3 Reasons Why Focusing On Guest Satisfaction Is A Losing Battle

Here's What You Should to Do Instead...

By Justin Effron Co-Founder & CEO, ALICE | January 28, 2018

In the world of retail, knowing what your customer wants, when they want it, how much, and how frequently can be the difference between a booming business and going out of business. In the service industry however, getting to know your customer’s preferences isn’t quite as clear-cut. 

Trying to understand the capricious whims and complex emotions of human beings you’re hoping to please is an exercise in futility at best and can actually harm your relationships at worst. Why? Because pretending to know someone you don’t really have a deep relationship with can come across as presumptuous and insensitive. And should your guesses actually be correct, you can inadvertently come across even worse because no one likes to think of themselves as being that predictable.

So what’s a GM to do to make their guests feel right at home? The solution is to not make their stay anything like home. Make your guests feel like guests! In this regard, we’ve listed three common pitfalls of trying to placate clients that hotels often fall into, and their respective solutions. By putting the focus on a winning culture instead of winning over customers, you’ll be more effective in getting the desired result: satisfied guests who’ll want to return again and again.

1. If You’re Trying To Guess What Guests Want, You’re Probably Getting It Wrong 

The same guest doesn’t necessarily behave the same way from one visit to the next. For starters, that guest could be on a business trip, family vacation, romantic getaway, or girls’ night out. Even if it’s always a business trip, what’s the nature of the business this time around? Is it pitching a new client, trying to keep from losing a client, or being wooed as a client by another business? Is it an easygoing trip or a stressful one where everything is on the line—including his or her job? What’s his mood like now? What’s the season? What’s going on in her life?

If your hotel bases its services and amenities on what a particular guest wanted the last time they stayed with you, you’re probably not going to get it right. So why even try? No one expects you to. What guests expect is great service, convenient amenities, comfortable accommodations, and the preferences they’d requested for this visit. Just do that and do a spectacular job of it, without trying to know what your guest will want before they do.

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Coming up in June 2018...

Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.