The Biggest Issues Hotel Owners Faced In 2019
For hotels to grow their business, it’s helpful to know about common challenges to lodging properties.
In this article, we look at the biggest issues hotel owners faced in 2019. Why? So that you can make informed business decisions moving forward to increase your bookings and move to the future.
Managing High Customer Expectations
One of the most common challenges across the board in 2019 was managing customer expectations. Sometimes they can seem insurmountable, but you can overcome them.
Like fellow hotel owners, you’ve probably found that your guests ask for more than they ever have before.
Hotel guests insist on exceptional customer service. They want their needs met before they even know they have them. And, when they don’t get the response they want, they commonly head to the internet to leave negative feedback on sites like Google, TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Facebook.
So, how do you, as a property owner, increase your customer service and meet your guests’ rather large list of expectations?
- Train, train, and train again.
- Have customer service policies and procedures.
- Ensure that your front desk staff is able to handle our guests issues with ease, and that comes with increased customer service training.
- Your housekeeping staff should know exactly what is required of them. Someone should be checking over their work. This is one area where your guests are likely to complain, so it’s vital that you go above and beyond here.
Bottom line – your guests expect the best possible experience when they stay at your hotel. To do this, meet their needs and offer great customer service. Think about their needs and pre-empt them needing them.
Managing Their Online Reputation
Along with managing customer expectations comes managing your online reputation.
This is a symbiotic relationship because if your service is poor, you will get negative online reviews.
Start with a great experience on your website, so bookings are easy. Then, continue with a great customer experience at your hotel. This is the best way to limit negative reviews.
If you do get a negative reviews, it’s imperative to respond to them quickly and empathetically. Acknowledge your guest’s problems and try to help solve them. If you do it right, they’ll often remove their negative review.
If they don’t remove it, at least other potential customers can see how you handled the situation and that you put customer service first.
Train your team to do everything they can to elicit positive reviews by providing excellent service.
Upgrading Processes for Mobile Technology
You can also improve the overall guest experience by taking a good look at mobile technology as this was another big issues hotels face.
Things you can do include instant check-in and check-out, replacing room keys with mobile entry, allow guests to communicate through text messaging, and more.
By overcoming the mobile challenge, you improve your guests’ experience as well as your reputation and your efficiency.
Personalizing the Guest Experience
The buzz word in 2019 was personalization, and it caused some issues for hotel owners.
It’s a challenge because it takes some creative thought to personalize your guest’s stay. You want to make their stay one that feels like it was made just for them.
This personalization starts in your marketing. For example, if you send out emails, make sure they’re personalized.
Once your guests arrive at your hotel, consider tailoring their stay and making it personalized. Set up your software to remember their preferences, leave them a personalized welcome note in their room with a small surprise. Remember how they like to eat their meals, etc.
This is another way to excel at customer service.
Dealing with a Shortage of Skilled Workers
In 2019, the hospitality industry saw a lack of skilled workers and a difficulty hiring workers.
Hotels have often had a hard time putting together not only a good team but one that would stick around. Many employees are in between jobs or careers, or they are only interested in a paycheck. This makes employee retention and training programs difficult.
Staff turnover is hard on hotels, and because of this, hotels have to work harder to provide excellent service.
Enhancing Employee Benefits
Because labor shortages are a great challenge, hotels should consider making some changes in how they take care of their employees. For example, offering better benefits and working conditions can encourage employee retention.
While you consider standard benefits, also take into account creative benefits. This will go a long way towards increasing the quality of your labor pool and getting employees to stay with your hotel.
Another issue in 2019 for hotels was sustainability.
Hotel customers want to frequent businesses that care about the environment and are using environmentally-friendly processes.
Sustainability is an important marketing tool for your hotel, so working to move your hotel towards a green business is a good idea.
In addition, you might even find some local economic incentives if you move your business along the “green” spectrum.
Things to think about include placing recycling receptacles around the hotel, using compostable cups, plates, etc., using low-flush toilets, and going paper free.
Whatever route you take, do make sure to put information about it online and in your hotel.
Handling Foreign Tourists
Another 2019 challenge came with an influx of foreign tourists.
While this was good for business, the hotel industry as a whole struggled to provide exceptional service to non-English speakers.
To overcome this, make note of cultural differences your international travelers may have. For example, words may mean different things, and certain hand gestures or signs of affection may not be accepted in their culture.
You can also hire workers who speak the language of the majority of your foreign visitors.
Dealing with Global Economies
The ups and downs of global economies was also a challenge in 2019.
While the economy was great in the United States, this wasn’t true for many countries outside the U.S.
For example, when demand for travel goes down, hotels are impacted.
Change is Hard, But You Can Weather It
This is quite true for the hotel industry.
With change often comes challenges. Sometimes these challenges are unpredictable, but other times you can see them coming.
The most important thing you can do overall to weather issues is to create a customer-centered hotel. Because your guests want what they want when they want it, provide them exceptional service that anticipates their needs. (tweet this)
Once you have this company culture in place, you can train and work with your staff to provide it. This will help you weather many common issues that faced hotel owners in 2019.
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