Nobody ever said hospitality was easy. Guests are expecting more and more, staff turnover is ceaseless, and negative reviews keep cropping up online. How’s a hotelier supposed to improve guest satisfaction when faced with all this chaos?
The solution? This guide. We’ve got plenty of practical steps that you can take to turn 1 ✯ reviews to 5 ✯ and enhance your guests’ experiences.
- The top factors influencing guest satisfaction in 2023
- How to turn unhappy guests into your most loyal customers
- And how hotel technology can turn things around
By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be completely prepared to keep your guests happy and your hotel business profitable.
Everything You Ever Needed To Know About Guest Satisfaction
Guest satisfaction is how happy your guests are about their stay in your hotel. How well did you meet their needs and expectations? How well did you handle any problems that came up?
Look, let’s not beat around the bush. There are a lot of factors that go into what makes up hotel guest satisfaction — everything from positive interactions with staff, the cleanliness of their room, and the quality of your hotel’s amenities.
That’s why this bumper-sized post is here. We’re going to cover literally every aspect of hotel guest satisfaction, leaving no stone unturned.
So grab yourself a cup of coffee and keep scrolling.
Unsatisfied Guests Harm More Than Just Your Reviews
Happy guests are far more likely to become loyal customers and spread positive word of mouth. Both of these outcomes lead to increased revenue and drive up your profits.
But there is a downside.
Guests who had a less than stellar experience are likely to leave negative reviews online and hurt your hotel’s reputation, no matter how unfair that is. Think about it – people are more likely to share their bad experiences than their good ones.
This has a huge impact on your brand’s reputation and can ruin your online presence. That’s why it really is so important to prioritize guest satisfaction and prevent the worst from happening.
The key to improving guest satisfaction is to exceed their expectations. This can be achieved by focusing on the little details and making sure that every aspect of their stay is seamless and enjoyable.
How Does Hotel Guest Satisfaction Impact Guest Reviews?
Your brand is the face of your hotel business. With that in mind, the effect of guest satisfaction and reviews on your business cannot be overstated.
One study found 50% of respondents rely on advice from family and friends to learn more about their next destination. The same study concluded that 49% use social media for that purpose.
The key takeaway? Peer-to-peer reviews are fast becoming the most important reason why customers choose one hotel over another.
That’s why it’s so important for hotels to make guest satisfaction one of their top priorities. The happier your guests are, the more likely they are to leave positive reviews – which cements your hotel brand’s positive reputation and can help bring in more customers.
One way that hotels can impact guest reviews? Getting feedback from guests during their stay. This can be done through surveys, comment cards, or online feedback forms. By actively seeking feedback from guests, hotels can identify areas where they need to improve and make necessary changes to enhance the guest experience.
Hoteliers can also share positive reviews on their website or social media channels, or respond to reviews with personalized messages. By engaging with guests and acknowledging their feedback, hotels can create a sense of community and loyalty among their customer base.
Next Up: We unpack some of the latest studies behind guest satisfaction
Top Factors Influencing Guest Satisfaction
A recent study uncovered some interesting facts about factors influencing guest satisfaction. While it’s worth taking the time to look at the study in-depth, here are a couple of the takeaways:
- Hotels who have more satisfied customers command higher guest loyalty. And – you guessed it – companies who have more loyal guests perform better financially in the long run when compared to their competition.
- This study argues that the role of pricing in guest satisfaction has been historically ignored. Or, as Patrik Hellstrand, the author of the study puts it:
“Guests are likely to experience fluctuations in their value perception as value can include low price in the minds of guests, and as the service offered is to some extent intangible. Guests are also sometimes unconsciously trying to obtain as much information as possible through experiences to decrease information asymmetries, and guests are therefore often left to accept the price of the experience and the physical appearance of the hotel or cruise ship itself as quality indicators.”
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Another study by Deloitte zeroes in on some of more concrete examples regarding guest satisfaction in the hospitality industry, such as the importance of:
- Having a clean room and a well-maintained hotel in a good, quiet location.
