Meeting guest’s experience needs has become an important factor to enhance the competitiveness of the hotel.
As the hospitality industry embraces various trends, from sustainability to technology integration, guest’s expectations about their stay experiences continue to grow.
Don’t be surprised how hotels are striving to deliver exceptional experiences that can lead to repeat business, positive reviews, and increased brand loyalty.
In this blog post, we will explore valuable insights and practical advice designed to help hotel owners and managers enhance their guest’s experiences and implement these strategies right away. Check it out !
Table of Contents
What is a Hotel Guest Experience Journey
Hotel guest experience journey is an overall view of the interactions and experiences a guest encounters with a hotel. Starting from the initial search for hotel accommodations until they are checking-out from the hotel.
This journey is closely connected to the various channels guests use to interact with the hotel throughout their journey.
As a result, many hoteliers believe that mapping out the hotel guest experience journey is an effective strategy for gaining insights into their customers’ perspectives.
By doing so, they can ensure the highest level of guest satisfaction at every stage. In the following discussion, we will talk deeper into this concept.
Difference Between Guest Experience & Guest Journey
Although these two concepts are closely intertwined in the hotel industry, they have distinct meanings.
Guest experience is the overall impression from a guest about a hotel establishment. This can be influenced by a variety of factors like staff’s attitude and behavior, or the overall level of service.
Meanwhile, a guest journey is part of hotel guest experience journey, the overall path that a guest experiences from the moment they first consider staying at a hotel until they depart.
Below are some key differences between guest experience and guest journey:
- Guest experience is focused on the overall impression of the hotel, while guest journey is focused on the path/maps that the guest takes.
- Guest experience is influenced by a variety of factors, while guest journey is focused on the touchpoints that the guest has with the hotel.
- Guest experience is the result of all of the interactions that the guest has with the hotel, while the guest journey is the process to achieve the guest experience result.
Hotel Guest Experience Journey in Order: Key Stages & Tactics of How to Improve Guest Experience in Hotel
The goal of a hotel guest experience journey is to create and ensure unforgettable, enjoyable stays that lead to repeat business and positive reviews.
Each stage of a hotel guest experience journey, when expertly managed, will bring their own benefits to your hotel business.
The following is how to effectively map each stage of hotel guest experience journey:
1. Inspired & Researching
At this initial hotel guest experience journey, your potential guests begin to consider their travel plans, including hotel options
They begin to explore your hotel along with other competitors, searching for their ideal hotel to stay.
This could involve seeking recommendations from friends or like the vast majority of travelers (almost 98%), beginning their search online.
What You Can Do ? – Inspire them across digital channels to encourage their travel or stay-cation urge while maintaining a good reputation & digital presence.
Make them aware of your hotel existence is the goal here and make sure your hotel marketing effort putin the correct information within your target audience
Here what you can do to maximize this stage :
- Enhance Your Social Media: Making sure your hotel brand is visible on platforms like Instagram & Facebook will reach a wider audience that you can inspire to book a stay.
Use these platforms to highlight your hotel’s unique features, services, and the unforgettable experiences guests can expect and inspire them to book a stay in your hotel.
- Collaborate with Influencers: Influencers have a large number of genuine followers. By partnering with them and implementing the correct influencer marketing, you can introduce your hotel brand to their audience, influencing them to choose and relish their experience at your hotel
People often trust recommendations from their favorite influencers, so it’s crucial to carefully select those who align with your brand.
- SEO: By optimizing your hotel website and securing a high position on Google search results, you can build trust and make it easier for potential customers to find and locate your hotel.
- Optimizing OTA: Potential guests often turn to OTAs to research and compare various hotel options and read some reviews.
Therefore, optimize your presence on OTA by ranking higher on their displayed results & actively participating in the forum discussions is crucial for this stage
- Reputation Management: Positive WOM (Word-of-mouth) is playing a crucial rule since during this stage, every piece of information a guest encounters contributes to their impression of your property and influences their decision to book with you.
Managing your hotel reputation online and offline is needed to maintain a strong & positive reputation.
2. Making a Booking
At this stage, potential guests have made their decision on which hotel to stay in and proceed to book a room. The booking process can occur either on an OTA website or directly through your hotel’s website.
What You Can Do? Ensure a seamless, effective and fast booking process for your potential guests – slow website loading, or a guest finds it difficult to book, this will result in a lost booking.
Within this stage matching up the potential guest with well design website that offers a seamless experience and SEO-optimized copywriting website plays a crucial role, as follows :
- Having relevant & well guide website copywriting
- Have a clear & visible booking button
- Fast loading website
- Well set up booking engine software within the website
Without incorporating those essential elements, your potential guest might find it difficult to make a booking on your hotel website
In the worst-case scenario, they may exit your site and seek alternatives from your competitors.
Or, if you choose to utilize OTAs instead of having your own website, it is crucial to ensure well-managed profiles and listings on popular OTAs both domestically and internationally.
This stage comes into play after the booking process is completed, and it marks the first contact with your guest.
What You Can Do ? Do not underestimate the importance of this stage. even though they already booked a stay in your hotel they are not yet at your exact hotel.
Creating a positive impression and influencing their opinion about your hotel is the goal here.
To make a good impression during the pre-arrival stage, consider the following:
- Clear Booking Confirmation: Provide a clear and detailed booking confirmation to ensure your guests have all the necessary information about their reservation.
