We have observed and experienced many disappointing welcomes at hotels and restaurants recently and had some fantastic ones too. We want to share with you how the emotions you evoke for your guests at this key touchpoint will make or break their experience and your revenue.
The arrival experience sets the tone for the whole guest experience. This will form part of their hotel memories and stories guests tell. A great welcome starts to build guest loyalty and if a guest feels you really care about them from the start, they will have greater tolerance if things go wrong during their stay.
We offer four key tips to include in your staff training and guest experience design.
Understand guest expectations
Firstly remember guests have booked an experience not just a room! But do you know the type of experience they are seeking? If you didn't ask before they arrived, make sure you do now! This knowledge will allow you to personalise the delivery of the guest experience and make recommendations to enhance their stay. If you did ask, make sure you acknowledge the reason for their stay on arrival and demonstrate something you have done to ensure they receive the experience they want. Ensure all pre-arrival requests and perhaps an additional surprise are actioned.
Understand guest emotions
So many times I;ve seen stressed families arrive at the hotel, only to be bombarded with questions and paperwork at reception when they just want to relax and get to their room. Observe the guests emotions on arrival and ask how they are feeling? They may be excited, exhausted or confused. Make sure you emphatise if the journey has been long or difficult. The best arrivals are those that read the guest emotion and then tailor their language and behaviours accordingly to evoke positive emotions in guests and meet their expectations and needs as quickly as possible. All guests want to know you value them and are committed to their needs so do something that demonstrates this and fits with your brand.
Cut the process
Make the guest feel like a guest and not part of a process. Personalise your warm greeting, enable them to sit and relax, provide information about all the hotel has to offer or the local area that is relevant to their needs. Perhaps offer a welcome drink while you ensure the check-in is seamless and efficient and you seize the opportunity to build rapport and make them feel you care. You will gain more revenue and good will during their stay from this special welcome and positive start to the guest relationship.
No one wants to queue. Queuing creates negative guest emotions and this is what guests remember. You need a system and will have procedures to follow but the best guest experiences are where the guest needs are put first and the processes second.
Mind your Language
How many check-ins have you had that while you wait in line, you know what the receptionist is going to say before its your turn as she says the same words in the same tone to everyone regardless of age or guest type? Conversation must be sincere, natural and different to every guest and fit your guest type and brand. Enthusiasm and energy are needed in your voice for every warm welcome delivered. Allow staff to demonstrate their personality within a clear framework and only use positive words! Get rid of the No Problem!
All these points and more are included in videos 2 & 3 of our 8 part Guest Experience Masterclass videos. These free 2 x 3 minute videos, "I'm booking an experience, not just a room" and "Make me welcome" will inspire your team. Share them at your next staff meeting. Create some ideas on how you can make your guests arrival, welcoming, special and uniquely memorable to evoke lots of positive emotions.
Customer Expeirence Director