Do any of these experiences resonate with you… You’ve been promised a city view in the room you booked and it’s blocked by a tall building? The pool you’ve been dreaming of is closed due to construction? You were promised a private guide on your vineyard tour and ended up in a group? Most of us have had an experience that didn’t meet our expectations and when we invest our time and resources into dreaming of, and booking a trip, we want those expectations to be met. In fact, travelers are taking matters into their own hands to form those expectations–72% of travelers always or frequently read reviews before deciding where to stay or eat or what activities to do.
When realistic expectations are set, and better yet, when you exceed them, customers are more likely to leave positive reviews, share their experiences on social media, come back to visit you again, and promote your brand by word-of-mouth.
Where are your potential customers developing their expectations?
Online. There is no shortage of information to be found in the digital age. Travelers are browsing your website and your Google presence (Google reviews, Google Maps) to learn more about you. If you’re partnering with Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) or other third party websites, the experience customers have when booking through them paints a picture of what they can expect. Social media and review sites also play a huge role. Though the idea of reviews can seem negative at times, the good news is the top reason given by 87% of travelers for leaving a review is that they want to share positive experiences with fellow travelers. This is a great opportunity for hotel and attraction marketers–build up a collection of consumer-generated content and those positive reviews, and monitor and respond promptly to the negative ones. Travelers typically read several reviews before making a booking with you so this simple task can have a huge impact on booking volumes.
While digital is huge, don’t overlook the value of the expectations formed offline. Through word of mouth, your customer service, and the experience guests have while visiting your hotel or attraction, further expectations are formed and shared.
But with all of these opportunities for potential customers to develop expectations both online and offline, what can you do now? Our latest eBook Managing Customer Expectations for Hotels and Attractions offers insight on how content across your online and offline marketing channels drives customer expectations, top tips for managing negative reviews, and some of the latest marketing trends for impressing customers throughout their experience.
In this blog, we’ve laid out a few quick tips to get you started.
Embrace Your Unique Offerings and Get to Know Your Customers
Focus on the things that your current customers love about your brand and experience. Is your hotel right in the heart of the city? Is your attraction a quiet escape? Along with knowing what you offer, and how that differs from your competitors, it is just as important to get to know your customers and what makes them unique. Knowing your customers is the first step in exceeding their expectations as it gives you the tools to tailor the experience to them. Monitoring social media engagement, utilizing a Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM), and putting out a survey to past customers are just a few ways you can begin to understand them and their needs better. With this information, you can focus on the customers you’re looking to–and likely to–attract.
Focus on Messaging
Simplify your messaging and weave this into all of your communications. The more concise and cohesive your messaging is across your channels, the more customers will trust and relate to your brand. They don’t need to know everything all at once–incorporate the things that really make your brand special, and test the content in your advertising. A/B testing is a great way to learn which ads customers are engaging with the most and which drive the most direct bookings. You can do this in a variety of ways. Test things like which images perform best, which ad sizes are most popular, and which call-to-action encourages the most clicks. Constant testing of your ads can help to ensure you’re reaching your customers with the right messaging, in the right way.
To learn more about managing customer expectations for your hotel or attraction, download the Managing Customer Expectations for Hotels and Attractions eBook. We’ve also included top tips throughout on what you can do to manage expectations during the pandemic to help you recover faster.