Want to Improve Service? Check Out These Questions To Ask Your Hotel Guests

The best way to gauge customer satisfaction at your hotel is to go to the source and ask your guests directly. You can solicit feedback during the check-in process, throughout their stay, and after they check out from your property. By taking advantage of these moments and asking the right questions, you can collect valuable information that can allow you to improve the guest experience at your boutique hotel or inn.

Read on to learn some of the best questions to ask your hotel guests throughout their stay.

woman standing in front of a plain yellow wall shrugging with the words What questions should you be asking your guests? across the image

The Best Questions to Ask When the Reservation is Made

  • What is your estimated arrival time? Depending on the size of your property and staff, this question could be critical or just convenient to have a ballpark answer for. Knowing when your guests plan to arrive will help you plan for staffing, determine housekeeping schedules, and prep for stowing luggage for early arrivals.

    Our best tip for this question is to include your standard check-in hours. This encourages a response that falls within that window. Whether it’s a phone reservation where your front desk manager is asking verbally or you offer a customized drop-down list of times through your online booking engine, this can help you stay in control of arrivals.

  • Do you have any dietary restrictions? Obviously if you’re not offering food to guests, this question is probably not necessary! But if you do serve meals or offer snacks during the day, guests really appreciate knowing that your staff cares enough to ask. Depending on the size of your property and the size of your menu, you may be able to tailor what you offer daily to accommodate allergies, cultural considerations, special diets, etc.

    If you’re able to offer options that meet your guests dietary needs, make sure to promote it! This can be a huge marketing opportunity that gives potential guests peace of mind knowing you’ll welcome their request and treat them seriously.

  • Would you like to add any flowers, wine, or spa services to your stay? One of our favorite things to talk about here at ThinkReservations is how to bring in more revenue. Well, offering upsell items and services is one of the best ways to do this. Whether you have stand-alone options, packages, or even special room rates (we dare you to try this if you haven’t yet!) make sure your guests are aware during the booking and pre-arrival process.

    Your reservations staff should be well-versed in what’s available when and be able to ask this question when helping with a phone reservation. And, of course, your online booking engine can make the upsell process a no-brainer by sharing options with every guest, curated for their stay.

woman on a phone typing on a laptop in an office

Before They Arrive, You Can Prepare for Changes with These Questions

As we know, things change. People book reservations with the best of intentions, but something may have come up since that time that could impact their stay. So, get ahead of the game by reaching out pre-arrival to confirm the following:

  • No really, what is your estimated arrival time? A wide range of things can impact what time guests arrive, so asking this question again within 3-5 days of arrival (or even the day of arrival for extra credit!) can help adjust your operations. It’s also a great time to let guests know to shoot you a text or give a call if this newly confirmed time will shift significantly.

    You can also share the option for self-check in or late arrival, if you offer those. Many guests actually appreciate this since it removes some of the pressure on them to get to you by a certain time.

  • Do they need anything else for their stay? This is another key chance to let guests know about your upsell items and services. If there are any that you keep on-hand and are easy to pull together on short notice, include them in your pre-arrival messages. Guests are often working with “new” travel money at this point (meaning they’ve already paid their room deposit, flights, etc.) and might be open to treating themselves to that bottle of wine and charcuterie board upon arrival.

    Another nice touch with this message is to offer dinner reservations for the night of arrival if it’s feasible or even late check-out when possible.

Going the extra mile before they arrive is going to leave an excellent impression on your guests and get them even more excited about staying with you. It also lets them know you’re open to communication and will take great care of them once they’re on site.

man sitting on a couch looking at a cell phone smiling with text to the side reading set the stage for a stellar stay by letting guests know early on that you're open to hearing from them at any point

The Best Questions to Ask During the Check-in Process

When your customers are beginning their stay, you can ask them a couple quick questions during check-in to learn more about their first impressions. The best questions to ask during check-in include:

  • How did you hear about our property? By learning more about where your guests learned about your business and what motivated them to book a room, you can create more targeted marketing plans for the future.

    For example, if you hear a lot of guests saying they heard from a friend, you could consider starting a referral program to increase the chances of more referrals in the future.

  • Are you celebrating a special occasion during your stay? This is an opportunity to learn more about your guests and personalize their stay. If a guest is celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other milestone, you can make an effort to commemorate the occasion by leaving a bouquet of flowers, a tray of local truffles or even just a handwritten note in her or his room.

    Make sure you note any of these types of details in your guest files so they’re available to your team in the event of future stays or promotions you want to run. For example, you may email all of your guests the month before their anniversary with a special deal to celebrate with another stay.

