In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “True hospitality consists of giving the best of yourself to your guests.” At an age where customer demands are evolving, hospitality’s guest-host relationship also evolves alongside.
Guest comfort is almost synonymous with what hospitality stands for. Thus, it’s important to highlight the correlation between employee comfort and guest satisfaction. In the new business world driven by digitalisation and new employee welfare standards, it is vital that hospitality businesses avoid burnout cultures as the guest experiences are connected with what hoteliers are experiencing.
Employees are trying to find the right balance between technology and the human touch amidst the rising number of hotel trends and tech-savvy guests. All of this boils down to using the resources at hand to optimise hotel operations and service delivery to enhance guest experiences.
How can hospitality improve guest relationships?
Offering a personalised experience
Modern guests expect customised treatment from the moment they make a room reservation or book a table.
According to Forbes, 79% of consumers say they are more loyal to brands with higher levels of personalisation. This highlights the importance of personalisation in guest loyalty and satisfaction. This can be achieved with high connectivity between operations and integrating multiple technology modules, including the hotel site, property management system, point of sales software and even guest service applications.
Data collected through each of these channels using surveys, reservation details or order details can provide insights into the types of services each guest prefers. For instance, a room booking option which offers the guest’s favourite room view at a hotel, a spa package with their favourite treatments, or even a menu combo with their favourite food and beverages.
Optimise the brand’s messaging strategy
It’s also essential for hotels to realise that enticing guests to engage with brands require personalisation in their messaging strategies. Every marketing, sales message or communication sent to a guest needs to be optimised as per the preferences of the particular guest, prospects and leads.
It’s time for hoteliers to leverage their analytics from CRM systems, websites, landing pages and even their POS or booking solutions to understand the expectations of each audience segment. This, in turn, empowers hoteliers to provide targeted messages to their customers at each stage of the buyers’ journey and foster more loyal relationships.
This also enables the staff to have better control of their sales and relationship with their guests, and optimise other interactions such as social media posts, emails that celebrate personal milestones (birthdays and anniversaries), or even feedback and survey forms.
Increase efficient communications
New-age guests prefer direct contact with the receptionist via means other than the in-room telephone and expect convenience at all times, whether they are in a penthouse suite of a metropolitan building or a camping nook in the wilderness. Access to information is a vital need for modern audiences who always prefer to stay in touch.
Using chatbots or messaging hubs that can communicate with guests via all channels such as SMS, WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger make it possible for hotels to respond to guest queries instantly. It also provides both the business and the guests benefits, including speedy exchanges, easy access to information, updating data on a web portal, and providing all-time availability via automated messages.
The hospitality industry is ever thankful for the development of automated communication and natural language processing. These reliable smart communication channels can respond to guests concerns and queries even when staff is unavailable at the desk or when there is a high number of queries.
Instant staff availability
Guest requests and queries do not end at communication needs. In-person availability is a must for a hospitable experience. It is vital that hotels use a streamlined guest request management method to ensure that staff members are ready to provide any assistance guests need at any time.
A hospitality brand that provides 24/7 staff availability can foster a sense of welcome and security to guests, encouraging them to consider the brand as reliable and trustworthy.
As the host, enabling smart services that automate the back-end and free the hotel staff from routine tasks is also a wise step. It can improve staff availability and humanise the front-end operations of a venue.
Seamless internal operations
The importance of good internal operations to streamline external and customer-facing operations cannot be underlined enough.
Hospitality businesses are only able to provide excellence to guests when the internal staff management is faultless with streamlined inter-employee communication and efficient task allocation.
This means that it is essential to establish effective communication between teams from different departments, such as housekeeping, reception, and kitchen staff. This includes integrated cloud solutions that enable hotels to handle staff shifts, monitor overperformance or underperformance, allocate housekeeping responsibilities and send order requests to kitchen staff swiftly.
Guest empowerment through digitalisation
Digitalisation should not be limited to the back-end operations of hospitality. While bespoke guest services are a must, they should also be seamless and free of friction; from the booking right up until check-out, there should be no inconveniences for the guest.
For instance, contactless check-in and check-out processes can take away the additional steps when engaging with a hotel. Some examples are, filling out forms at the front desk or waiting in the queue. Collecting guest preferences via a central reservation system can help hotels prepare services like hotel-provided pick-up or room allocation based on preferences. Solutions like mobile keys, guest engagement apps or attribute-based selling can empower guests to be more in control of their experience.
Such services give the guest the freedom to choose what is best for them and make them feel the hotel is adapting to them. Digitalisation can make the delivery of a personalised, seamless experience even easier for the host or the hotelier and show the guests that their needs are seen and understood.
The perfect guest-host relationship is a combination of multiple factors
The ultimate guest experience is all about the services, amenities and ambience that a guest feels the moment they start to interact with a brand.
When used effectively, the combination of human touch and technology enables hospitality businesses to deliver the smoothest guest journey and also provides the hotel with the power to streamline all of its services. It is not only about providing the guests with royal treatment but also empowering the staff with the resources that reinforce such treatment. After all, a well-satisfied guest will always want to visit frequently, which will lead to better revenue and increased profit.
Rajesh P Yadav
Chief Revenue Officer
As the Senior VP for Middle East & Africa, Rajesh P Yadav lovingly known as “RPY” at IDS is one of our most enigmatic leaders who is extremely capable in strategic planning, business operations and business development. He identifies new potential markets and find ways to build new clients for IDS in these new markets.