- Knowing your guests — who they are, why they travel, etc.
- Listening to your guests and resolving issues quickly.
- Many guests are looking for a balance of personal touch and technology in hotels. Not one over the other.
Next Up: we’re going to dive into 11 of the best tips and practices you can implement right now to improve guest satisfaction, turn one-off stays into loyal customers, and boost your revenue. Keep scrolling.
11 Practical Tips To Improve Your Guests’ Stay
As the hospitality industry becomes more competitive, providing excellent guest satisfaction is essential for hotels to stand out from the crowd. Take these steps to start thriving:
1. Get Personal With Your Guests
Guests appreciate a personalized experience tailored to their preferences. Use data and analytics to understand your guest segments and cater to their unique needs.
Are they mainly baby boomers, millennials, Gen Zers, or perhaps wellness travelers? Segmentation of guests is key, and can make a huge difference. For instance, if most of your guests are wellness travelers, you may want to focus on highlighting amenities in your hotel that cater to exercise and healthy eating.
It’s also a good idea to be aware of local wellness options around the hotel, such as the top-rated workout studios, vegan restaurants, local health food stores, farmers’ markets, etc.
Learn More: The Most Common Types of Hotel Guests And How to Exceed Their Expectations
Deliver an amazing Guest Experience with Duve
2. Don’t Mess Up Your First Impression
As the saying goes, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. That’s why it’s crucial to get your front desk operations in order. After all, it’s the first thing your guests see when they arrive, and a positive experience here can set the tone for the rest of their stay. Here are some tips to make that happen:
- Personalize the guest experience. Impress your guests by demonstrating how well you know them. Take the time to learn about their preferences and requests, particularly your loyal and repeat customers. If they always ask for a certain room or amenity, try to pre-empt those needs at the front desk. This lets them know that they’re not just another customer, but a truly valued guest.
- Prioritize the right things. Your front desk is often the busiest part of your hotel, so it’s crucial that your staff knows what to prioritize. Do your guests prioritize speed and efficiency or prefer a more relaxed and welcoming atmosphere? There’s no right or wrong answer here—it depends on your business and your guests.
- Invest in technology. The latest advances in hotel tech can make a huge difference in front desk operations. One staff member can now do the work of three, which means you can focus on providing a better guest experience overall. Consider investing in online check-in, guest apps, and all-in-one communication hubs to streamline the process and provide guests with an even better experience.
Learn More: How To Improve Your Front Desk Operations: 7 Practical Tips
3. Stay In Touch
Just because your guests have checked out doesn’t mean their experience is quite over yet. Consider sending them a follow-up email. This shows them that you care about their stay and are open to feedback.
If they had a great stay, you can encourage them to leave a review. And if their stay was not so great, you can nip that negative review in the bud, find out what went wrong, and try to make it right — which leads up nicely to our next point.
4. Say Sorry With A Gift
Guests love freebies! Whether it’s a complimentary breakfast or a welcome drink, offering freebies can make guests feel special and enhance their experience.
It’s also a great way to make up for any mistakes — if a certain aspect of a guest’s stay didn’t meet their expectations, then a discount at the restaurant along with an apology can work wonders.
5. Use the Latest In-Room Tech to Impress Guests
The integration of AI assistants into hotel rooms can transform the guest experience.
With voice-controlled technology, guests can easily manage everything in their room—from the lighting and TV to the air conditioning and digital photos. The system can even remember individual guest preferences for use across different hotels
Another exciting development in hotel tech is smart mirror glass. This innovative technology saves what you’ve written on the mirror and emails it directly to you so you never miss a thought or idea, even when you’re in the shower.
“Since starting with Duve, our guest experience has become so much better. We were able to automate tons of our daily tasks. We can now offer both third-party and in-house services! And the best part? Guests can access everything on their own devices, and in their own time.”
City Center Hotels
Digital keys have become commonplace in many hotels. Now multiple guests can have access to the same room, which is particularly useful for families staying in connecting rooms. And you can forget about guests getting locked out because someone forgot their phone in the room.
