What Brings a Hotel Guest Back?

As a small hotel operator, a large part of your distribution strategy is likely focused on bringing new guests to your property. While first-time guests can help increase your booking rates, one of the best ways to generate higher revenues over a longer period is to retain guests and encourage them to book subsequent stays with you. These versatile ideas can help you understand what brings a hotel guest back for another stay.

a man and a woman at a hotel front desk smiling at a hotel employee with article title text overlay: What Brings a Hotel Guest Back?

Prioritize the Guest Experience

It sounds obvious, and maybe it is, but the best way to get guests to book another stay with you is to offer exceptional service. You need to impress your guests from the moment they find your website until the minute they depart… and honestly, wowing them with a thank you email post-stay is a no-brainer, as well. A couple of innovative ways that you can improve and enhance the guest experience include:

  • Making booking easy and streamlined on your website. Allow for guests to personalize their stay by choosing from a selection of room rates and packages, indicating their preferred check-in time (within your defined window), and sharing dietary preferences.

  • Providing concierge services throughout their stay. Encourage guests to interact with your staff members, and always be ready to offer valuable recommendations and tips to help them get the most out of their stay. Your guests should feel as though you are the best resource they can rely on as they explore the area. You can also go the extra mile with personal touches such as hand-written welcome notes and turn-down service.

a woman talking with a man behind a hotel desk with quote to right: Provide some form of concierge service to your guests, even if it's more informal. Let guests know who they can reach and how to make it as easy as possible for them to have a great stay!

Invest in Your Staff

Your staff has a significant impact on every guest's experience at your boutique hotel, so it's important to make thoughtful hires and retain them. As you search for qualified candidates, remember that you should look for individuals who not only have industry experience, but also have an enthusiastic personality.

Your staff members represent you and your brand, and they need to have a genuine desire to work closely with your guests and provide the best possible experience. In order to ensure that there is high morale among your staff, invest in them personally and professionally. A staff that feels valued is going to be more motivated to go the extra mile for your guests.

Some ways you can invest in your staff include:

  • Providing opportunities for professional development, such as training courses or industry conferences; make sure it’s easy for your employees to take advantage of these

  • Offering competitive salaries and benefits; we know it’s a tough market and it’s important that our hard-working staff are taken care of

  • Creating a positive work environment where people feel safe, prepared, and appreciated; implement an employee recognition program that rewards people for going above and beyond

two women sitting and talking with each other with quote to right: Your staff members represent your brand. Make sure you're investing in hiring the right people and retaining them, too.

Add Small Touches That Improve the Ambiance

Travelers who book rooms at small hotels and bed and breakfasts are often in search of an authentic and immersive experience. By enhancing the ambiance with small touches, you can create a unique experience that defines your brand. A few small touches that you may want to add include:

  • Local art: Add paintings or photographs from local artists to the walls of your lobby and guest rooms. This will create a more personal feel for your visitors.

  • Fresh flowers: A vase of fresh flowers in the lobby or guest room can add a touch of luxury.

  • Complimentary coffee and tea: Set up a small coffee station in the lobby with complimentary coffee and tea for guests to enjoy. This is a great way to make them feel welcome and at home. a living space with a larger painting of a coastal town above the couch and quote to the left: Travelers book with small hotels and inns in search of a unique experience. Small touches can include local art, fresh flowers, and complimentary coffee and tea.

Leverage Technology to Enhance Their Stay

Even in a quaint and charming bed and breakfast, technology can be used to streamline the experience at your property and offer additional conveniences for your guests. We, of course, think, the right property management system that not only offers real-time availability, but also provide your guests with additional tools that they can use to improve their experience, such as automatic email reminders and secure payment processing, is a must.

Many hoteliers are now offering text messaging, allowing guests to order room service, book spa appointments, and more directly from their smartphones. This not only makes it easier for your guests to get what they need during their stay, but it also frees up your front desk staff to attend to other tasks.

Of course, technology isn’t only about making things easier for your guests – it can also be used to enhance their safety. Implementing a keyless entry system at your property actually helps with safety and convenience!

a laptop open on a table in a coffee shop with speech bubbles that show 5 stars with article quote below: Make sure guests feel valued, so they'll want to return. Ask for their feedback through a survey, or even better, a formal review on your favorite third-party site.

Encourage Feedback and Adapt Accordingly

One of the best ways to encourage a guest to return to your property is to make them feel valued. When you send a survey after their stay or entice them to leave online reviews, you are proving that you value their thoughts and opinions. Better yet, when you adapt your processes based on the feedback you receive, you show your guests that you are flexible, resilient, and willing to do what it takes to continue to earn their business.

Whether you are focused on attracting new guests to your boutique hotel or prioritizing return stays, you need to keep in mind that the guest experience begins from the moment they attempt to book a room. This is why it's critical to have an innovative property management system in place that offers online booking and instant confirmations.

At ThinkReservations, we offer an integrated booking software designed specifically for small hotel operators. Request your demo today and discover why this is the tool you need to improve the guest experience and encourage your guests to keep coming back.

We look forward to helping you discover new ways to grow your business!

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