What Your Guests Are Saying about F&B after Reopening
Waking up to a generous breakfast buffet or dining at a variety of available restaurants is one of the best parts of going on vacation. Among the most impactful review categories that affect the overall reputation of a hotel or restaurant is the food and beverage one. Guests place great emphasis on their culinary preferences, especially during travels when “eating out” is something that happens regularly, as opposed to being an occasional treat when at home.
It’s only natural that the topic of food and beverage is currently one of the most-discussed ones in the hospitality industry. Especially food options at the hotel and cocktails at the swimming pool. Many guests are not particularly happy about the changes that hotels are making, even if it is for their own health and safety.
In fact, we did a quick dive into our review database to see exactly what hotel guests are saying about the food and beverages at their hotels of choice. We wanted to share the most relevant reviews, in order to shed some light on how your guests are perceiving this crucial part of their hotel experience and determine what you can do to meet their needs, in a safe and effective way.
Here’s what your guests are saying about food and drinks at hotels:
“Not told about the restaurant and bar not being open when booking. Pointless as we only stayed as we had a food and beverage voucher to use and couldn’t use it. A Friday afternoon and no drinks/cocktails while observing the ocean. Pretty poor form. No room service even.”
“Covid safe policies were evident and were in practice which is good to know in these troubling times. The evening meal in the restaurant, although nice once we had it, had to be sent back. After a recommendation for a medium-rare steak from the waiter (although I like my steak rare), it actually came well done and had to be sent back. You expect the most expensive thing on the menu to be cooked perfectly. The waiter, although nice, tried to upsell the wine by 300% which really isn't appropriate. The hotel bar was nice but although it was advertised as open 10am until late, after our dinner at 9.15pm we fancied a cocktail or two before bed, but were told the bar was closing - very disappointing.”
“Booked and were only told on arrival that the restaurant and bar were closed. We could not get any food or drinks at the so-called "resort" and had to go off-site for everything. Checked on the website and only if you drilled down could you find info that the bar and restaurant MIGHT be closed. We had a noisy family placed directly next to us in a nearly empty part of the resort for the first night which really capped off the experience. Also received a begrudging late check out which could only be confirmed on the morning we were due to leave. WE WILL NOT BE BACK!”
“Deeply disappointed to have paid full price to arrive and find that there was no room service and both restaurants closed due to COVID. This resort is out of town - there is no food around.”
“The food was very bad, I had a bad night of sleep because of the bed quality. Breakfast has very few choices. I would not recommend the restaurant of the hotel to anyone. Please try to improve your services.”
Overall, these guest reviews have a pretty negative connotation and impact on the online reputation of the respective hotels. The good news is, with the right tools and strategies, you can make sure that your hotel doesn’t get the same negative reviews and that you make smart decisions to cater the food and beverages to the needs of your guests.
At TrustYou, we are strong believers in the power to communicate openly and honestly, especially during these (still) uncertain times. Here are a few ideas on how to leverage hotel-guest communication in order to prevent negative reviews concerning the food and beverages category and improve the overall guest experience:
Set the right expectations from the start
By communicating with your guests from the very moment they book a stay, you open the communication lines and ensure that you provide all the valuable information they require. Letting them know, for example, that your restaurant area is currently limited or that you offer room service helps set the right expectations from the start and avoid unpleasant surprises.
Many offerings are still limited by the COVID safety measures and the social distancing rules. However, when it comes to something as important as the food and beverages, it’s important to offer alternatives. If your restaurant is closed or works on a reservation-only policy, make sure to communicate that with your guests. Make them understand that you are putting their safety first, but also ensuring that they have alternative options and that their needs are going to be met.
Manage and act upon requests
On-site communication opens up a great opportunity, for both travelers and hoteliers. Guests can ask questions, express concerns, or provide feedback, in an efficient, contactless and safe manner, while the staff can ensure that any issues that arise are solved on the spot and the feedback received is acted upon. When it comes to food and beverage, this step of the communication cycle is extremely important, as we are not talking about something as trivial as a pillow or a towel; this is a real need that needs to be addressed in a timely manner in order to ensure guest satisfaction.
Show that you genuinely care
When you reach out to your guest throughout their entire journey, it shows that you care about their experience and wellbeing. Shortcomings are sometimes inevitable, like it is now the case in many areas, due to the COVID safety measures. However, more times than not, it really is the thought that matters and when you show genuine care and involvement, your guests will get a more positive impression. Make sure to make yourself available through digital, contactless means and through a large number of popular messaging apps and encourage your guests to reach out with any questions or concerns.