Improving Guest Satisfaction in Hotels : 7 Ways to Boost Hotel Guest Satisfaction [2024]

Kshitij Chaudhary
2 min read
April 17, 2024

Guest satisfaction is essential to stay afloat in any business. But the stakes are especially high in the hospitality business, where even a slight shift in tone or unacknowledged concern can lead to an irked guest. Therefore, improving your hotel’s guest satisfaction should be a crucial part of your overall hotel marketing strategy, with a mix of tactics and strategies blended in.

There’s a lot you can do to enhance guest satisfaction in the hotel industry; books upon books have been written on this already. However, when we move past the books and get our hands dirty, a few principles jump out in particular. 

Why Is Improving Your Guest Satisfaction so Important?

Before we jump into tactics to boost your guest satisfaction, it’s important to nail down its importance. Believe it or not, improving your hotel guest’s satisfaction should be a specific business goal for you as well. Here are a few reasons:

  1. Loyal customers offer a big boost to any company in any industry. It’s no surprise, then, that in the hospitality industry in the US alone, loyal guests can make up more than half of the total bookings, as this report from Kalibri Labs shows.   
  2. It encourages repeat purchases or bookings. As a report from ZenDesk shows, 57% of consumers say excellent customer service leads them to stay loyal to the company. 
  3. Providing good service and improving satisfaction can also lead to higher Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), which in turn leads to an increase in revenue per customer.   
  4. Satisfied guests are more likely to spread the good word about you, leading to higher word-of-mouth marketing. 

These are just some of the few reasons that make improving your guest’s satisfaction a number one priority. Let’s now jump into the specific tactics.

1. Improve the Check-in and Check-out Processes

Think of the last time you checked into a hotel, only to be told to wait for a few minutes in the lobby. We can bet the experience left you annoyed and colored your whole experience about the hotel. You’d not be alone. A study done by Stayntouch, for instance, found that simply increasing the waiting period of guests check-in by five minutes can bring down their overall satisfaction by a whopping 47%.  So your task is straightforward: make the check-ins and check-outs smooth.

How do you do that? You have a slew of options, but a few stand out in particular:

1.1. Offer Self Check-in and Check-Out

Gone are the days when hotel check-ins and check-outs had to be done manually. With the soaring pace of technological change, many hotels have already adopted self check-in and check-out processes.

A Kiosk can be super helpful for this. A Kiosk is an automated device designed to help customers with self-check-in and check-out processes, effectively reducing their dependence on hotel staff. Depending on the type of kiosk you have or decide to purchase, all your guests have to do is enter their details, and they will swiftly get a check-in and other information necessary to go straight to their room.

1.2. Property Management System

Another tool on the list, a Property Management System, or PMS as it’s sometimes called, helps you manage your hotel reservations and essential administrative tasks. It takes care of everything from hotel reservations, inventory management, reports, and even staff management by connecting your hotel staff with a front office and giving regular room updates. It turns out that it can also help you improve guest satisfaction in the long run.  At the bottom, a PMS is all about dialing up your efficiency in hotel management, and so, indirectly, it also enhances your check-in and check-out efficiency.
Moreover, some PMS also come with payment gateways pre-installed, which in turn can help you with a fast check-out through online payments. There are plenty of options available when it comes to PMS. So, depending on your budget, check out your best options and buy one today.   

1.3. Pre-Arrival Communication 

Effective communication is the anima of the whole hospitality business. It’s no wonder that simple pre-arrival communication can do wonders for your guests’ experience. All it takes is a simple pre-arrival message, perhaps a week or two before, to improve your hotel guest’s satisfaction. Here are a few things you can do to remix your communication:

  1. Offer upsells or cross-sells with hefty discounts to both make your guests happy and increase your overall revenue. 
  2. You might also have valuable data about your guest in your record, so use it. Personalize your message according to details like the guest’s age, gender, profession, and other relevant information–this will only help you connect with them better.
  3. Offer them information about upcoming local events or places they can check out; again, make sure it's based on their demographics and psychographics data.
  4. Pre-arrival messages are also a great way to address any concern you might have with booking confirmation (lack of chosen room, some missing amenities, etc.) and how you’re going to make up for that.