- Personalized Pre-Arrival Email: Send a personalized pre-arrival email to your guests, welcoming them and providing any additional details or special offers that might enhance their experience.(give example from email marketing blog)
- Inquiries Service: Maintain a responsive and helpful inquiries service to address any questions or concerns your guests may have before their arrival.
4. Arrival & Checking-In
This stage of the hotel guest experience journey is similar to the pre-arrival stage, the difference is that your guests will have their first in-person interaction with your hotel.
What You Can Do? Ensure a smooth and hassle-free arrival for your guests and create a seamless check-in experience by ensuring your staff handles the process professionally.
This is the stage where you have the opportunity to make a lasting impression and form a positive outlook of your hotel property.
Here’s what you can do to make this process seamless:
- Plan and facilitate easy guest arrival by providing clear directions and signage to help guests find your hotel effortlessly.
- Minimize wait times for check-in. Coordinate effectively with your housekeeping staff to ensure rooms are ready for guests, preventing delays.
- Train your front-desk staff to warmly welcome guests, provide information about available facilities, and offer recommendations for activities in the area.
Make your guests feel genuinely welcomed and well-cared for throughout their stay then you are successfully passed this stage of the guest experience journey.
5. Staying Stage
Within this hotel guest experience Journey, guests are eager and fully immersed in their accommodation. They can’t wait to experience their stay at your hotel.
Their experience during their stay can be the most crucial aspect of this journey.
What You Can Do ? Strive to exceed guest expectations during their stay. Provide exceptional room service, maintain cleanliness, offer personalized services, and respond promptly to any guest requests or complaints.
If something goes wrong, remain calm and address it quickly. Here are examples of issues that may come up during this stage:
- Room Issues: This could range from cleanliness concerns to broken amenities like broken room key or non-functional air conditioning
- Billing Mistakes: Overcharges, incorrect billing, or confusing charges can lead to dissatisfaction. It’s important to ensure that billing is transparent and accurate.
- Miscommunication: Any form of miscommunication between the hotel and the guests can lead to dissatisfaction. This could be about hotel policies, charges, amenities, or even local attractions and services.
- Service Problems: Slow or inefficient service can greatly impact a guest’s experience. This could be slow room service, unresponsive front desk, or even a lack of staff to assist guests when needed.
6. Checking Out From Hotel
In this stage of the hotel guest experience journey, guests will be preparing to depart from your hotel, settling any outstanding fees.
During this stage, guests consciously or unconsciously evaluate their overall experience.
What You Can Do? Continue to provide the best services, the guest has enjoyed their stay experience until the check- out day. Even a minor negative incident can have a significant impact on an otherwise excellent guest experience.
One of the most important things to do is to express gratitude for their stay. Additionally, you can consider offering incentives for future stays or referrals, fostering the development of long-term relationships with your guests.
In this final stage of the hotel guest experience journey, guests will share their experiences at your hotel with their acquaintances, either through word-of-mouth in real life or online.
Mostly these actions are often triggered by either extremely negative or positive experiences. So, make sure it’s positive one
Guests typically share their reviews in two main ways:
Online: Through Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), where they can leave feedback and ratings about their stay.
Offline: Through word-of-mouth conversations with friends, family, and colleagues, where they share their personal experiences and recommendations.
The Importance of Hotel Guest Experience Journey
The importance in identifying a guest experience journey helps you to understand their needs and expectations at every stage of their stay.
With this information, you can improve the guest experience and paves the way for two major improvements for your hotel business:
- Increasing Revenue :
Satisfied guests often result in repeat bookings with positive word-of-mouth endorsements shared among friends and family could potentially generate more bookings
- Building Brand Loyalty :
A great guest journey is key to building loyal customers. Guests who have consistently positive experiences at all touch-points are more likely to develop an emotional connection with the brand, leading to long-term loyalty.
Well Implemented Hotel Guest Experience Journey (Real-Life Example)
One of biggest hospitality brand The Ritz-Carlton demonstrate of a well-crafted guest experience journey. Their founding principles, known as the Golden Standards, have led to exceptional guest services, such as:
Arrival & Check-In Stage
- The Ritz-Carlton sends guests a welcome letter and a gift basket with snacks and drinks to make guests feel welcome and appreciated even before they arrive at the hotel.
- The Ritz-Carlton has a dedicated check-in area where guests are greeted by a friendly and knowledgeable staff member. The staff member will help guests with their luggage and answer any questions they may have.
- During their stay, The Ritz-Carlton strives to ensure maximum comfort and enjoyment by offering an array of amenities and services tailored to their needs.
- Guests are provided with curated travel guides, allowing them to discover the best local attractions through the lens of The Ritz-Carlton.
- Creating a mobile maps allows guests to customize their stay by requesting services, making reservations, and accessing local recommendations
In conclusion, optimizing the hotel guest experience journey is essential for ensuring guest satisfaction, repeat business, and positive word-of-mouth and each stage of the hotel guest experience journey involves offline and in the digital realm.
By prioritizing guest satisfaction and delivering exceptional service at each touchpoint, you can create a memorable journey for your guests. This, in turn, will lead to increased guest loyalty, positive reviews, and recommendations, amplifying your hotel’s success and growth in the dynamic digital landscape of the hospitality industry.