Psst — at Duve, we’re hard at work on post-stay automations. With our automated marketing messages, guests receive targeted communications after they’ve checked out, while anonymous guests can be onboarded to the automation system without any fuss. These features enhance the guest experience and keep them engaged with the brand even after they’ve left the hotel.
Learn More: Modernize Guest Experience with The Latest AI Technology
6. Have a Plan for When Things Go Wrong
Things go wrong – it’s part and parcel of life in the hospitality industry. But how your staff handle problems is a key moment for your business. It’ll either leave your guests with a sour taste in their mouth or make them feel heard and looked after.
Let’s take a look at a common example — a guest has arrived at your hotel, but because of your overbooking strategy, you have no available rooms.
If your front-desk staff haven’t been trained on how to handle this, that guest is almost certainly going to be angry and leave a scathing review. But if your staff know how to properly apologize, walk them to an equal or better hotel for the night, and offer them a discount on future stays, you might be able to turn that problem around.
Learn More: How To Create A Smart Overbooking Strategy
7. Be Proactive
The art of hospitality lies in meeting your guests’ expectations – which means being proactive.
See a guest looking confused? Ask them if they need any help. Does another guest look hot or thirsty? Offer them a glass of water. It’s small touches like this that can really up the level of service, and the level of guest satisfaction.
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8. Loyalty Pays Off
One thing all hotels with strong brands have in common? Loyalty programs. They’re a great way to reward guests for their visits and make them feel like part of an exclusive community.
Research shows that loyal customers spend more. It’s a great way to improve guest retention, encourage repeat stays and drive-up customer lifetime value.
Most hotels offer loyalty programs in the form of points that can be redeemed on future stays, discounts, or other perks. We recommend that any hotelier looking to boost their brand’s standing ensure they have a solid loyalty program in place.
Learn More: 5 Tips For Powerful Hotel Branding
9. Listen Up: The Importance of Two-Way Communication in Hotel Guest Relations
Clear communication is key. If something has changed (like your restaurant closing for renovations) then guests should know well before they arrive — not when they’ve just gotten off their flight and are hungry.
“Communication is a critical component of guest satisfaction. Make sure that you are listening to your guests' feedback and addressing their concerns promptly and effectively. This will help build trust and loyalty, and ultimately lead to higher satisfaction scores."
To make sure guests are kept informed and feel cared for, it’s important to communicate any potential problems as quickly as possible through their preferred channels such as email, WhatsApp, or your hotel app. By being proactive and pre-empting any issues, guests will appreciate the transparency and be more understanding if something does go wrong.
Failure to do so could result in guests venting their frustrations in negative reviews online, which can have a significant impact on your hotel’s reputation. But by adopting clear communication and proactive measures, you can ensure a positive guest experience — even if your restaurant is closed!
Learn More: 7 Tips For Better Guest Communication
10. Welcome All!
Ensuring all guests feel welcome and included, regardless of their race, gender, or abilities, is essential for providing a positive guest experience. Consider:
- Training your staff. Your employees are the face of your business and how they interact with guests can make or break the guest experience. Train your staff to be aware of their unconscious biases and to treat all guests with respect and kindness.
- Offering accessibility options. Make sure your business is accessible to everyone. This may mean offering wheelchair ramps, braille menus, or sign language interpreters. Check with local organizations that advocate for people with disabilities to ensure that you are meeting the needs of all guests.
- Using inclusive language. Be mindful of the language you use when communicating with guests. Avoid using language that is exclusive or discriminatory, such as assuming someone’s gender or making assumptions about their race or ethnicity.
By following these tips you can ensure that all guests feel comfortable during their stay. Which, at the end of the day, is what good hospitality is all about.
11. Going the Extra Mile: Why Post-COVID Cleanliness is Essential for Guest Satisfaction
In the post-COVID world, cleanliness and hygiene have become even more crucial for businesses that interact with customers.
Travelers, diners, and shoppers are more aware of the potential for germs and viruses to spread, and they want to feel confident that businesses are taking appropriate steps to keep them safe.
