The importance of omnichannel guest communication
Providing an optimal guest experience is usually one of the main objectives of a hotelier. Guest communication has a crucial role in this, as it shapes guests’ expectations and behaviour.
Today, an omnichannel approach is key. This means using different channels and methods in a cohesive way to create seamless communication. Because guests’ preferences differ in this area, it’s important to offer multiple options.
Communication channels for hotels typically include the hotel website (optionally with chatbot) or app, the front desk, social media, email, chat (e.g. WhatsApp), text messaging, in-room tablets, self-service kiosks, dedicated applications … As you can tell, digital is gaining more and more prominence as guests' expectations evolve.
Pre-stay guest communication
It's easily overlooked, but the guest experience starts long before the guest even sets foot in your accommodation. That’s why pre-stay communication with your guests should involve more than a simple booking confirmation. Reassure your guest that they've made the right choice and keep them looking forward to their stay.
User-friendly hotel website
Your website is the main source of information during this first stage of the guest journey. Make sure all necessary information is provided and easy to find. If you haven’t yet, devote a section or web page to places of interest and worthwhile activities in the area. Let your guests know they can always reach you using their preferred channel.
In addition, proactively engage with the guest through a scheduled reminder email a few days before check-in. Some key elements to include in this email:
- Brief recap of practical details
- Travel requirements
- Weather forecast (+ packing tips)
- Airport distance and shuttle options
- Parking facilities
- Check-in info
- Opening hours of front desk, bar, restaurant, spa, gym …
- Luggage drop-off info
- Additional services and extras
- Room upgrade possibilities
- Recommended dining places nearby
- Worthwhile attractions and events
- Contact button for additional requests/questions
During-stay guest communication
Easily accessible hotel staff
By automating your daily operations, your staff can free up time for personal interaction. Your staff should be well-informed about the region, so they can answer questions and share tips. Always be available to clients, either in person or online, so that any issues can be resolved immediately.
Enable your guests to customise and upgrade their stay with nice add-ons and extra services whenever they please. Your room service should be as simple and barrier-free as can be, preferably by means of self-service. There are many applications available on the market to make this possible. With a tool like Oaky, for instance, you can easily send automated upsell messages at the right time.
Post-stay guest communication
Contrary to what you may think, the guest experience isn’t over when the customer leaves the building. The goal of post-stay communication is to make each client feel valued and to solidify a long-term relationship. Don’t underestimate the importance of customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth. When you make sure guests don’t forget about you, they are more likely to return and recommend your accommodation to others.
Upon check-out, your guest should receive a personalised thank-you email with a kind request to leave a review. Positive reviews make your accommodation more noticeable and attractive to potential clients. Optionally, you can offer a small incentive to get more reviews. While you’re at it, why not invite your clients to follow you on social media? There, you can stay top of mind and keep the interaction going.
The last step in the guest journey is to convince past guests to book with you again. Property Management Systems often keep a detailed customer database. Use this data to send out targeted newsletters, announcing promotions, special birthday offers and other exciting updates.
If you don’t have a tier-based loyalty programme yet, this is your sign to create and communicate one. Reward loyal guests with interesting discounts and advantages, like free use of the spa or gym, 15% off food and beverages, early check-in or late check-out.
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