8 Pre-Arrival Tools to Ensure Guest Satisfaction
A guest's experience starts even before they check-in to your hotel, as soon as they make their first contact with your hotel company. In order to provide guests with a positive experience, it is essential to understand their preferences prior to their arrival. Instead of waiting until guests physically arrive at your hotel's premises to provide them with services, a hotel business should adopt effective techniques to encourage a pre-arrival experience for the clients. It is constantly being echoed by the best hotel consultants in India that the experiences of guests are extremely important to hotel businesses, and there are ways to enhance them straight away, i.e., prior to arrival.
Here are eight approaches to ascertain your guests' preferences prior to their arrival to ensure a positive guest experience.
8 ways to enhance guests' pre-arrival experience
When you want to get your guests' attention before they arrive, you need to be creative with your ideas while adhering to the guidelines. Here are the eight essential methods often suggested by best hotel consultants in India, to master your pre-arrival strategy, each with a creative twist:
1.) When a booking is successful, send a concise confirmation email
When you send the guest the booking update through email, that will be their first direct point of contact with your hotel. The majority of people take screenshots of the booking confirmation emails and show them to you at the check-in counters. However, it is your responsibility to elicit an out-of-the-blue response from your guests.
Make the email more friendly and mention that any specific requests (if any) will be fulfilled prior to the guests' check-in. Additionally, you shouldn't send too many confirmation emails. The reason for this is that if your guests find it to be beyond their capacity to read and answer, they will just close it, negating the effect of your email.
Keep it brief but captivating! Your initial interaction will be handled if you direct your email marketing staff to do this. You will be able to track click-through rates or email open rates if you choose a good CRM solution for your hospitality company. It has now become a standard practice by the best hotels and hotel consultants in India.
2.) Send a link to the pre-arrival survey
You should plan to set up a pre-arrival survey for your guests in the next phase. Send them a link by text message or email, and explain why it's crucial for both them and you to complete the survey in order to improve both their experience and yours.
Tell your guests that you will do all possible to meet their demands before they arrive. You should include the following questions in the questionnaire:
If there’s a baby then their preferred bed or toys
Additional service preferences
Make sure to keep the questionnaire brief as you are creating it. Give them the opportunity to respond to some questions with a single word or just by checking a box. It can reveal a lot of useful information that can help your team in making the stay memorable for the guest. Nowadays, even the best hotel consultants in India are recommending to integrate this as a standard practice.
3.) Set the right expectations with your guests
Inform guests in advance if there are any construction or renovation projects underway on your premises that will prevent them from using certain additional services. After they check-in with you, don't let the guests' expectations get out of hand.
Before your guests arrive, you should provide them the following details to help them have realistic expectations:
Time for check-in and checkout
Pricing for valet
Temporary closure of the gym, spa, and swimming pool
If you think there is anything else you should include that the guests won't know about before they arrive, please do so. It has been revealed that ‘Mismatch of expectations’ has been the number 1 cause for dissatisfaction in guests during a stay. Data analyzed through the years by the best hotel consultants in India also points to this. It is recommended to always communicate the expectations before arrival.
4.) Mention the value-added upgrades and services to them
When hotels request an upgrade to the accommodation of their choice with a small price increase, a day or two before arrival, it always impresses the guests. If the price looks reasonable, they will undoubtedly choose that alternative, and your guests will remember you favorably for suggesting this offer.
Additionally, you ought to customize upsells and inform your guests about these value-added services that can be of interest to them. Instead of imposing your services on them, simply make an offer and give them the freedom to decide whether they want to accept it or not. This is a good method to know your guests' preferences before they arrive. This is easier said than done and even the best hotel consultants in India are still finding efficient ways to inculcate this method across properties.
5.) Treat repeat customers like VIPs
Giving devoted clients additional treatment will help you establish a solidly positive reputation for your hotel. When hotels provide regular customers special deals or attention, they feel appreciated.
Customer segmentation as "new guests" and "repeat guests" may need to be used. The pre-arrival email you send to returning guests should be distinct from the email you send to new guests in this way.
If at all feasible, get the help of your General Manager to create an email to repeat guests that will have a significant impact. As some of your repeat guests' pre-arrival preferences are already known to you, you can confirm with them and make the required arrangements. A few days prior to their arrival, you can send an alluring email asking for confirmation.
6.) Make yourself available to handle guest issues
Everything you do in an effort to learn your guests' preferences prior to their arrival will be communicated or processed via email. Therefore, watch how you time your emails!
This specific communication can be combined with the reminder email for value-added services to demonstrate your availability on-site for handling guest issues around-the-clock. A deliberate and seamless merger of two email settings is required.
By sending them this email, you can let your guests know that you value their on-site reviews at all times of the day. Assure them that your team will work quickly to find solutions to their issues. Give them a name, phone number, and email address so they can get in touch with you if there are any problems.
7.) Maintain a mobile-friendly website
Your brand-new guests who made their reservations using your direct channel or online travel agents (OTAs) will undoubtedly browse your website to find out more about what you have to offer.
And it is clear that more individuals use their mobile devices than their desktops or laptops to do information searches. Therefore, as also suggested by the best hotel consultants in India, it is preferable to have a mobile-optimized website to improve the pre-arrival experience for your guests.
8.) Sensitize guests to sustainability-related issues
If your brand is working on sustainability, make sure to let the guests know. Many brands are working to create impact on sustainability issues and the guests love to associate themselves with such causes.
Addressing issues like water-scarcity, electricity-overconsumption, food-wastage, garbage-disposal and other organic practices contribute to sustainability. The guests are more likely to get on board with your attempt to carry out sustainability-related practices if you inform them pre-arrival. It is part of setting the right expectations where you are expecting the guests to cut back on a few amenities and services for the sake of sustainability and Earth conservation. These practices can include but are not limited to-
On-demand linen & towel change to avoid water wastage
On-demand toiletries to eliminate waste created by packaging materials
Usage of glass water bottles instead of packaged plastic bottles
Requesting guests to separate wet garbage from dry to ensure healthy compost practices
Requesting guests to be mindful of food-wastage at buffets
In 2022, many international hotel chains along with the best hotel consultants in India recommend hotels to join one or more such causes as it is helpful at multiple levels to work towards sustainability.
It's time to put your knowledge of what you must do to find out your guests' preferences before they arrive into practice. Do it all year round and not only depend on seasons and non-seasons.
Be unbiased in how you handle guests, irrespective of the services they have opted for or the room type they select. When a customer books with you, they should all be handled fairly. Your pre-arrival plans shouldn't favor any certain booking type above others and should be inclusive of all.
By monitoring how your guests respond to various emails, you can keep tailoring your communications. The experience before arrival can make or break your company. If you catch their interest early on, you will have a higher chance of providing them with high-quality services at touchpoints during their stay and after they checkout. The best of hotel chains in India as well as the best hotel consultants in India recommend constantly changing with the changing times. The same processes can’t stay effective forever and so, upgrading your process with time is the only way to stay relevant in the sector.