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While many hotels focus on the pre-stay and in-stay phases of the guest journey, the post-stay phase is often overlooked. Still, it presents powerful opportunities for building relationships and encouraging your guests to return.
According to statistics from Help Scout 75% of customers desire a consistent experience, regardless of how they engage with a company. In this sense, a consistent guest experience is key to building customer loyalty and repeat business. That means don’t forget about your guests as soon as they step out of your hotel.
The post-stay phase brings a great opportunity for hoteliers to improve guest satisfaction, build relationships, and encourage repeat business. By focusing on this phase, you can reap the rewards of happy, loyal guests.
Why is the post-stay phase important for hotels?
The guest's journey continues even after their stay is completed at your hotel. Research by Forbes has shown that it can cost up to 7 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, so one of the best things you can do is take this opportunity to turn your guests into loyal customers.
1. Guest loyalty and repeat business
Guest loyalty is essential for any hospitality business. Loyal guests can spread positive word-of-mouth which can be a powerful marketing tool. Not only do you want your guests to come back but also to talk wonders about your hotel to other people. Guests with a positive experience are more likely to recommend your business to their friends and family.
2. A more personalised guest experience
Effective post-stay communication helps foster a deeper connection with guests. When your guests receive thoughtful follow-up messages after their departure via their preferred communication channel, they feel valued and appreciated. This personal touch enhances their overall impression of your hotel and contributes to a positive guest experience.
3. Feedback Collection and Improvement
The post-stay phase presents an ideal opportunity to collect feedback from your guests. By sending surveys or conducting feedback sessions, your hotel can gain valuable insights into its strengths and areas for improvement.
By asking guests what they liked and didn't like about their stay, you can identify areas of improvement. This feedback can be used to make changes to your hotel's policies, procedures, and offerings.
In addition, actively asking for guest feedback and addressing it demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement and guest satisfaction.
4. Powerful Word of Mouth
An exceptional post-stay experience can turn guests into your brand advocates. The impression that guests have of your hotel at the end of their stay can have a big impact on their willingness to recommend the hotel to others.
If guests have a positive experience, they are more likely to recommend the hotel to their friends and family. Positive word-of-mouth marketing is a powerful driver of new bookings and increased brand reputation as people pay more attention to the opinion of people they trust than other marketing campaigns.
How to reach guests after they leave your hotel?
You can reach out to your guests in the post-stay phase, you can show them that you value their business and want them to have a positive experience. This can help to build relationships with guests and encourage them to return in the future.
To effectively engage guests in the post-stay phase, hotels can implement various strategies, for example:
1. Send a thank-you message via their preferred communication channel
A simple yet impactful gesture, sending a thank-you email or text message via WhatsApp shows gratitude to guests for choosing your hotel. Personalise the message by mentioning specific aspects of their stay to create a memorable touchpoint.
2. Send a survey to collect feedback
Feedback is invaluable for any hotel improvement. Send a post-stay survey to guests, asking about their experience during their stay, and gather suggestions for enhancement. Make sure that the survey is user-friendly and not very time-consuming.
You can be as specific as you want, but the longer you make the survey, the less responses you will get. In addition, instead of asking the same questions that every hotel asks, first consider what is most important for your brand. For example, if many people complain about breakfast, why don’t address that topic in a question? “Are you satisfied with the breakfast options? What would you add to the breakfast included in the reservation?”
3. Offer a loyalty program or discount for returning guests
Encourage repeat business by offering exclusive loyalty rewards or discounts to guests who book again. Loyalty programs build a sense of belonging and appreciation among guests, motivating them to choose your hotel for future stays.
Make sure to communicate it in the right way. Many hoteliers complain because guests don’t pay attention to the email they sent, but what if your specific guests don’t use email? Consider all those things when reaching out to them.
4. Invite guests to follow you on social media platforms
Extend your relationship beyond their stay by inviting guests to follow your hotel's social media channels. Engaging content, enticing visuals, and updates about upcoming promotions will keep your hotel top of mind.
A strong social media presence is great to attract guests from the new generations such as millennials and Gen Z. In addition, it helps your brand to come out as more professional.
5. Re-engage at 6 months or 12 months intervals
Keep in touch with guests periodically by reaching out at intervals of 6 or 12 months. Offer a special coupon or promotion to entice them to return, based on data from their previous stays and preferences.
This might sound complicated but the truth is, your hotel CRM can help you to get all the data and create a campaign in minutes.
6. Offer a deal for another location (if applicable)
If you have a hotel chain with multiple properties, consider offering guests a deal or discount for staying at another location within the brand. This approach can incentivise guests to explore new destinations while fostering loyalty to your hotel brand.
To learn more about how to turn your first-time guests into return guests, download our ebook.
7. Provide invoices for business travellers
Extend your target audience by catering to business travellers if your property is located in or close to the business centre of the city. You can issue a digital invoice to them after their stay that they can submit for reimbursement. This would encourage businesses to book a stay at your hotel in the future because of seamless processes.
Post-stay communication holds the key to building lasting guest relationships and encouraging repeat business. By taking the time to reach out to your guests after they leave your hotel, you can demonstrate your genuine interest in their experience and appreciation for choosing your property for their stay
Utilising the above-mentioned strategies such as thank-you emails or texts, surveys, loyalty programs, and social media engagement allows you to maintain a strong connection with guests throughout their journey.
Embrace the post-stay phase as an opportunity to leave a positive lasting impression and solidify your hotel as the top choice for their future travel needs.
With these small but impactful gestures, you can elevate guest experiences and cultivate a loyal base of satisfied customers.
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