That’s about it–keep these things in mind when you’re penning down a pre-arrival message, and you’re bound to enhance your guest’s experience.

2. Ensure a Smooth Arrival for Guests

If you want to go the extra mile, ensuring a smooth arrival for the guests might be a good idea.

Most guests, after they have been through a long ride, don’t love anything more than a hassle-free pickup from the airport. Who wants to hash through to figure out the location of a new place? Not most people. Everyone likes comfort and ease, and if your guests are on a trip away on a break, they do so more than anyone.

It can also be a great point to introduce upsells and cross-sells. A week or two before their check-in, you can contact the guests and offer them discounted pick-ups. 

3. Double Down on the Basics of Hospitality Communication 

If there’s one thing that can make or break your guest’s experience, it’s shoddy communication from your staff. Just go to an OTA’s review section, and you will find comments upon comments by guests–addressing some form of lousy communication to have ruined their experience, along with their one or two star reviews. So, getting your communication right is the number one priority. While we recommend you conduct regular communication training to improve your staff’s communication skills, we understand not everyone has the budget for this.

In that case, make sure your staff follows these pointers as stable takes:

3.1. Maintain Good Body Language

About 90% of the communication is non-verbal. Your eye contact, posture, smile–everything you do apart from speaking will have a significant impact on how people perceive you. So, maintaining good body language is essential. When you speak with your guests, look them in the eyes. Maintain eye contact for at least two to three seconds, and then look away as you listen to them. Follow this simple method, be authentic about it, and you will improve your interaction right away. Another essential aspect is a good, clean dress;it shows that you're punctual, organized, and actually value your work.

Confident, commanding body language is also important. Think of the time you met someone who was all fidgeting and maybe even sitting casually laid back on their chair. The impression wasn’t probably good. So, as a general rule, suggest your staff take up space, start with a firm handshake, and stand tall with their shoulders wide. Doing so not only fills the person with energy–it also makes others feel the same.

Similarly, make sure you’re the first one to initiate the conversation. A simple greeting with a smile or a handshake is enough to start off the conversation on a good foot. And while you do that, make sure you also have appropriate facial and body expressions.   

3.2. Adapt to Your Guest 

Pick up any communication literature from the bookshelf, and you’ll find them boldly proclaim at one point or another: be authentic! To be yourself, to speak your mind. Don’t. Always remember: conversations, especially in business settings, are not about you. It’s the other person who is the center of it all. In the beginning, people are instinctively closed off when speaking to someone new; your guest will be the same. They don’t know you, what you’re like, or if you’re trustworthy–there are too many unknown variables as far as they are concerned.  
So it’s your job to make your guests feel at ease; to get them to open up. 

Mirroring your guests, i.e., adapting to their body language, is a good start. So is changing your tone of voice and facial expressions depending on who you’re speaking with. As you can see, it’s all common sense in one way. Adapt to the room, basically, and you’re good to go.

3.3 Listen Actively 

86% of employees and executives believe lack of effective communication to be the main culprit behind workplace conflicts, as this study by Pumble puts it.

It’s a surprising figure, considering that 96% of people believe they are great listeners. So, where’s the clash here?

As it turns out, listening is more than hearing the words someone speaks. You have to understand the context of what’s being communicated, not just the words of the guest. Look at your guest’s facial expression, body language, and even tone of voice–notice it all and then try to adapt your responses accordingly.                   

4. Keep the Rooms Clean and Ready Way Ahead of Time

It’s one thing if it takes you a few minutes to prepare a room for an ad-hoc guest; it’s quite another if you don’t have things tidy for a pre-booked room from months back. As we shared above, nothing probably plays a bigger role in customer dissatisfaction than delays during check-in, no matter how they are caused.

