4 tactics to make your guests come back for a second visit

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One of the most important questions to ask yourself as a hotelier is how many of your guests are coming back after their first visit. If the number is low, have you ever wondered why?

Ensuring that a great number of guests returns for a second visit is fundamental in your business strategy. Why? Because gaining new customers is more expensive than engaging with your current ones. That is why caring and working in your loyalty is key for your property.

It not only ensures a consistent stream of revenue and lowers the costs but also helps establish a positive reputation in the industry, increases word of mouth and overall ensures growth.

So, how can you make your guests fall in love with your hotel and keep coming back for more?

Almost every article on the internet will tell you to provide excellent customer service, to personalise your communications and to create a good guest loyalty program. But what else is there?

In this article, we will delve into four not-so-obvious tactics that will help you increase your guest loyalty and achieve those goals.

Guest expectations change, new trends arise and guest needs shift. Therefore, if you want your guests to keep coming back, you need to evolve with them. If you are still offering the same things you offered five years ago, using the same strategies, and so on, without taking into consideration the new guest trends, the results won’t improve.

For example, the next generation of guests will likely have higher standards than today’s, with many showing a strong interest for advanced technologies. Remember when free Wi-Fi was a luxury? These days, it’s a must-have.

What’s more? Things like online check-in, mobile key entry, in-room automation, and smart rooms are becoming more common. Guests also expect hyper-personalisation, strong presence in social media, easy and effortless experiences, among others.

Another trend we’re seeing is all about ‘experience.’ Modern guests today value experiences over material possessions – they’re not just looking for a bed for the night, but for memories to take home and to share with their friends. The more unique and tailored these experiences are to each guest, the better. For instance, you can partner with local tour operators to offer exclusive adventures that embody local culture.

Therefore, it’s important to keep up with the trends in the hospitality industry now more than ever before. If guests are able to match their expectations to what they find in your property, they will be more likely to come back.

How would they come back to your hotel if you didn’t make a good impression? We live in an era of information overload where every business has something to say. To avoid getting lost in the crowd, don’t be just one more hotel saying that their reservation is confirmed in a dull way.

Think about ways to stand out. And don’t be afraid to communicate more.

A great way to do this is by creating a guest journey. It involves mapping out every interaction your guests will have with your hotel – from the point of making a reservation till the time they check-out, and even beyond that.

You will give them the information they actually need, based on their preferences and also taking into consideration the current trends and market demands. You will use different channels, increasing the chances to be seen and heard.

Let’s say one of your guests is a fitness enthusiast who likes to maintain their routine even while travelling. Knowing these preferences, you can plan their journey accordingly. You could reserve a room near the fitness centre to minimise their commute, share a list of fitness events happening in the city during their stay or recommend some fitness-focused restaurants.

When you give your guests an experience that leaves a lasting impression, you do more than just meet their needs; you create an emotional connection that will make them not only want to return but also recommend your property to their friends and family.

If you want to know more about how to boost your marketing communications, read this.

When we talk about customer effort, we’re discussing the amount of energy your guests must spend to get their needs met when dealing with your business.

Imagine being a guest and having to jump through hoops just to book a room or get a meal delivered to your room – it’s an instantly off-putting experience. On the other hand, a low-effort experience is an enjoyable process. It’s all about making things as simple and straightforward as possible for your guests.

Therefore, you need to understand what is making your guests spend more energy than needed. Ask yourself how you can make things simpler. Pay attention to the booking process, check-in process, how to ask for extra services, how to ask for an upgrade, how to present a complaint, and more.

One fantastic way to find out is by turning to your guest feedback. Your guests are often more than willing to share their views on what they enjoyed and, more importantly, what they didn’t enjoy.

What are they complaining about? Is it the booking process? Is it the check-in process?The lack of packages? It can be anything. Analysing these feedbacks carefully can give valuable insights into areas where your business might be making things more complicated than they need to be.

Discover more about lowering your customer effort in this article.

Everyone loves to receive something nice that they didn’t ask for. Surprising your guests doesn’t need to be expensive; it just needs a bit of creativity. But this will make your chances of being recommended and bringing them back much higher than if you skip this part.

Here are some examples:

  • A chocolate with a note wishing them a pleasant stay
  • A message to check if everything is okay and if they need anything
  • A small bedtime snack to wish them a nice sleep
  • A small basket of local or homemade treats to give them a taste of the local culture and region
  • If your guest is celebrating a special occasion, such as a birthday or anniversary, you can always decorate their room with balloons, offering a cake, champion or gift cards.

In addition, this will help you to stay on their mind, they will remember you even after they check out. This can greatly increase the likelihood of referrals and repeat bookings.

Never underestimate a little bit of extra effort – it doesn’t need to be expensive; it just needs a touch of personalised creativity.

If your guests are starting to come back to your hotel, it will show in your metrics. Here are some KPIs you should consider: customer retention rate, average daily rate, net promoter score (NPS) and more.

By analysing these metrics, you will be able to make informed decisions and adjustments to enhance your guest experience.

To learn more about them, read this article: Measuring Guest Loyalty: Key metrics CEOs need to pay attention to

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