Simple steps like implementing strict cleaning protocols, as well as providing hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, are easy to adopt and can help your guests feel safe and secure.
The Inside Scoop: Expert Tips for Boosting Guest Satisfaction
That’s not all. Improving guest satisfaction requires a comprehensive approach — which is why we have 4 more tips for you right here. Let’s get right to it.
1. Join The Hotel Tech Revolution
It’s not too late to join the hotel tech revolution.
Advances in technology and AI allow you to automate a lot of menial tasks that your staff would previously undertake. That means your staff can focus on tasks that require a human touch (hospitality), while also getting more done with fewer people – a lifesaver in today’s era of staff shortages.
In the past, guests would spend a significant amount of time doing administrative tasks like filling in their details, having their passports photocopied, and registering their cars at check-in. This could take up to fifteen or twenty minutes before guests could finally head to their room – not ideal for tired guests just arriving after a long journey.
Thanks to automation, this process can now be streamlined.
Guests can check in online before they even arrive at the hotel. This not only saves time but also reduces the workload for staff, resulting in a better guest experience and shorter queues at the front desk. By offering online check-in, you can provide a more efficient and convenient experience for your guests, allowing them to focus on enjoying their stay instead of waiting in line.
“Tech adoption in hotels has been increasingly accelerating as hotels seek greater efficiencies in both front and back of the house. It’s promising to see that more industry leaders are focusing on tech adoption, tech upgrades, and creating an integrated tech stack.”
But what does this mean for guest satisfaction? Well, shorter queues in the lobby means guests can get to their rooms and start relaxing a whole lot faster. Plus, if your staff have less on their plate, they can put their full energy into service with a smile and solving any real problems that do come up – all of which equals a better stay and a better overall guest experience.
We recommend adopting hotel technology in this order:
Here’s how to do it:
A) Online check-in
As hotels move towards automation, online check-in has become a game-changer for the guest experience. But not all online check-in systems are created equal. It’s important to work with a tech partner that offers a comprehensive solution.
Make sure your online check-in system syncs with your property management system and automatically adds guest documents such as passports and driver’s licenses. This not only saves time, but also reduces errors and enhances security.
Additionally, gather data during online check-in to help with customer segmentation and allow guests to opt-in for marketing communications.
Don’t forget to include the ability to collect and process payments during the online check-in process. Psst – hotels in our network found that 75% of their guests completed online check-in, which frees up a lot of labor.
B) Guest App
A guest app is a convenient tool that provides guests with all the information they need for their stay on their mobile phone, without requiring them to download a separate app (as it’s a web-based app).
A well-designed guest app should include essential details such as reservation information, a comprehensive local guidebook with images and videos, and interactive maps to help guests explore the area. This helps alleviate the burden on hotel staff who may otherwise be bombarded with repeated questions from guests.
Our guest app offers a mobile door key feature that allows guests to share and revoke access with a simple tap of a button, which is especially useful for large groups of families or friends staying together.
C) Communications Hub
A communications hub unifies all the conversations you have with guests, regardless of channel. Whether that’s WhatsApp, email, or text, everything is on-hand on one screen for your staff to see and respond to.
It also gives you the power to:
- Mass message guests with smart filters
- Delegate and assign messages to different members of staff
- View customer data to send custom upsells to specific groups of guests
- Use canned messages to save time
- Offer custom upsells via chat
For example, imagine a guest staying at your hotel has a late flight and will be arriving after your restaurant closes. They’re concerned about being hungry and not having any food options available.
If you had used the mass messaging feature in your communications hub, you could have sent a message to all guests arriving late with information about local restaurants that deliver to the hotel. This would not only alleviate the guest’s concern, but also provide them with a personalized recommendation for a great dining experience in the area.
D) Targeted Upselling
Automating targeted upselling is an effective way to increase revenue and improve the guest experience. With targeted upselling, you can create and send offers to specific customer segments, such as business travelers, while avoiding irrelevant offers to other groups of guests.
