1880 S Dairy Ashford Rd, Suite 650, Houston, TX 77077

Five Steps to Improve Guest Retention and Why It Matters

A whopping 82% of organizations, when surveyed, said that retaining existing customers was significantly more cost-effective than finding new ones. With this in mind, it makes sense on every level to ensure that your hospitality establishment is enjoying the very best rate of guest retention possible.

There are always steps that can be taken to boost this figure, whether it’s through the incorporation of in-room tech that’ll make your guests’ stays run more smoothly or reaching out effectively to past visitors who haven’t made a repeat booking to date.

Identify Your VIPs

Having a software system in place that’ll allow you to identify your VIP guests is important, so you can target your marketing efforts. When thinking about campaigns, prioritize guests that have either stayed with you recently, have spent a significant amount of money with your business, make regular repeat bookings – or all of the above!

When marketing, devise promotions or offers that aim specifically to keep these VIPs loyal to your hospitality brand. A VIP loyalty scheme is an effective means to do this, as is the offer of exclusive discounts and services – perhaps your VIP members can access your on-site spa an hour earlier than regular guests or receive complimentary food or drink in their rooms.

Your VIP guests are your most valuable commodity, so remain proactive in monitoring who these visitors are and keep in touch with them regularly.

Tempt Old Guests Back

Sometimes things go wrong: it happens. Whether it was down to a system malfunction that left a guest without heating in their room or an undercooked meal, some guests will not experience the best stay. There are often ways to tempt even these guests back, however.

Firstly, it’s crucial to acknowledge the mistake or issue as soon as possible and apologize for it. A sincere letter or email shows that you are genuinely concerned and want to put things right. An offer of a half-price stay or a free meal in your restaurant could be enough to persuade them to give your establishment another try.

Even if nothing untoward has happened during a stay, keeping in touch with past visitors who haven’t made a repeat booking is a good idea. You never know; they could be considering what to get for a special gift for a relative when an email from your hotel pings in that gets them thinking that a weekend away would be the perfect treat for the recipient they have in mind…

Create an Exceptional Guest Experience

Key to improving guest retention is ensuring every guest has the very best hospitality experience possible. This often comes down to doing lots of little things that add up to make a huge difference. For example, offering online check-ins and check-outs allow for frictionless arrivals and no need to wait in line at the front desk.

A guest experience app that your guests don’t need to download to access is an easy and effective way to use tech to upgrade every aspect of their experience. Your guest app can provide all the details your visitors need about the accommodation and on-site amenities, as well as guidebooks and interactive maps of the local area.

Understand Motivation

Having an in-depth awareness of your guests’ motivations when booking is vital in allowing you to design the overall guest experience. Plus, it allows for segmentation when it comes to your marketing efforts.

There are likely to be several distinct visitor groups; these could be families on vacation, young couples wanting a romantic weekend away, business guests who will be attending a conference nearby, or ‘digital nomads’ who are combining remote work with a trip to a new destination. Your visitor groups will be distinct to your establishment.

Once you’ve identified these groups, you can work to understand their motivations for making a booking. For example, your digital nomad might want to experience a wellness break, balancing work with tranquility. If this is the case, you could provide an open-plan communal workspace with a beautiful view, and airy feel, with equipment such as printers and scanners on hand.

Get the Basics Right

And, of course, when it comes to ensuring your guest retention rates remain as high as possible, it’s crucial to get the basics right. This means that your housekeeping must be perfect, and regular spot checks could be a good way to make sure it’s always up to par. Carefully consider rotas too so that, even in your busiest periods, housekeeping staff has enough time to do the job properly.

Making sure that messages are always passed on and actioned is vital. One of the biggest guest bugbears is when they contact the front desk for more towels for their room, for example, and none arrive – or turn up hours later. Get around this with a guest communication hub: this innovative tech acts to unify every channel of communication your establishment uses, from Whatsapp messages and emails to your social media platforms. Meaning that nothing can slip through the cracks.

Improving Guest Retention: The Takeaway

Boosting your guest retention figure is eminently doable but will require a multi-pronged strategy. Effective data collection and analysis is your best friend on this score, allowing you to see patterns of booking and identify the guests to prioritize with your marketing efforts.

Fundamentally, however, creating a guest experience that is consistently exceptional is the most important step in getting those all-important repeat bookings. This is best achieved by combining tech solutions, such as guest apps and the provision of online check-ins, with ensuring the basics, such as housekeeping, are kept top flight.