The Complete Guest Experience: Overcoming the Top Three Challenges Once They Walk Through the Door

Hoteliers can capitalize on new opportunities and reap huge benefits

December 1, 2023

As seen in the HSMAI Insights Newsletter*

You deployed a campaign, captured the direct booking, and now the guest is arriving for their stay. It’s smooth sailing from here, right? Not quite. While a booking is a great first step, delivering a great customer experience during their stay is what will ultimately drive additional revenue and increase brand loyalty. However, many hoteliers are missing key opportunities to deliver, and that’s because there are often three key blind spots that prevent them from understanding what guests want when they walk through the door. Now, with the help of AI-enabled tools, hoteliers can capitalize on new opportunities and potentially reap huge benefits. In fact, we’ve seen some brands experience a 600% increase in guest engagement, a 35% increase in Net Promoter Score, and a 56% savings on brand quality audits. 

Here are the top three challenges hoteliers face during a guest’s stay–and how you can overcome them.

Understaffed properties lead to missed opportunities

Hotel staffing woes are well-known, and understaffed properties mean employees are spread too thin. While your employees are answering front desk calls or tackling other challenges, other guests’ questions are left unanswered. This not only can negatively impact the customer experience, but also means you’re likely missing out on opportunities to increase revenue by upselling or cross-selling add-on services or even products. 

With AI tools, you can pre-program real-time responses to guests’ most frequently asked questions across channels, including text, chat, social media, and more. By ensuring your guests get 24-hour answers to their questions, you can decrease your front desk calls by as much as 80%. This alleviates your front desk staff and frees them up to deliver exceptional in-person experiences and tackle more complicated guest needs. What’s more, AI can automate some monetization opportunities, such as early check in or late check out, room upgrades, and food and beverage options, to ensure you don’t miss out on revenue potential. 

You can’t fix problems until it’s too late

While you certainly strive to create a great experience for every guest, sometimes there’s a snag in the process. The problem is, you may not know until it’s too late. For example, a guest may become frustrated with the long front desk line and decide they don’t want to wait. While they may not say anything during their stay, they may pocket this bad experience and leave a negative review after they’ve returned home. 

If you don’t know about the bad experience, you can’t fix it while the traveler is still on-site. However, real-time tools can help you manage your brand’s reputation and get ahead of bad reviews. Driven by AI, these tools can solicit guest feedback during their stay so you can resolve issues when they happen–not ask for forgiveness after check out. Real-time insights allow you to touch base with your guests throughout their stay to make sure you’ve resolved any outstanding issues and prompt a positive review.

You lack the visibility needed to build brand loyalty

The best guest is one who is loyal to your hotel and books a return trip. But many hoteliers lack the visibility needed to cultivate that loyalty from the moment your potential guest shows interest in your property. Your guests are leaving a trail of data every time they interact with your brand. Those bread crumbs can help you shape the guest experience during their stay, which will ultimately build future loyalty.

By collecting the right guest data, including explicitly shared guest preferences, zero-party data and first-party PMS data, and using AI-enabled tools, you can transform your guests’ data into tailored communications and offers throughout the guest journey. For example, if your customer inquired about a spa appointment but didn’t book, you can entice them with a compelling offer for the spa. Or, you can prompt them to sign up for your loyalty program by offering an added benefit to their current stay. Delivering tailored offers during their stay can increase revenue and bolster the guest experience all while wooing travelers to book another stay at your property.

When your guest walks through the door of your hotel, you have a golden opportunity to create an exceptional experience–and AI-enabled guest experience and marketing tools can help you deliver. With 24/7 access to chatbots and other AI tools, pulse checks during their stay, and visibility to tailor their experience, you can increase revenue and make sure your guests have a memorable stay.

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