guest arrival guest arrival experience hotel guest experience

Pre-arrival guest experience and why it makes a difference

Prabhash Bhatnagar
Prabhash Bhatnagar

Improve pre-arrival guest experience with our checklist

If you’re already a part of the hospitality industry, you’d know the importance of creating a seamless guest arrival experience. A hotel’s guest experience begins even before one arrives on your property. Personalization of a guest’s experience is no longer an option. You need to make the move now to be a step ahead of the competition.

So, what stops hotel owners from providing a fantastic pre-arrival guest experience? Often, it’s the costs involved in personalizing the services. High costs are a myth really! What most hoteliers may miss is the channelizing of some amount of thought towards enhancing guest experience. While it can take time, it’s certainly feasible for all. Still concerned about the increasing expenditures? We’ll tell you why it makes a difference and how you can do it on a budget. Let’s bust some myths!

How to Enhance the Guest Arrival Experience

You can begin with a direct engagement with guests and aim for a better experience to ensure repeat visits. The moment your hotel is booked, it’s time for you to make the most of this opportunity.

Keep your hotel’s information updated online

The guest cycle stage begins from the time of booking and actually commences when the guest begins exploring your property online. The guest may be browsing your website, landing up on your OTA pages or may contact you via email. Your information (text, images, videos, contact numbers, etc.) must be updated to allow a guest to contact the hotel through any mode if required. This stage is described as “pre-arrival” or “contact” and with a competitive landscape, you need to close the queries as soon as possible. When guests get all the desired information at their fingertips, it makes the booking process faster allowing you to use the power of technology to customize this further. Why is this important? You certainly wouldn’t want a guest gets confused on arrival to view amenities that are different from the ones described online.

Communicate and customize

Ask what the guests want and understand what you can add to your services. The most effective way is to communicate and build-up on pre-arrival guest experience.

Here’s how you can communicate when a booking is confirmed:

  1. 1) Send a confirmation email
  2. 2) Send a pre-arrival email 5 days prior to their stay (use links to value-added services or deals)
  3. 3) Pre-arrival questionnaire – know what they are seeking (extra pillows, coffee on arrival)
  4. 4) Facilitate online check-in

For eg.: A mobile concierge allows guests to request different types of services using their smartphone. Guests can easily look for information during their leisure time for recommended activities at the place of stay. You can leverage information around the guest preferences to build your marketing communication for the future.

Technology to know your guests before they arrive

Now, that sounds tricky, doesn’t it? Well, technology has made things so much simpler indeed! Let’s take a simple example. The information you have collected via your email or mobile concierge requests and online questionnaires gives you the chance to build a robust guest profile. Using technology such as a property management system that works on the cloud, guest information can be stored and used for future. Your staff can use this information (preferences, birthdays, food, activity choices, etc.) and automate emailers that saves so much time! E.g.: Wouldn’t it be simpler to offer a family for 4 access to the pool facility at a heavy discount instead of a dinner for 2 that holds no relevance?

You can drive conversations without the need to manually perform each action. Automation helps reduce burden on staff while keeping the engagement factor active.

Do you have a pre-arrival guest checklist in hand? Technology only makes it easier with cloud-based property management systems offering a pay-as-you-go model.

If you have more ideas to add on the pre-arrival guest experience, we’d like to know in the comments below.

This article is originally published on HospitalityNet.

Improve pre-arrival guest experience with our checklist