So make sure your hotel rooms are kept neat and tidy way ahead of the day your guests arrive. A Property Management System, PMS for short, can play a massive role in this. A PMS is software that can help you manage all your front desk operations, channel management, housekeeping, and, most notably for you here, occupancy management. It keeps you in touch with the status of a specific room in real-time, letting you prepare for everything beforehand.

Do this, and you will be one step ahead of others in improving guest satisfaction in your hotel.

5. Offer Relaxation Services like Yoga and Spa

Another thing that makes it to our list is offering services like a gym, spa, yoga and meditation, and body therapies.

Think of it this way: your guests probably already have a lot on their heads. Whether they are here for business or a family trip, after a packed day, they are just going to want to relax. Guess who needs to be there to ease them into it? You, of course. A spa and yoga center can be a great de-stressor or relaxor after what was probably a lot of meetings or miles of walking. Taj Hotel is a famous hotel brand, for instance, that offers everything from spa indulgence to Indian Therapies. 

For you, this can also mean some more additional revenue. But more than anything, it’s a chance for you to make your hotel experience positive and pleasing for guests and, in turn, ensure more repeat bookings in the future.     

6. Make Sure You’re Offering 24/7 Support

Another thing day can make or break your guest’s stay is dealing with uncooperative staff. Don’t take our word for it. Take a look at the numbers:

  1. As a research paper from ResearchGate shows, in comments on TripAdvisor, a popular OTA, 36% of complaints about hotels involve the inability of the hotel and its staff to convey trust and confidence to solve a problem.
  2. It costs about five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. So, not taking your guest complaints seriously is an easy way to lose your revenue, as a single bad review can mean 30 lost customers, as this Convergys survey shows.
  3. Empathetic attention to your guests can lead to a 29% positive increase, as this Deloitte research shows. 

So, being available to your guest's queries 24/7 is a necessity, and it will undoubtedly help you improve your guests’ satisfaction. As knowing is half the battle, here are some things that can irk your guests and should be avoided at all costs:

  1. Unclean or smelly rooms
  2. Bad or poorly cooked in-house food
  3. Lack of quietness in the premises
  4. Unsolicited callbacks
  5. Rude or uncooperative staff
  6. Hidden charges in any of your services
  7. Lack of proper room ventilation or broken room amenities
  8. Getting offered a different room from the one booked  

Now, these are just some of the problems your guests might face; there are many others that we possibly couldn’t list here. In an ideal world, you’d have everything planned to the last detail so that there’s no possibility of a slip-up from your end. However, that’s rarely how it goes, and so you need to be effective with your resolutions. No matter what you do, you have to ensure that all your guests receive a quick solution. Complaint management is an art of its own, which takes years and repetitive practice to master wholly. But here are some things you can adopt right away:

6.1. Be Available

If you’re short on staff, the probability of this occurring can increase exponentially. However, this doesn’t make it any less of a disaster. Go to any online review forum, and you’ll see the proof for yourself: a barrage of comments mentioning lack of support or acknowledgment of their issues by hotel management is one of the major issues there. This is particularly true if something goes wrong during late hours when most hotels are short-staffed.

Adapting to technology–especially generative AI chatbots like Brance – can be helpful here. A generative AI chatbot can converse in a human-like tone and acknowledge your guest’s concern, while someone on your hotel staff gets the chance to look into the problem. Since the chatbot is intelligent, it can instantly adapt to user requests, thereby boosting your guest’s satisfaction in the process.

6.2. Acknowledge the Complaint

One of the worst things you can do is ignore or downplay your guest’s complaint. Remember, the complaint is not about you–it’s about their bad experience, so don’t take it personally. Acknowledge the guest’s complaint or concern without any qualifiers, apologize for the inconvenience, and then assure them of a positive resolution as soon as possible. Remember: it might happen that you’re really not able to fix whatever the issue is right away, but it’s essential to assure your guests that you will resolve the problem as soon as possible.

