Why is service so critical and important in hospitality industry?
I am a hotel owner, and let me assure you that without providing a guest the right service, there is no chance to survive in this industry.
When I read this question for the first time I was asking myself “Where does service start?” In my opinion, it starts with your online presence. Your website is your digital business card. It is not just a digital magnet to obtain new potential guests; it is the first step to demonstrate your visitors that you love to provide great services even before they check-in. For instance, providing in-depth information about your accommodation, facilities, the advantages of staying at your place, your surroundings, nearby restaurants, nearby bars, shopping-malls close by, public transportation services, taxi stands, fitness centers, parks, attractions, etc. shows your visitors that you have their back. Your visitors will automatically realize that they can ask you any question in regard to your environment as soon as they are at your place.
Of course, the visitors can use Google to find all the interesting places close by your accommodation. However, by implementing this information on your website, you save them a lot of time and a huge amount of effort. Through your service on your website, you are already taking away one point of their to-do list.
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Now if you really want to make an immense impression on your website visitors, you should integrate a 24/7 Chat. This way your visitors can ask you a question right away and you can show them in an instant how supportive and professional you are. Having a 24/7 Chat available on your website makes a positive difference to your business. In addition, people will immediately get to know you and you can start to build a guest relationship.
It’s important that your visitors see how much you care about them. At first, this 24/7 Chat tool looks as a nice gadget to have, but if you go a little bit deeper you will understand that such a tool has a huge impact on your business and brand awareness.
Another service you should offer on your website is a booking button. Having a booking button makes it easy for your visitors to book a room in a few minutes. The potential new guests do not have to go to an OTA and look for your accommodation once again; besides, you avoid the commission. The booking button as well as real guest reviews of your accommodation are services that save your visitors time. According to Statistic Brain more than 49% of travellers won’t book a hotel without looking at the reviews.
Now let us have a look at hotel service that follow after guests made a reservation. People who book through an OTA, book a room at your place, receive a confirmation message with all the important information, and actually, that is it.
Now if you want to provide an outstanding service and differentiate yourself from other hotels, you should send your guests an informative message. A message that is delightful and full of valuable information about your place and places around it. Sending a delightful message to your new guests will excite them and confirm that they made a great choice. This message will not be seen as spam, but as pure kindness. The receivers will experience your goodwill and acknowledge your efforts. That service is one of kind.
Let’s not stop here. We are just starting to give an unforgettable service to our guests. On the day your guests arrive, you need to do the following to strengthen the guest relationships that you’re starting to build. You need to give them a call and ask them if they need any further information to reach your accommodation. 95% of your guests will not expect a call from you. Therefore, they will be positively surprised and amazed by the effort you invest into them. In my video, I am telling a short story about what sometimes happens when I call a guest for the first time. I am not always talking about directions and hotel rooms.
This service strategy usually blows guests’ minds and they will remember it while giving a review.
When you see guests parking in your parking space, it is time for you to move. Go outside and offer your help to carry the luggage. If it is raining outside, give your guests an umbrella. That is the service that will make you shine like a star.
After a “Perfect Check-In,” accompany your guests to their rooms. Carry their luggage once again and while you bring them to their rooms, make small talk. Your guests will appreciate your interest in them.
The cleanliness of the rooms is a whole topic for itself, so I will not go deep into that subject right here, but let me tell you: this is one of the biggest fundaments to provide your guests the feeling of being at home. Certainly, the rooms have to be absolutely clean and without any hair in the bathroom. I believe that the cleanliness of the rooms is one of the most important key factors responsible for one’s success or ruin in this industry.
The guests paid a specific amount per night to stay at your place. Guests have expectations of your service and you should always try to not just reach these expectations, but go even further.
Having a mini-bar, or a refrigerator filled with some basic needs is useful for guests that arrive late at your accommodation and are too tired to go to a restaurant or to a grocery store. I am not saying that it is a must to have a mini-bar; I am just saying that is it a service many guests expect. Well, that brings the question up: Where does hospitality service stop? Does too much service exist?
Nevertheless, it is for sure that hospitality service exists to make guests feel comfortable and relaxed. If guests do not have to worry about anything, I guess that is the time you see your guests smile at you.
A service that nobody should underestimate in this industry is the reachability of the reception. You or the staff have to be available for guests at any time. If you want to convince with your service, then you need to make sacrifices.
There is much more to explore about service in the hotel industry. For instance, the breakfast-service, room-service, laundry-service, shuttle-service, travel information service, the check-out service, etc. But I guess that is going to be too much for this post.
To sum it up in short (in regard to my personal experience), if we did not offer some of the services I mentioned earlier, I am 100% sure that we would not be where we are right now. The service we provide to our guests is responsible for our success. The consequence of decreasing the quality of our service would be that our sales, occupancy rate, reputation, image, professionalism, competitiveness, guests’ satisfaction, number of recommendations and great online ratings would decline enormously as well. It is like a domino effect. In this industry it is important that each service (domino stone) that is lined up, is in a perfect condition and, of course, constant.
(Imagine the line of the “service dominos” = the first contact with a potential new guest to the follow up emails after check-out).
Good service in this industry as well as in other industries is crucial for success; however, the service offered in the hospitality industry is looked at with more critical eyes than customers in other industries usually do.