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Why is pre-arrival communication important for hotels?
As a hotelier, it is important to prioritise pre-arrival communication with your guests. This is the time when you can set the tone for their entire stay, ensuring that they feel welcome and valued from the moment they book with you.
Pre-arrival communication can also help you to anticipate and address any concerns or issues your guests may have, making their stay as smooth and enjoyable as possible. On the other hand, by providing helpful information, you can create a positive first impression and set the stage for a memorable experience. Did you know that more than 85% of customers want to experience proactive communication and contact from a business? This statistic highlights just how important it is to engage with your guests before they even arrive at your hotel.
Furthermore, pre-arrival communication can also play a key role when building up your guest loyalty. According to research, 86% of customers say that good customer service turns one-time clients into long-term brand champions. This means that by communicating with your guests in the right way before they arrive at your hotel, you have the potential to turn them into loyal customers who will return time and time again.
What channels of communication can you use in your pre-arrival communication?
With so many channels of communication available, it can be challenging to determine which ones to use. The key to successful pre-arrival communication is to be multi-channel. Some guests will read emails, while others prefer instant messaging apps like WhatsApp. By offering a variety of communication channels, you give your guests the flexibility to choose the method that best suits them. This not only makes them feel more comfortable but also shows that you are accommodating and willing to meet their needs.
9 Tips to structure your pre-arrival communication with your guests
1. Start Early: As a hotelier:
It's important to send your pre-arrival communication at least a week ahead of the guest's arrival date. This gives your guests enough time to prepare for their stay and make any necessary adjustments to their itinerary. One common mistake is sending all messages within one or two days before their stay. But that only annoys your guests as you are overcharging them with information. If you want to communicate several times with them, make sure to have a few days in between every message. For example, you can approach your guests with information about their room, and five days later, send another message reminding them to bring their swimwear to “enjoy a dip in our infinity pool or relax in our jacuzzi.”
2. Be Personal:
Addressing your guests by their name is a simple way to show them that you care about their experience. But always go beyond that and personalise their communication based on their preferences. From your guest data you can keep track of the times they have visited your hotel and you can mention that in your communications. If you want to get more ideas on how to structure your communications across the entire guest journey, take a look at our guide: How to personalise the guest journey for the 2023 guests
3. Provide Useful Information:
Share information about local attractions, events, and transportation to help your guests plan their stay. Be their virtual guide and recommend things to do and see during their stay as a local. This is a great way to showcase your knowledge of the area and build trust with your guests. At the same time, you help your guests plan their stay and make the most of their time in the area. For example, regarding directions, you can send them a message like this one: “Hi [Guest], if you are coming from the nearby airport you can take the train to [nearby station] and walk 5 minutes to get to our hotel.”
4. Offer Upgrades & Upsell:
Give your guests the opportunity to upgrade their rooms or add additional services to their reservations. This not only provides them with a more personalised experience, but it also helps increase your revenue. Simple things like asking if they would like to get a suite on a higher floor with a balcony that oversees the city can go a long way. Pre-arrival communication is a great chance to upsell your services to your guests. The most important upselling tip you must remember is to always stick to the services that are relevant to them. You can look into your guest data to find their booking details and see what services make more sense to offer that specific guest. For example, a couple’s massage if a couple has booked the room, or if it's a group tell them about the dinner buffet.
5. Make Check-In Easy:
Share check-in instructions and offer early check-in or luggage storage services to make the guest's arrival as smooth as possible. This helps set the tone for their stay and shows that you're willing to go above and beyond to provide excellent service. Free up the hassle of checking in at their point of arrival, instead, ask them to utilise digital check-in to reduce their wait time when they arrive, this can also free hotel staff to focus on other valuable tasks and increase work efficiency. Read more here on how you can implement automation in hotels to create a seamless guest experience.
6. Highlight Hotel Services:
Remind guests about the hotel amenities included in their reservation, such as the pool or gym. This is a great way to promote your hotel and encourage guests to take advantage of the services you offer. Exceed your guests’ expectations by telling them what will they be getting in their room price, to ensure they are getting value for money. Do not exaggerate when you tell them about the services included, so when they arrive you live up to their expected image.
7. Local Events: Tell your guests about the local events that are happening around or at the hotel weekly, for instance, a concert happening in a nearby venue or a free yoga class at the hotel. Engage with your upcoming guests on an everyday basis to keep them interested in their stay by letting them know of the events and activities happening every day in the area of their stay.
8. Addressing special requests: If a guest has specific requests, such as a room with a certain view or a special diet, pre-arrival communication can help you address these needs before they arrive, ensuring that they have a comfortable and enjoyable stay.
9. Anticipating concerns: If there are any potential issues that could impact your guests' stay, such as construction nearby or a busy holiday weekend, pre-arrival communication can help you proactively address these concerns and minimise any disruptions.
Pre-arrival communication is a crucial component of providing exceptional customer service in the hotel industry. By taking the time to engage with your guests before they arrive, you can create a positive first impression and ensure that their stay is as enjoyable as possible. On the other hand, by providing useful information, offering upgrades and additional services, and highlighting your hotel amenities, you can exceed your guests' expectations and increase revenue for your business.
Use these tips to structure your pre-arrival communication in a way that will help you stand out from other hotels in the market. Remember, you don’t need to use all the tips for the same guests as you might overload them with information. The main idea is that you identify the touchpoints that deliver value to your guests and use them. By taking these steps, you can set the tone for a positive guest experience and establish a strong relationship with your guests that can lead to repeat business and positive reviews.
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