While addressing hotel guest complaints involves a lot, following these two tips religiously will reduce the friction inherent in such interactions and positively improve guest satisfaction.

7. Take Your Guest Reviews Seriously

For better or worse, guest reviews work. They put the experience of your past real visitors without any filters or marketing slang in front of the whole world and especially, your future prospective guests. Essentially, they are your word-of-mouth marketing adopted to the internet.
As research by Tripadvisor has shown, a whopping 81% of guests read online reviews before they confirm a booking. Similarly, even a single 1-star rating can drop your monthly revenue by 2-3%, as the report at ScienceDirect shows.

Moreover, reviews show your guests' true feelings and perceptions about their stay. Thus, they are essential to helping you understand what kind of service you are providing to your guests. Here are the most popular guest survey methods that you can adapt:

  1. Email Surveys: There’s a high chance you’ve already got your guest’s email. A simple feedback survey a day or two after their feedback can help you learn about your guest’s stay. 
  2. WhatsApp Surveys: With an open rate of 98%, WhatsApp performs the best when it comes to visibility and reach from social channels. Questionnaires and open-ended feedback forms are some of the most popular ways to capture guest experience here. 
  3. OTA: If your guests come through an OTA like Expedia or TripAdvisor, they will most likely be prompted for review by the online travel agency themselves. So, make sure you keep your eye on these platforms as well.

That’s it–these pointers pretty much cover the top ways to capture your guest’s reviews. However, after you have captured the reviews, responding to them is an art of its own and can have a severe impact on improving your hotel guest’s satisfaction. Depending on what type of reviews you’ve gotten–positive or negative–you might want to take a different approach. So, let’s look at how you can tackle negative reviews first.

Tackling Negative Reviews:

  1. Acknowledge your guest’s pain point and offer your customer support number for assistance.   
  2. It's vital to respond quickly to reviews, especially the bad ones. So, adopt a generative AI chatbot that will automate your replies to reviews–with proper context and tone.
  3. Hire a reputation management firm that specializes in the hospitality industry.

Follow the above tips, and you can severely cut down friction with your guests. For your positive reviews, there’s not much to do, as most of what you had to do, you’ve done already. Just acknowledge your guest’s online review, wish them that you look forward to them visiting again, and you will be good to go.

Improving Your Hotel’s Guest Satisfaction to Boost Revenue

Boosting your revenue goes far beyond simply getting more bookings. You can quickly burn your cash on the advertising blackbox and get more customers by sheer visibility. It will work for a while, however, if you don’t set up processes that delight your customers during their stay, you’re bound to lose them in the long run.

Adapt the tips we laid above, and you will improve your hotel guest’s satisfaction right off the bat. Observe what works and quickly tweak things that don’t perform, depending on your local requirements.    

Kshitij Chaudhary

Kshitij founded Brance with the vision of helping hoteliers increase their direct bookings using AI. Over the last ten years, he has led the Marketing and Growth of several technology organizations and start-ups such as BCG, Shuttl, House of Beauty, etc.

He also loves traveling and sports.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is First Response Time important in inside sales?

First Response Time holds a great importance in inside sales because it influences customer satisfaction. Ultra-fast responses improve the chances of potential leads getting converted into paying and loyal customers.

What are the consequences of a delayed first response in inside sales?

A delay in First response time can result in missed opportunities, customer frustration, and a negative impact on conversion rates. Potential leads may lose interest or shift to competitors when experience a delay in response time.

What role does technology play in reducing first response time?

Technology plays a vital role in reducing first response time through automation. AI-driven chatbots streamline the communication process and enables faster interactions.

Why is First Response Time important in inside sales?

First Response Time holds a great importance in inside sales because it influences customer satisfaction. Ultra-fast responses improve the chances of potential leads getting converted into paying and loyal customers.

What are the consequences of a delayed first response in inside sales?
What role does technology play in reducing first response time?

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