Where (and How) Hotels Can Properly Set Guest Expectations
In the previous blog, we discussed a scenario where two different travelers had negative experiences that led to them posting one-star reviews online. This post will cover where hotels can set the proper expectations to avoid this scenario in the future, and what to say to set those expectations the right way.
Where Can Hotels Set Expectations?
The first place hotels can set expectations is through social media. Channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin are all places travelers are doing pre-booking research and post-booking discovery. Number 2, your Hotel Website. Over the course of the pandemic we made hundreds of changes and updates to our hotel partner’s website ensuring that they were setting the right expectations for their future guests. Number 3, we talked through today. Online Reviews can serve as very powerful tools in setting expectations for future stays. Finally, Review Response. Hoteliers are using review response to explain new policies and set the right expectations for future travelers that are reading them. So now that we know where expectations are set, let’s explore how to actually set them properly.
Setting Proper Expectations: Housekeeping
What we will do next is look at several different aspects of the guest experience and share ideas to help hotels set the right expectations for travelers using social media and online review response. Let’s start with housekeeping. In this first social post, sometimes the most effective caption is the simplest. This featured image says it all in regards to the degree of cleanliness at this hotel. Remember cleanliness is a top priority not only for cautious travelers, but all travelers right now. You can also share a post outlining your room cleaning and sanitizing process or post a picture of your housekeeping staff cleaning a room in real time.
On the review response side for another hotel, our professional review response team helped craft a response letting travelers know that daily housekeeping has been halted due to the pandemic:
Thank you for choosing to stay with us. While we’re glad to read that you found our accommodations to be clean, we regret to have fallen short of expectations in terms of housekeeping. Out of an abundance of caution due to the ongoing pandemic, we have halted our daily housekeeping services in an attempt to limit the contact between our guests and staff. We appreciate your patience during these unprecedented times, and we hope to welcome you back soon!
Including the reason why a policy has changed, in this case “to limit the contact between guests and staff” is critical for travelers to understand and appreciate why a change like this has been made. This type of review response would have been extremely helpful in the scenario we laid out in previous blogs and could have prevented that negative sentiment from the guest.
Setting Proper Expectations: Policies
Next, let’s look at policies. For this example, we have two social post ideas to review. The first is an image at the front desk letting travelers know that the guest services team is available 24/7 to answer any questions. This post gives an idea to the traveler what that check-in process looks like and the link on the posts directs the guest to hotel policies and procedures. The second example has to do with informing guests about local area policies, outside the hotel. As guests start to travel farther and farther, they might not be familiar with your city or state restrictions: keep them informed using regular social media posts.
On the review response side we have an example of a response we crafted for a hotelier in regards to their mask policy on the property:
Lastly, please know that the safety of our guests and staff is paramount. All guests on property are expected to abide by our mask policies and other safety procedures in place. While we do enforce these policies throughout the property, unfortunately, our staff members cannot monitor all areas at all times, but we will continue to do our best. In the future, if you notice someone that is not abiding by our regulations, please be sure to let us know.
This response is perfect because it states the hotel’s commitment to safety, followed by the policy itself, and what to do if a guest notices someone not following that policy. This is the perfect way to set expectations for future travelers on what to expect and what to do if they are in a similar scenario.
Setting Proper Expectations: Food & Beverage
Finally, let’s check out food and beverage. A social post with a delicious-looking food image and an informative caption is a great idea for letting travelers know about the hotel’s 24/7 dining options. From how guests on property experience breakfast – which might have changed for a lot of hotels – to their grab and go market for snacks and drinks. But what happens when your hotel is not currently offering options like on-site breakfast to guests? In this review response example, we have a reply offering future guests recommendations that could serve as an alternative to its on-site breakfast:
Thank you for choosing to stay with us. We trust you found our location convenient for enjoying the local area and we’re happy you liked our clean, cozy accommodations. Our property does not offer a breakfast option but our friendly staff is happy to recommend nearby eateries. Please come back and see us again in the future!
Providing alternative options like this over review response or social media shows your guests that you realize the impact this change will have on the hotel experience and care enough to brainstorm alternate ideas for them. But the key is for your guests to have knowledge of these types of changes prior to arriving on the property.
Not Meeting Guest Expectations
So as we wrap up today, we know that your property is not the same property that it was back in 2019. For some of you, your hotel could have a completely different look, staff, and type of traveler than it did just a few months ago. But no matter whether your guests are categorized as cautious or adventurous, both types of travelers are going to have expectations when they visit your property.
Exceed Guest Expectations
It’s up to you, the hotel, to set those expectations properly and optimize your “new” hotel guest experience. So much of this last year has been completely out of our hands as hoteliers, but setting expectations online is something completely in your control. And it’s the hotels that are out there doing it effectively that are going to see the biggest returns and take full advantage of this monster industry recovery we are on our way toward.
Travel Media Group’s Solutions
Our team at Travel Media Group can help you. We will show you what expectations are being set right now online for your hotel and we’ll help you take back control. We know how short-staffed a lot of hotels are right now and can ensure you are setting the right guest expectations through channels like your hotel’s website, online reviews, social media, and online review response. Review our solutions page and get in touch to find out what service suits your needs best.