By automating the process, you can manage inventory and payments seamlessly, while freeing up your staff to focus on other important tasks. A well-designed upselling automation can synchronize all data with your property management system automatically, ensuring accurate tracking and reporting.
Targeted upselling automation allows you to increase revenue while providing a more personalized experience for your guests.
Learn More: Elevate your Guest Experience Using Hotel Automation— Duve
2. Keep it Clean
They say that cleanliness is next to godliness. And that rings especially true when it comes to a hotel — if a guest walks in and sees a dirty lobby, dusty fans, or unmade beds? That’s going to have a significant effect on their overall experience and satisfaction.
One report stated that hotel cleanliness was the 2nd most important factor for guests when making a booking (just behind price). That’s why keeping your hotel clean is so important. A clean hotel equals happier guests, higher occupancy rates, and more positive reviews.
In most hotels, the housekeeping staff is responsible for bedrooms, common areas, and bathrooms, while the hotel kitchen and restaurant areas are dealt with by your employees working in those areas. But no matter how you divide your cleaning duties, you should create an SOP for cleaning so that you can make the best first impression on guests when they walk in the door.
Here are a few of our top tips for keeping things clean:
- First Impressions Count. You don’t get a second chance at a first impression, so keep your lobby sparking clean and clutter free. Regular cleaning of the lobby and reception area will ensure that guests feel welcomed and valued. A clean and tidy space can set the tone for the rest of the guest’s stay and leave them with a positive impression.
- Clean Rooms Mean Happy Guests. A clean room can be the difference between a good night’s sleep and a restless one. Cleanliness is a top priority for guests, and it’s essential to ensure that the rooms are spotless. Don’t forget to pay close attention to details such as linens, floors, and bathroom fixtures. Using high quality cleaning supplies can make your cleaning more efficient.
- Attention to Detail is Key. Guests appreciate attention to detail, and it is important to ensure that every aspect of the hotel is clean and well-maintained. This includes public areas such as hallways, elevators, and stairwells. It’s easy to overlook these areas, but guests notice when they are not properly maintained. Regular cleaning and maintenance of these areas can ensure that guests have a positive experience throughout their stay.
"Cleanliness is the foundation of a successful hotel operation. It not only ensures the health and safety of guests and employees, but it also creates a positive impression and sets the stage for a memorable guest experience. Cleanliness is not just a task, but a mindset that must be ingrained in every aspect of the hotel operation, from housekeeping to food service to maintenance."
Hotelier and Founder of LMA Communications.
Remember — cleanliness is something that’s most noticeable when it’s not present. It’s all too easy to let things slide when you’re short-staffed and you have a long queue at reception. But this is something that you simply can’t let slide — if a guest realizes that your hotel is dirty, then they’re going to start thinking about other shortcomings that your hotel might have.
Following these practical tips, your business can set the tone right from the moment your guests walk into your lobby.
3. From Good to Great: How Investing in Your Staff Elevates Your Hotel’s Reputation
Well-trained staff are your secret weapon in the quest for improving guest satisfaction. Training and developing your staff enhances guest satisfaction, increases occupancy rates, and leads to positive reviews.
- Employee Satisfaction Leads to Guest Satisfaction. Happy employees are more likely to go above and beyond to provide excellent customer service. Investing in employee training and development can help to improve job satisfaction and ensure that employees feel valued and appreciated. And when employees feel valued, they are more likely to provide exceptional service to guests.
"A successful hotel operation is not just about the physical attributes of the property, but also about the people who work there. Happy employees create happy guests, so investing in employee training and engagement is key to improving guest satisfaction.”
- Continuous Learning and Development. Provide opportunities for staff to attend conferences, workshops, and training sessions to improve their skills and knowledge. Investing in continuous learning and development can lead to a more competent and confident staff that is better equipped to provide exceptional service to guests.
By following these practical tips, hotels can provide exceptional service to guests, increase occupancy rates, and most importantly, ensure guest satisfaction.
4. Why Preventative Maintenance is Key for Hotels
Hotel maintenance is one of the most crucial aspects of a hotel as it involves all the tasks and work related to keeping, restoring, and improving all components of hotel building facilities.