Generating Feedback During Your Guests' Stay

It is important to stay connected to your guests throughout the duration of their stay. You may have the opportunity to chat with guests in person, but consider offering text messaging as well. Many of your guests probably have their phones on them at all times and it can be an easy unobtrusive way to ask how they’re doing proactively. It’s also a nice way to allow guests to contact you if they need to at any point.

Some questions that you and your staff can ask during this time include:

  • How is your room? This question provides a chance to offer real-time customer service. If there is anything that the guest is not satisfied with or can’t find, you can quickly address it and keep things on a positive note.

    This one can be especially valuable for businesses that don’t escort guests to their rooms or if you have more unique lodging. Rather than leaving them wondering where the iron is or moving the furniture to find an outlet, resulting in a disgruntled Tripadvisor review, confirm that they’ve got everything they need for a great stay.

  • Have you been enjoying your meals during your stay?This is a simple question that can be asked at any point to give you vital insight into the guest experience at your hotel, especially if dining is a significant part of your business.

a woman and a man standing at a hotel front desk; he is appearing to be assisting her
  • Do you need any local recommendations? Whether they’re looking for the best brewery tour, a luxury spa day, or even just need to find the nearest drug store, this question can make sure you’re sharing high-quality options, rather than having them end up at a tourist trap.

    People love to feel like locals, so giving away your personal favorites can go a long way to making guests feel special. Plus they’ll be excited to share their experience with you when they return (and mention it in their Tripadvisor review!)

The Top Survey Questions for Hotel Guests At Check Out

The experience doesn't end when your guests turn in their keys. You should make an effort to survey your guests during check out or shortly after to get feedback about their stay. In a post-stay survey, you could consider asking these questions:

  • What was the best part of your stay? Asking this question initially reminds your guests to focus on the positives, and it gives you an idea of your strengths. Responses you receive can be great for marketing campaigns. It’s always smart to use the same words your guests use so future potential guests can relate.

  • Was there anything that could have made your stay even better? Rather than asking if they were unhappy with anything, put a more positive spin on it. This question encourages your guests to be honest with you. When you listen intently and show you are open to feedback, you can actively work to improve the experience for all current and future guests. You may even get some great new ideas!

    This is also a perfect question to ask before asking for a review on a public site. You’ll have the chance to address anything that was less than stellar and even avoid directly asking for a review if you want.

  • How was your experience with our hotel staff? This is another question that allows you to gain insight into the overall guest experience, and the impact that your staff has on your hotel image. Be sure to compile feedback from this question and use it to celebrate what’s working well and inform your team on where you could use some training or guidance.

  • Would you recommend our hotel to your friends or family? This is perhaps the most important question you can ask, as it's the best way to gauge guest loyalty. Hotel guests will only recommend a property that they truly loved to those that they care about the most.

a woman sitting at a table with an ipad with text below that reads Create a simple post-stay email asking for feedback and a review and then have it send automatically right from your property management software!

If you can’t ask these questions directly, we suggest sending your post-stay survey via email and text message if possible. You can test the timing of these to see what yields the best results for your business, but generally the day of or day after check-out seems to work really well. Most property management systems allow you to send these messages automatically, so once you’ve written your message template, you can trust your guests are receiving them. Super simple!

Another thing to consider post-stay is asking guests for a review on your favorite site - we recommend Tripadvisor and Google in most cases. The value of a great public review can be priceless! We’ve got an entire article all about how to encourage guests to leave reviews, so take a look and figure out what will work best for you.

a man sitting at a table with a laptop writing on a notepad with text to the side that reads Make note of the simple checklist we've included here and get started formalizing how you solicit guest feedback!

What’s Next?

Here’s a quick checklist you can use to start formalizing how you solicit guest feedback:

  1. Think about the key areas you’d like to make sure you’re regularly receiving feedback on.
  2. Make a list of questions, starting with the suggestions we’ve provided, that can help you accomplish this.
  3. Bucket your questions into the key parts of the guest journey: reservation, pre-arrival, check-in, during the stay, check-out, post-departure.
  4. Consider the methods you have available to you now and what you could implement for communicating with your guests (in-person, email, text, in-room cards, snail mail surveys, etc.) and decide which method(s) will work best for each stage or type of question.
  5. Train your staff. Make sure your team is well aware of your goals, so they can play a beneficial role in reaching them. Give them suggested questions to have on hand and ways to handle the variety of potential responses. Empower them to ask for feedback and manage it professionally.
  6. Implement! Using a property management system like ThinkReservations can make a lot of this process automated and seamless. Learn more here or reach out to us for a demo today!

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

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