Guest Satisfaction vs. Revenue – What’s The Healthy Option in Times of Crisis?
As much as we’d like to forget the-year-that-shall-not-be-named, its severe consequences on the hospitality industry need to be addressed. While the light at the end of the tunnel is still blurry, 2021 is the year of hope and slow reopenings. It’s only natural that hoteliers from around the world are in a haste to make up for the financial loss - at the end of the day, revenue is the ultimate goal that keeps the wheels turning. However, in the rush towards quick ROI, another key factor is in danger of falling off the table: guest satisfaction - what of it?
We have found, over the years, that a great guest experience falls hand in hand with the overall success of a hotel business - in fact, guest satisfaction leads to revenue, although the link is not direct or instantaneous; it’s more of a circle that starts with a great experience, which builds trust and a positive online reputation, which drives more bookings and, implicitly, revenue.
The process does, indeed, take time and constant efforts. However, it’s during difficult times that we need to remember that hard work pays off and the right path is not always the easiest one. In the race towards recovery, hoteliers need to focus on the long-term solution instead of the quick fix.
Why ensuring guest satisfaction is the healthiest thing you can do for your business
Hotels are reopening and bookings start to come through once more. Business has been slow, and you are in a hurry to patch up the financial gap left after 2020. Once the bookings are ensured, you consider the matter closed - guests will stay at your hotel and regardless of their experience, your revenue will spark. You don’t put any extra effort into finding out what your guests need and expect from their stay and you don’t go the extra mile, investing in what matters most right now: safety measures, stringent cleanliness standards, constant and contactless communication.
If you lose sight of providing a safe and satisfactory experience for your guests, if you don’t make any efforts to reassure them of your interest in their wellbeing, and if you fail to nurture trust along the way - you might have won a booking or a few; yes, a quick increase in the revenue and an even quicker fix to the long and tedious recovery process.
Let’s take a look at the consequences of this strategy and the long-term outcome: your guests have a miserable experience; they complain but no one has the time to head them out, let alone to solve their issues. They leave the hotel and let out their frustrations online, through reviews - on your hotel website, on Google, on any review portal available. In a few days or weeks or even months, another traveler is looking to make a booking online and stumbles across your hotel listing. They look at the most recent reviews in order to assess the current, accurate situation of your hotel and decide if it is fit for their needs; but the negative review left by your previous guests instantly discourages them and you end up losing a booking that you might have otherwise won. That is one case, one booking, but in the long-run, we could be talking about hundreds.
It’s easy to understand now just how important guest satisfaction is in the grand scheme of things, and possibly now more than ever. While ROI is the ultimate goal, it should be allowed to come as a natural consequence of a great guest experience instead of seeing it as a quick fix. In times like these, the best, most effective, and healthy thing that any hotelier can do is to take the time to listen to their guests, to turn their insights into actions, and adjust their hotel offerings accordingly, in order to build and nurture a safe and positive guest experience. Guest satisfaction is the only true, long-term solution that supports the recovery of the hospitality industry and open and honest feedback stands at its core.