Painting the Post-COVID Hotel Experience For Your Guests
We have talked a lot recently about guests’ comfort and confidence levels in travel right now. Pinpointing a traveler’s comfort level can be critical in anticipating the needs of your guests and assessing the type of experience your guest is expecting at the property.
“New Normal” Spectrum
Someone that needs to travel right now and does not feel fully comfortable in doing so is going to expect a completely new type of hotel experience, a “new normal.” They might not feel comfortable checking in at the front desk or eating breakfast in your dining area. Providing them with alternatives like mobile check-in and a grab and go breakfast will ensure that they feel comfortable and safe.
Someone choosing to travel right now that feels comfortable doing so might want a hotel experience that feels closer to what it did pre-COVID. These travelers are still looking for interaction at the front desk and are willing to take advantage of your amenities like the fitness center or pool. It’s vital for hoteliers to recognize a traveler’s comfort level so that they can provide the best experience possible for each specific guest.
Reputation & Review Response
The key to influencing bookings and reaching those travelers at home still uncomfortable with travel is by increasing their confidence in the type of hotel experience that you can provide them. One of the biggest ways we can do this is through online reviews and responses.
This is an excerpt from a 5-star review tilted Great Stay:
“Check-in was easy. The Front Desk agent wore a mask and there were plenty of visible signs in the lobby encouraging social distancing.”
As a traveler reads this review it’s starting to paint a picture in their head of what they can expect if they visit the property. Now it’s only one review, so the image is still blurry because they may read another review with conflicting feedback. That’s why reputation consistency right now is so critical. The more consistent positive reviews, the clearer the image starts to become in the eyes of the traveler. Do not blur the image by giving guests an inconsistent hotel experience at the property.
Review response is another way that we can reinforce and focus the image even further in the mind of our potential customers. When we respond to a review by reiterating feedback that relates to traveler experience right now, it sharpens the image that customers see during the decision making process. Inconsistent review response is a missed opportunity for the hotel to detail aspects of the hotel experience that could ultimately help increase customer confidence.
In this example, the General Manager may reply:
“Thank you for your review. We require all of our hotel employees to wear masks and encourage social distancing between all of our guests in public areas including the front desk.”
The clearer that image becomes, the more comfortable and confident the traveler gets. This is how we increase guests’ comfort levels and get travelers out of their houses and into our hotels.
Painting The Clearest Picture
It’s going to be the hotels that paint the clearest picture for travelers that will win their booking. So I challenge you – take a close look at your property’s reviews since the beginning of this pandemic. How clear have you and your team painted the travel experience at your property for potential guests? Check the online reviews and responses of your local competitors. How does the picture that they painted compare to yours?