by Andrew Morgan, QTHB
02nd July, 2020
Whatever makes you happy
What do people seeking and staying in accommodation want?
How can accommodation providers give that potential guest what they want and need, satisfying all requirements? Answering these questions forms the foundation for winning any new or existing business. Gaining the booking and then keeping the repeat booking over a long period of time builds a strong business.
Every potential guest that looks at a motel on their website, a booking site, a highway sign, makes a phone call to enquire, etc., has their own individual demands and preferences for their stay. Focusing on those things that satisfy the individual in order to have them make the booking, return next time they are coming to town, recommend the motel to everyone they know, and write a great online review, is a targeted approach to an overall good business practice.
Not everything needs to be perfect but any issues a guest has should be dealt with to secure a positive outcome and eliminate legitimate grievances. We do not live in a perfect world and some people will never be satisfied, no matter how much we try to keep them happy… hence the word ‘legitimate’.
There is a lot involved trying to satisfy every single customer. Whether it be working out exactly what is most important to that individual or what is going to keep them happy, through to keeping the larger guest base satisfied. What is it that can be done to satisfy as many guests as possible as well as each individual need? Some guests need constant attention; some are high maintenance; others need no effort at all and you would barely know they stayed at the property.
In no particular order, here are a few items that guests may see as their most important matters:
Value for money – No-one likes feeling as though they were ‘ripped off’. If one feels as though they got good value for their hard-earned dollar, that will produce a smile and a repeat guest.
Cleanliness – Always paramount to any guest’s minimum accommodation requirements. No matter what else happens, a unit that has not been cleaned fully and correctly will have a devastating and most likely irreparable issue for a guest. In that case expect an unpleasant online review and to never see that guest again.
Good night sleep – This covers a range of matters; however, the overall experience of a good night’s sleep is paramount to a guest no matter what the reason for travel - work, family, holiday, etc. Everyone wants a good night sleep to be able to function at their best the next day. Coming away sleep deprived and having to work a full day thereafter does not leave a positive feeling about the experience. That leads on to the next point.
Positive experience – All these matters put together add up to the experience. Was it positive or negative? This will determine whether a quest returns or not.
Bed comfort – Was the bedding of a good standard or did it sag in the middle? Often one of the first impressions when opening the door of a motel room is the look of the bed. If it sits high and looks solid, that is ideal. If it sits low and/or sags in the middle, oh dear! The quality of the bedding is always going to be a high priority for a guest. Without this, all other dot points mentioned are irrelevant and they will never return.
Reception greeting – How one is greeted at reception when they first enter the property is a second first impression, as strange as that sounds. Good or bad first impressions always last.
Ease of check in and check out – How quickly and easily this process is handled, especially when one is tired and wanting a shower, or busy to get to the first meeting of the day or get on the road to get going.
Friendliness – How the guest is treated by the owner/manager/employees of the motel reflects on the entire business. Feeling welcome is important to everyone no matter what the circumstances or environment. Some will want to be loved upon arrival, others just want to get to their unit.
Noise level – Sometimes noise from the next unit, outside the unit or external noise from the road or street is going to create an unavoidable level of noise. Is that unavoidable noise at an acceptable or reasonable level? Each guest’s level of tolerance will be different but trying to keep that noise to an absolute minimum is the best one can expect. Sound dampening methods and products work well but vehicles screeching tyres or kids running back and forth along a veranda are going to be too much for whatever one implements.
Room servicing – Often open to the expectations of the individual guest: some people expect servicing each day, others expect less. The length of stay will play a role here also.
Facilities – Again, what is important to one guest will not be important to another. Restaurant and bar, conference facilities, breakfasts, meals, swimming pool and BBQ facilities, wifi, outdoor seating, pay tv and laundry facilities. Individual preferences will dictate different levels of importance.
Carparking (uncovered, undercover or on-street) – This is very important to some guests. Work vehicles may need to be parked off the street. Other travellers do not wish their cars to be uncovered, even for one night.
The aim is always for every guest to leave happy with their stay. The enjoyment one gets from this makes for a great sense of pride and real job satisfaction.