It’s important to note that there are two main concepts when it comes to hotel maintenance: preventative maintenance and just-in-time fixes. Now, it might be tempting to take the easy way out here and fix problems as they come up, but a number of studies highlight just how important preventative maintenance is for your hotel business and for overall guest satisfaction.
One study points out that a staggering 70% of guest complaints were related to maintenance issues — think HVAC, lighting, plumbing locks. That’s a huge amount, and when you think about how impactful guest satisfaction is on future stays, positive word of mouth, and overall revenue, it becomes a mission critical factor.
"Proper maintenance is critical to ensuring the safety and comfort of hotel guests, as well as preserving the value of the property. From routine inspections to preventative maintenance, hotels must prioritize maintaining their physical assets to minimize downtime and extend the life of their equipment. A well-maintained hotel not only attracts guests but also helps to build brand reputation and loyalty."
What steps can you take to improve your overall hotel maintenance?
- Implement a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). A CMMS is a software program that helps hotel staff schedule, track, and manage maintenance tasks. It can automate work orders, alert maintenance staff to issues, and provide real-time updates on the status of maintenance tasks.
- Install IoT-enabled sensors. IoT (Internet of Things) sensors can be installed throughout a hotel to monitor various systems and equipment, such as HVAC systems, plumbing, and electrical systems. These sensors can detect issues and send alerts to maintenance staff in real-time, allowing them to quickly respond to maintenance needs and minimize downtime.
- Use predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance uses data analysis and machine learning algorithms to predict when equipment is likely to fail, allowing maintenance staff to perform maintenance before issues occur. By identifying and addressing maintenance needs before they become major problems, hotels can reduce downtime and minimize repair costs.
Hotel maintenance not only ensures that guests have a better stay, but also saves you money in the long run by ensuring your appliances and hardware last longer. Don’t miss this step!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q) How can the hospitality industry improve customer satisfaction?
To improve customer satisfaction in the hospitality industry, exceptional customer service is crucial. Technology can also play a crucial role in enhancing the guest experience. By implementing user-friendly technology solutions, such as mobile check-in, keyless room entry, and in-room tablets, hotels can provide convenience and ease for guests. The use of guest feedback management tools can also help hotels quickly address any concerns and improve the overall guest experience.
Q) What is guest satisfaction in hospitality?
Guest satisfaction in hospitality refers to how happy and content guests are with their overall experience at a hotel or other hospitality establishment. It is a measure of how well the establishment meets or exceeds guests’ expectations in terms of service, amenities, cleanliness, and other factors. Guest satisfaction is crucial to the success of hospitality businesses, as satisfied guests are more likely to return, recommend the establishment to others, and leave positive reviews.
Q) What should I do if a guest is not satisfied?
If a guest is not satisfied, it is important to address their concerns promptly and effectively. Here’s what to do:
- Listen. Allow the guest to voice their concerns and actively listen to their feedback.
- Apologize. Show that you understand their perspective and apologize for any inconvenience caused.
- Solve. Work with the guest to find a solution that meets their needs and resolves the issue.
- Follow-up. After the issue has been resolved, follow up with the guest to ensure they are satisfied and to show that you value their feedback.
It is important to handle guest complaints professionally and respectfully, as this can turn a negative experience into a positive one and help improve guest satisfaction.
Take Your Hospitality To The Next Level, With Duve
The challenges facing the hospitality industry aren’t about to go away any time soon.
But hotel tech is your secret weapon in the fight against mediocre guest experiences.
Level the playing field with Duve. We’ve been helping hoteliers drive up guest satisfaction for years. We’re not just another tech company — we’re a tech partner that understands the hotel industry and has skin in the game.
Let us show you how Duve can help you today.
"The product is great, and the support we are receiving is amazing. Plus we are able to sell many early check-ins and late check-out through Duve with very minimal effort from our side. Duve really helps us manage the full guest experience lifecycle."
Front Office Manager, Le Bulles de Paris