Guests for life

by Andrew Morgan - QTHB 6th of September, 2021

Guests for life
© GoodIdeas / Adobe Stock

When I hear the word goodwill, I think of two things, goodwill towards your fellow man and the goodwill component of a business.

Both are directly related to the other. Building the goodwill of a business creates a feeling of positivity for all involved. It involves building relationships that will benefit all in the future. It really comes down to the attitudes of people, how they conduct themselves in general and particularly on difficult days where things aren’t going quite to plan and one has to press on with a smile.

Building the goodwill of an accommodation business is not an overnight matter. There are short term benefits however long term is where the real benefit is derived. It takes time to build rapport with customers and work on getting them to return. Gaining new customer’s business and getting them through the front door is one thing. To keep them returning is the next. The competition is always keen to get that customer through their front door instead of yours.

Some of the benefits of building goodwill include:

  • Increasing the value of a business. An increase in the value of goodwill of a business has a direct correlation with the trading figures the business produces and this comes from the increase in new and returning customers
  • Personal satisfaction.  Money is not everything, and the benefits of looking after a customer and knowing they will return next time is priceless
  • Friendly faces coming and going makes for a happy environment for all concerned. If a guest checks out and leaves the premises with a smile on their face, they may just become a customer for life
  • More referrals from loyal customers. The best and most cost-effective form of advertising is a referral. If a friend tells you that the best place to stay in a town is the XYZ Motel. That’s probably where you will stay. It has been given the tick of approval, the ‘guarantee’ by a known and trusted source. No amount of advertising can buy that
  • A core clientele that returns regularly. If a motel has 21 units available on a Monday morning however seven have already been sold to repeat guests, that’s 33 percent occupancy right off the bat without lifting a finger. The balance 67 percent can come from online advertising, drive ins and anywhere else

Working smarter not harder is a concept that is relevant to the building of goodwill. Spending more money advertising and standing out front waiving a sign, has got to be a lot harder than really looking after someone throughout their stay and beyond. Experience is a great teacher of working harder not smarter. The longer you are in any business or industry the easier it gets. When you first start out, you’re knocking on every door, getting knock back after knock back. But over time you adapt and amend how things are done as you work on building relationships and goodwill and start to get more of these valuable referrals. This is working smarter. Learn what areas of the business such as customer service is best to focus one’s time on.

I’ll sum up with a real example that I think epitomises the concept of goodwill. Recently a friend of mine said that he stayed in a motel in a regional Queensland town. It had been referred to him by his sister who said she always stays at this motel because it is well located, presents nicely and she particularly likes the friendly owners who operate the business. My friend said he had finished his work for the day, drove back to the motel to freshen up before heading to a restaurant for dinner with colleagues. Once ready he walked to reception to ask a question and then planned to call a taxi to get a lift to the restaurant. He asked his question to the motel owner and in conversation they asked him where he was off to. He mentioned the restaurant and said he would call for a taxi and wait outside. With that the owner said, “put that phone away, I’ll give you a lift”. He rejected the offer on the basis that the owner was busy enough.  The motel owner refused to hear of it and gave him a lift directly to the restaurant. He was so grateful that the owner had taken the time and effort to do this just for him. I can comfortably say that they now have a customer for life. That one small gesture that took less than 20 minutes out of his day has given him a long-term repeat customer, and a very talkative friend of mine who is telling anyone he can to stay at this motel next time they are in town.

You cannot put a value on that goodwill. It is immeasurable!

 

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