To have a sustainable hotel business, you need repeat customers. How do you secure your client’s loyalty, especially when the hotel market has become so saturated with choice?
Business clients are looking for location, privacy and peace. Even if you’re not a luxury hotel, you can still offer luxury service – especially for those who are paying a premium for the privilege.
Hotels that are on the lower end of the price scale can still take these tips on board. Remember that the junior exec. flying in for a conference this year may be a senior manager or director in years to come. By courting and impressing guests – no matter their position – you are more likely to be remembered and favoured further down the track.
Make It Easy
How far in advance can a guest book? If they know they’ll be back in town for two nights a month for the next three years, can you accommodate that? Secure what you can, when you can.
People love to save time, and they hate having to do anything. It’s why banks, insurers and superannuation funds can rely on the so-called “lazy tax” – people can’t be bothered to look for a better deal, especially if their current deal is working smoothly.
Remember My Name
Throughout a guest’s stay, you should learn a bit about their preferences – wake-up call or no? Room-service for breakfast? – and log these preferences on a customer file. When the guest returns in six months, a year, it’ll be as though they never left.
A Personal Touch
Hotels love to leave branded pens in guests’ rooms. It’s a neat little touch, because no one can go past a freebie, and freebies are even better when they’re useful. Everybody’s been caught in a situation where they desperately needed a pen – even in these digital days.
One problem with branded pens is that they are clearly marketing material for the hotel. The hope is that the guest lends the pen to a friend, leaves it at a cash register or brings it out in a meeting. Then, the people around the guest will see the name of the hotel and think about booking there in future.
But no one wants to bring someone else’s brand to a board meeting.
For business clients, consider a different approach. Think personal. Perhaps a monogrammed pen – sleek, simple with the guest’s initials. These can be arranged very quickly at a local key cutter, and are an inexpensive way of giving something a little different. A professional client is more likely to use this type of pen in company, and to keep it.
This will reinforce their memory of your hotel, and be a classy point of difference for your establishment.
A Different Kind of Wake-Up Call
Absolutely, you can ring the phone in your guest’s room to tell them to get up. Absolutely, also, you can go a little further.
On arrival, ask the guest how they take a beverage in the morning. Would madam like tea or coffee in her room? Latte? Piccolo?
If you prefer not to have your guest lingering at the check-in counter, you can give them a paper form to select their beverage of choice – or any other morning service you might provide. This form can be collected at a later time, and added to the customer’s file.
The Computer Age
Business clients are in town to do business. These days, that means giving slideshow presentations with laser pointers, full-colour print-outs and more audio-visual content than you can shake a stick at.
Inevitably, something will go wrong with all that technology.
For business clients, it is imperative that good, high-speed Wi-Fi is conveniently accessible. This means in the guest rooms, not in the communal lobby.
A business-savvy hotel may also wish to mention a printing service at check-in. This way, if a guest realizes they’re missing half their print-outs, they know they can head down to the concierge and have it sorted.
The Secret Services
When you’re dealing with premium buyers, you have to be able to convince them that the extra money they’re paying is actually getting them something. That something should be visible and tangible.
It’s all very well to give your business customers the largest rooms, or the best views, or the quietest corridors – but they’re not staying in any other room, so they don’t have the benefit of comparison to see how good they’ve got it.The differences are made apparent when a business client is handed a neat folder of additional services (this should be well presented, not a crusty jumble of A4 plastic sheets). These could include laundry, suit pressing or mending, electronics hire, a masseuse or hairdresser on call, a premium room service list or a luxury brand of complimentary shampoo and conditioner.