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The hoteliers guest experience checklist!
Guest experience is all about considering the guests journey. Most hotels, hostels, serviced apartments, guest houses are focused on the guests stay. Of course, that’s what they are paying for. But the actual stay is just one part of the guest experience.
We think there are at least 8 steps in giving a great guest experience. Here is our checklist. Take a look and see how many of them you are maximising.
The 8 point checklist: Build a guest experience plan.
1. Researching their stay
2. Making a booking
3. Post booking
4. Close to arrival
5. On arrival day
6. During their stay
7. Check out
8. Leaving a review
Read more to get some ideas and consider key questions on each point of the guests stay journey.
Researching a stay
Useful content - Have you got content on your website or links to useful content helping guest to do any research they need, like where to park, what’s on locally, close by restaurants or sports facilities. You can do this using a blog.
Making a booking
Easy to book – how long does it take someone to make a reservation on your website including card details? If it is greater than 2 minutes then it’s not a good experience. Start with looking at the speed of page loading and usability.
Secure – are your website and booking engine both secure? If the guest see a secure symbol in the browser then you are giving a better guest experience by building trust quickly and removing perceived risk.
Clear policies – how clear are your booking and cancellation policies? Make them easy to see (not find) and make them friendly or fair and you’re already creating happy future guests.
Chat box – what happens if the person has a question. Is there a chat box and click to call number on the website and in the booking engine. Help them through the booking process.
Confirmation – do they get an instant confirmation? Is it sent in a preferred method, whether that is email, text or messaging app. How does the confirmation look? Is it clear and easy to understand with helpful links in it to transport, the guest login (if you have one) and to Google Maps location of the property?
Extras or add ons – are you providing extras or adds on items that are free or for a fee in a positive guest experience? Make these available at the point of booking and post booking to allow guests that want to book or by extras to improve their stay further
Being able to login to check or edit booking – being able to login and check, or edit your booking is a very positive experience. It builds trust and is easy. It keeps the guest in control and is convenient. Can they check their booking details securely via the login?
Close to arrival
Travel assistance – when your stay is coming up are you there to answer frequently asked questions as the expert in that area? Have you provided useful travel content and recommendations on your website or in a guest login? Use chat boxes and make sure staff are briefed to help guests when they call in, or direct them to FAQs.
Tips for when you stay – we all love some insider knowledge. Which are the bargain restaurants in the area, or a great place to get your hair cut? Which gym is least busy and which local coffee shops have the best wifi? The more helpful you can be in recommendations and opinions the more you are helping the guest and building a positive experience. When we travel we rely on other people’s advice either through word of mouth, or online reviews.
Knowing how you check in – checking in is such a deal breaker. How am I checking in and where? If you are apartments and you’re locations are spread out, be clear. Is the guest meeting someone to pick up a key, going to a reception, or can they check in online before arriving? Knowing how this works eliminates uncertainty.
Meet and greet or automated – smooth arrivals get the stay off to a great start. Continued communication is key. Make a separate email or communication just on the check in. This way, the guest knows exactly what will happen and then deliver on that experience.
Accessing and time taken to get into the room or apartment – lots of guests have plans organised for when they arrive. Knowing how long check in, or locating the apartment will take from getting keys, meeting a representative, or turning up at reception helps people plan. For example, be in your room or apartment within 5 minutes of arriving here.
During their stay
The stay - this bit operators are the expert in! Deliver on all the promises made up to this point and the guest will be an advocate.
Anywhere where you deliver above beyond what you have provided as expectations will be received with a huge welcome.
Handling deposits – any received monies must be returned or reason given if it is being kept post check out. Letting guests know once the room or apartment has been checked via their preferred method and doing so within a pre-communicated time schedule removes uncertainty and stress for guests once they have left. Wondering “will I get my deposit back and when?” can take the shine off a super stay.
Leaving a review
Say thanks – have you said a genuine thank you for the guest’s custom? If you haven’t or it was very personal, consider how you can change that.
When to ask – within 3 days of them staying is timely. Be clear that you value their feedback and that if they want to chat to a team member about anything you are available. Find useful tips on how to collect positive reviews in this article from STAAH.
What to ask – keep the number of questions down making it easy and another good experience. Consider how many questions you’d ask and focus on helping them to help you.
Thanks for reading our guest experience checklist!
This checklist is not about guest experience technology, so we are making some assumptions here. That you are able to help guests using mobile, tablet and desktop when relevant. The guest experience checklist has been put together to consider the journey of the guest as they plan, book, approach, then experience their stay and ultimately depart.
Good luck in making more happy guests that leads to more referrals. Got a point to add, let us know by emailing email@example.com