Can I ask you a question – do you wow your guests? I mean REALLY wow them? Do you provide an amazing guest experience?
How you wow your guests has a real impact on your business
Now you may think the term ‘guest experience’ is yet another marketing ‘buzz’ word, but it’s one with the power to make a real impact on your business … good or bad.
The studies and stats make interesting reading; I’d like to share just a few of the most compelling ones I’ve read over the past twelve months or so:
> 89% of people have stopped doing business with someone after experiencing poor customer service.
That’s a LOT of lost repeat bookings for those businesses involved!
> Guests are 2 times more likely to share a bad guest experience at a B&B than they are to talk about a good one.
We all know that guests today are quick to write negative reviews online when they have a bad experience with a B&B. As well as leaving a critical review, they also vent their frustrations on social media for their friends, family, colleagues, and the entire world to see!
And we all know the damage a negative review can do …
> It actually takes 12 positive guest reviews to make up for one negative one.
When you consider that a recent study found that 88% of people have been influenced by an online review when deciding whether or not to book somewhere, it just shows how important it is to do everything you can to wow your guests so that all your reviews are outstanding.
But it isn’t all doom and gloom! On the upside, the same recent studies show:
> 55% of guests said they would pay more for a better guest experience
> 76% of guests said that would be willing to pay more for a B&B with higher review scores.
So that means that there are a lot of people out there that would happily pay higher prices to those B&B’s who offer an amazing guest experience!
Even during hard times you can build a thriving business
Seriously, as I know from my own personal experience as a B&B owner and through the success of hundreds of clients and students over the years, even during hard times it really is possible for you to thrive in business.
One of the things that will really help to make that happen is when you adopt a strategy that focuses on providing an amazing guest experience because it will really make you and your B&B stand out from the crowd.
People today recognise those B&B’s that place them at the heart of everything they do – making sure that they get the best guest experience, before, during and after their stay.
And it’s those B&B’s that people are choosing to book with. But not only that, it’s those B&B’s that people are choosing to stay with again and again.
If you want a thriving business it is vital that you put the customer first, making their wants, needs and expectations a priority.
So how do you do that?
You simply need to wow your guests
Now, it goes without saying that you need to wow your guests from the minute they walk through your door, throughout their whole stay right up to the point when they check out and wave goodbye, and to be honest with you most good B&B owners are great at doing this.
But where many miss out is that they don’t wow people at all the other stages throughout the customer journey.
A person’s experience should delight from their first contact with you. You need to wow them through all of your different marketing pillars – your website, your social media profiles, your third-party advertising and in your printed promotions. Everywhere you promote your B&B.
You also need to wow them from the moment you answer the phone to their initial enquiry or you reply to their first email. You need to delight them at every single point of the enquiry process. And then you need to wow throughout the booking process itself.
And then, as I’ve shared, you need to wow them throughout their whole stay. But it doesn’t stop there! If you want repeat bookings, if you want people to recommend you, then you need to wow them beyond their stay into your ongoing relationship with them.
3 ways of creating an AMAZING guest experience
I want to share just three of the many ways that you can ensure you are wowing your guests and that you are providing them with a fantastic guest experience.
#1: Understand Your Customer
The best way to create a great guest experience is to actually understand your customers in the first place.
Who are they? What motivates them to book? What do they look for from somewhere to stay – what are their needs and requirements? But more than that, what are their desires – what do they dream of finding in a B&B?
And you need to understand what they worry about when it comes to booking and staying somewhere. What are their frustrations and problems? What are their concerns?
Only when you really know your customers can you then ensure that your offering and service not only fulfils their needs and requirements but actually exceeds their expectations.
If you don’t have a really clear idea of who your customer is, I encourage you to take the time to create an avatar of your ideal guests and really get to know them.
#2: Map out the customer journey
From experience, I can tell you that too many businesses fail when it comes to the guest experience because they’ve forgotten what it’s like to “walk in their guests’ shoes”.
A great way of overcoming this is to create a customer journey map – this is an outline of every step your customers go through when interacting with your B&B.
You need to view the journey from a guest’s perspective to understand what they would like to receive compared to the experience they’re currently receiving. When you do this it will help you to spot the gaps that impact the overall guest experience.
If you haven’t already, map out your customer journey and assess all the touch points on that journey and pinpoint where the gaps are. Then take action and improve them!
#3: Seek customer feedback
The third thing you can do is take the
time to find out from your guests what THEY think of the WHOLE experience.
Believe it or not, you probably don’t know what your guests really think of their experience with you because less than 25% of them will complain to you if they’re not happy because they think it’s too much hassle!
In order continually provide an excellent guest experience, it’s important that you find out from your guests where you might be lacking – and a great way of doing this is to just ask them.
If you don’t have one, put a guest feedback form or a process in place for following up with guests and asking what they thought about their stay.
Until next time, remember …
When you provide an amazing guest experience and really wow your guests you WILL have a thriving business. People will book with you. People will recommend you. People will come back and stay again and again.