Hotel, inn, vacation rental stays might be temporary, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never see your guests again. With careful planning, you can turn them into repeat customers.
Repeat customers are good business: it’s easier to keep them than it is to attract new clients, and they’ll spend more than someone staying with you for the first time.
Here are a few tips to turn your one-time guests into loyal customers:
1. Get to know them
Let’s start with a small, but important, step: getting on a first-name basis with your customers. Even if they’re one-time guests, remembering their names helps build a rapport, and shows that you and your staff pay attention to details.
When they come into the lobby in the morning, ask what they have planned for the day. Find out what they do for fun. This can allow you to recommend things to do while they’re in town (museums, concerts, etc.).
When guests check out give them your business card – or your front desk manager’s card – with a note inviting them to get in touch with you if they need a place to stay the next time they pass through.
2. Don’t just make guests happy, DELIGHT them
But you can turn guests into loyal customers by going the extra mile. Is it the guest’s birthday? Upgrade their room, or offer a bottle of wine with dinner or a free treatment at your spa. It can even be something as small as free coffee with their wake-up call. If they’re unexpected, small gestures can make a big impression and delight your guests.
3. Keep in touch
When guests book their stay using an online travel service – or in the case of inns and B&Bs, a booking agency – you’ll have a harder time marketing to them later. But you can keep your guests updated about what you’re doing if you get their contact info – email especially – during their visit.
Once you have a guest’s email address, stay in touch throughout the year to keep your property at the top of their mind.
Get their feedback as well. It shows you care about how they felt about their stay, and lets you know what’s working when it comes to your customer service, and what you need to work on.
You don’t have to interact in person. You can just email back and forth, respond to them on social media and invite them to review your property on sites such as Trip Advisor.
You may not get across-the-board glowing reviews, but that’s okay. Acknowledging mistakes and correcting them can be helpful, and can help you figure out where you can improve customer service. Most customers are not looking for perfection. They are looking for you to be responsive to their needs and willing to go the extra mile for them.
4. Guests will remember your errors more than your successes
They call it the “service recovery paradox.” It’s the idea that a customer will have a better opinion of a business that fixes a problem with its service than they would if the problem had never occurred at all.
Hotels, B&Bs and vacation rental properties that want to transform their guests into loyal customers are aware of this concept and take it seriously.
They recognize that every complaint is important. It doesn’t matter if it seems small to you: it’s vital to your guest. Responding quickly and effectively can help your guest feel better about your property and their stay.
In most cases, an outspoken unhappy guest can become an outspoken advocate if their issue is addressed and resolved to their satisfaction in a prompt manner.
Are you looking for ways to make your guests more comfortable? Contact InnStyle. Our expert sales team is ready to assist you in making your hotel, inn, B&B or vacation rental property – a place customers will want to revisit.