Understanding the full impact of hotel guests on your operations and your brand
People may look at this article and say, “been there, done that,” however with the hotel industry breathing a small sigh of relief due to the introduction of a COVID-19 vaccine, it is more important than ever to make sure that you are ready for every guest a.k.a. travel writer.
Before the pandemic, hotel guests had a myriad of outlets where they could voice their opinions on how well or poorly a property performed during their stay. Reviews on TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Booking.com, to name a few, have been guiding travelers for years. However, you might want to keep an eye on these channels as guests become even more vigilant post-pandemic.
Why? Think about it. With the onslaught of 24-hour news and social media, we are all extremely sensitive to things that we would not have been top of mind previously. How do we now open a door? How often we clean and disinfect our house? Is the local mall adhering to hygiene protocols? The list goes on and on.
Hotels will have to amplify their game regarding cleanliness, hygiene, and safety as hotel guests will inspect their rooms with increased attention. Guests always valued a clean room, but these expectations are now heightened. Hotels like the historic Beverly Hilton Hotel are taking the extra step of using ultraviolet light to sanitize each serviced room to gain guest confidence.
Then there are all the new technologies that support a “no touch or low touch” environment. Many properties are implementing these technologies to help guests feel safe. There is a surge in implementations of remote check-in/out to bypass the front desk, mobile door lock apps to avoid plastic keys, and more IoT smart services enabling guests to use their own phone to manage the TV and heat/cooling system in their hotel room. All the advancements are great, but if they don’t measure up to guest expectations, get ready for the travel writer to emerge, and the reviews will not be pretty.
Finally, when it does come to in-person contact, there are protocols to follow here as well. Plexiglass at the front desk, hotel employees wearing masks to ensure guest safety and their own and let us not forget about all the other employees working in a hotel. Housekeepers, room service delivery personal, if offered, engineering and valets. They will also be obligated to show that they are focused on safety and the brand promise.
If a hotel goes above and beyond to exceed the new COVID-driven expectations, they will be handsomely rewarded via review channels and social media posts. Conversely, if hoteliers do not follow a strict regiment of cleaning, delivering the exact service that a guest wants or requires, and respecting guest privacy, rest assured that the guest will become an incredibly prolific travel writer