2. Complaint kiosk
You probably saw a big machine with the keyboard use option at least once during your life. People can stand by and write some comments to it besides they can receive some other information. You can put this kind of machine to the frequently visited place in your hotel so your guests will not overlook it. It will increase your chances to collect some valuable suggestions. However, the price might not be favorable for you.
3. Mobile application
Many mobile applications (and RoomAssistant, too) include the feedback feature. Moreover, you can add maintenance as your live chat option so guest can ask for help anytime something is wrong. Use of hotel feedback app helps you identify problems in real time, as guest can let you know immediately by picking up his/her smartphone or tablet. You can also connect the complaint with the person or room number, so you are able to provide nice gesture to make thing right. Another advantage is that there are several solutions on the market whose price will not smash your budget.
Remember, that your goal is to listen to your guests (especially the angry ones), react to their complaints and once they want to tell the world, they will praise you. How would you ensure your guests leave satisfied? Let us know in comments.