In our latest webinar, Managing Guest Expectations in the Digital Age, we partnered with TripTease to discuss the ways guests set their expectations before arrival and what tools and techniques you can use to take back control of guest expectations.
If you missed the webinar, fear not: you can catch it on-demand and we’ve compiled and answered all the questions we received from fellow hoteliers, but ran out of time for and compiled your answers here:
When Do Guest Expectations Begin to Form?
Guest expectations form well before the guest visits your hotel. In fact, 77% of travelers usually or always reference reviews before choosing a hotel, and 80% of travelers read at least 6-12 reviews before booking a hotel.
Because reviews have such a huge impact on whether or not a potential guest will book with you, it’s imperative that you are constantly monitoring review sites and quickly responding to negative reviews. However, keep this tip in mind: Responding to 40% of reviews is effective in helping your guests and your bottom line, but anything more has diminishing returns.
Where Else Can Guest Expectations Be Formed?
Your website should have all the information a potential guest would need before booking with you. However, often times travelers begin their research on other sites, such as OTAs, social media, and review sites. Although you can’t directly control what is said on these sites, you can monitor your presence to ensure they are setting the right expectations for you.
Guest expectations can also form through offline channels. 92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, so word of mouth remains ever-important. A person may ask their friend for a hotel recommendation. The friend, then, begins to set expectations with their description of your property.
Lastly, expectations may form from your staff’s customer service if the potential guest calls or emails your hotel with questions before booking. Response times go a long way to set guest expectations, so make sure your staff is responding to emails within 24 hours and keeping hold time to a minimum.
How Do I Set Expectations Before and During the Guest’s Stay?
Make sure you are being completely honest about your hotel’s features and amenities. If you talk about your features in terms of “high-end luxury” but don’t have a large spa or decadent restaurant, managing guest expectations will be a constant challenge. Instead of promising everything to your guests, simplify and focus your message on your top amenities.
For example, COMO Metropolitan Miami Beach focuses on ensuring that their property attracts their ideal guest. Their message is clear in every aspect of their website and advertising—they are a sophisticated, modern retreat.
How Do I Manage Guest Expectations?
A great way to manage, and even exceed, guest expectations is through personalization. In fact, nearly 60% of travelers are significantly more satisfied when they feel their hotel stay is personalized. Personalization can occur through the option of an exact check-in time, personal content in-room, or access to local travel guides.
What If a Guest Has a Negative Experience at My Hotel?
You can handle negative experiences both online and offline. If a guest writes a negative review of their experience online, you have an opportunity to address it. Respond to the review within 48 hours; address each point of the complaint; look into the guest’s stay to see what issues may have led to the complaint; be empathetic; and finally, thank them for the feedback and invite them back to your property.
However, sometimes an offline approach is more effective. After a guest has raised a concern, reach out in person, over the phone, or via email. Address the complaint, be empathetic, and offer a resolution. Handling a guest’s complaint quickly and smoothly can transform a disappointed guest into an outspoken supporter of your hotel.
For more answers on handling guest expectations, download our eBook: The Hotelier’s Handbook to Managing Guest Expectations in the Digital Age.