How to Deal with Spontaneous Change of Guest Expectations
Today’s digital landscape means things change daily, even hourly, and by the minute. That’s never been truer than with your customers’ expectations.
Customer expectations of hotels are higher than ever before because of access to you. Not only can they call you, but they can text, comment on social media, use your online chatbot, or email you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
They can contact you to complain or make a comment, and they expect an instant answer. If you make them wait more than a few hours, you often leave them with unmet expectations.
So, in this article, we look at how to deal with a spontaneous change of guest expectations. It happens all the time, but you can meet their needs head on.
First, lets look at why expectations are ever-changing.
The Revolving Door of Guest Expectations
Technology has made your customers impatient. They want things quicker than ever before.
Where an hour wait for room service 10 years ago was acceptable, today anything longer than 30 minutes would be grounds for a major complaint.
Today’s hotel customer is less tolerant than in the past. Just think how fast they can order something from tech giant, Amazon. This company has had the most effect on your customers’ expectations.
Why? They have conditioned customers to get what they want when they want it.
The “Amazon-effect” has trickled down to other industries – even your hotel property.
Your guests want their coffee and newspaper at a certain time in the morning, they want you to anticipate their needs, and they want you available to them in seconds.
How can you combat this expectation of theirs that everything should be immediate?
First, you can dedicate your hotel and your employees to providing speedy access to assistance, your amenities, and your facilities.
Next, considering leveraging technology to help you provide quick services to your hotel guests. For example, you might consider offering express dining options. Hotel guests can choose from an express menu, order by phone or text, and have it delivered in 15 minutes.
Everything you can do to make your processes with your guests more streamlined, efficient, and speedy, the better. In addition, move to either text messaging or an app for communications. Your guests don’t want to sit on the phone and wait for help.
Anticipating the Needs of Your Guests
It’s never been easier to anticipate the needs of your guests. This can help you deal with their sudden changes in guest expectations.
How do you predict their needs? With technology.
Your customers expect you to not only meet their expectations but to exceed them and take it a step further. They want you to know what they need before they even know it. (tweet this)
They expect your hotel to provide a personal experience with personalized service.
Because of technology and the growth of data, you have information at your fingertips that can help you better understand your customers.
You can use data to pick up on patterns at your hotel. For example, you might find that your business travelers always eat at your restaurant, and they usually do it at 7 pm. Because of this, you can suggest scheduling a table in advance for that time.
Collect as much data as you can at the time of booking, survey your customers after their stay, and talk to them while they’re in your hotel. These things will help you anticipate their future needs.
Developing Relationships with Your Customers
By training your employees well and instilling a culture of customer service, you’ll also be able to deal
with spontaneous changes in your guests’ expectations.
When your staff feels empowered to provide the best service possible, you end up with happier guests who feel their needs have been met. This means training your staff so they can handle conflict without your help.
Give your staff the ability to act on their own. You give them this courage through ongoing training. For example, if you have an unhappy customer in your hotel, if your customer service staff can handle this without involving management, your customer will feel taken care of.
Help your team by providing them with a tip sheet that offers solutions for common guest problems. Don’t make them uncover them on their own. Your front line staff should be armed with a number of viable solutions to common issues.
Every single time a guest encounters your staff is the perfect time to over-perform when it comes to customer service. Don’t make your guests wait for your staff to find the answer. Give them the tools so they can provide the answer.
The relationships your staff create with your guests turns into return customers and positive word of mouth recommendations.
Provide Immediate Access
It used to be that your guests were happy to book a room by picking up the phone or faxing you the reservation.
This was a long time ago in digital years. Today’s customer wants to be able to book a room with you immediately from the comfort of their own living rooms. They want to be able to do it from their phone, tablet, or laptop.
You can deal with changing expectations by going overboard to provide immediate access through your hotel’s app or website. Make sure your customers can get what they want immediately.
If you meet your customers’ digitally better than the competition, you’ll find your bookings increase. Why? Because you can meet their changing needs earlier, faster, and better.
Knowing, managing, meeting, and then exceeding your guest expectations is key to your continued success.
You can do it, though. Leverage technology including apps, websites, social media, text messaging, and email. Provide your guests information and access to your hotel in as many places as possible.
By anticipating their needs, when they change, you’ll find you’ve already met them.
Work on building relationships with your customers, and you will also find you’re better able to predict what they want so you can meet them head on.
Aim to always go one step further, and you’re well on your way to exceeding those spontaneous changes in guests expectations.
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