Although it should be obvious, there’s a lot of evidence these days that happy customers translate to more revenue for businesses. For example, a study by McKinsey found that customers base 70% of their buying experiences on how they feel they’re being treated. Meanwhile, a survey by ACSI found that guest satisfaction at U.S. hotels was just 75% in 2019. Not horrible, but there’s lots of room for improvement—which means that in the hotel industry, there’s a lot of room for revenue growth if you can keep your customer satisfaction high.
Since front-desk check-in is the first point of contact for hotel guests, this is a good place to start in raising your customer satisfaction to gain a competitive advantage. Below, we’ll go over 5 ways you can enhance the check-in experience to impress your guests from the start.
Front-desk staff can begin personalizing the check-in experience by familiarizing themselves with guests before they even arrive. We recommend building guest profiles and having essential guest information such as their first name, prior stay history, stay purpose, notes regarding current stay, and personal preferences readily available in your hotel management system.
Having quick and easy access to guest information allows the front-desk team to go beyond calling guests by their first name, allowing staff to truly personalize the guest’s hotel experience. Prioritizing a personalized check-in experience can also help standardize solutions and streamline operations, which leads to greater efficiency for front-desk staff.
According to IBM’s Hotel 2020: The Personalization Paradox report, “Experienced hoteliers know that standardized solutions actually complement the delivery of personalized services. By freeing front-line employees from the mechanics of processes and systems that currently burden them, hotels can enable a more intimate guest interaction.”
Sometimes, self-service can be a superior option, especially when it can reduce or eliminate time waiting in line to check-in at a hotel. Consider transforming your hotel customer journey with a remote check-in option. Letting your guests check-in via mobile also frees front-desk staff to focus on other tasks such as handling group check-ins.
While there are some concerns that remote check-in experiences can reduce interactions between guests and the hotel, George Corbin, the Senior Vice President of Digital at Marriott International, found that offering mobile check-in gives consumers choice, which enhances their human interactions at the hotel. “Our mobile technology is making the human moments at our hotels better, more effective, and more personal, rather than replacing the human moments.”
For guests who prefer to check-in on-premises, hotels can also install self-service kiosks. These self-check-in kiosks are great for simple individual check-ins. They help reduce queues at the front desk, provide more personalized experiences (e.g. language selection options), offer additional upsell opportunities, and enhance customer satisfaction. Research shows that 66% of customers prefer self-service over face-to-face service from sales associates.
Regular training is vital for all hotel staff members. It’s an excellent opportunity for the hotel to expand the knowledge base of their team members, which leads to improved performance, greater consistency, increased productivity, and innovation in new strategies and products.
When it comes to front-desk staff, regular training helps employees take on customer feedback and addresses their weaknesses. We recommend having a training manual that communicates the roles and best practices for your front-desk staff. Consider implementing a hotel checklist to help train your staff members to be more productive. You should also look into hiring a customer service trainer and pair this with online software training.
It’s not easy to manage the administrative and day-to-day operations of a hotel. If your front-desk staff members are bogged down with slow and inefficient processes and unable to cater to guests effectively, it could hurt your organization’s reputation and image. By leveraging new technologies like a hotel management system, you can improve overall operational efficiency and ensure staff members can focus more on guests.
For example, managing group reservations can be a time-consuming process. However, with CloudInn’s hotel management software, managers and front-desk staff can easily and quickly view or edit a room’s status via the Room Rack screen. This graphical drag-and-drop interface shows all the rooms in the hotel with key color codes, giving staff members a quick birds-eye-view of the hotel.
The competition in the hospitality and travel industry is fierce. That’s why every hotelier should prioritize the guest experience, particularly the check-in experience. By personalizing the customer experience, giving guests choices by offering multiple check-in options, regularly training your team, and leveraging new technologies, your hotel can gain a significant competitive advantage.
If you’re ready to leverage technology to implement a foolproof customer satisfaction strategy that can grow your business, book a demo with CloudInn today.
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