The Right Hotel Guest Key to Reputation
What if the quality of your hotel guest is more important than the quantity? Practical, maybe not; true, probably so.
Reputation isn’t truth; it’s a set of beliefs or opinions. Reputation is simply an interpretation of reality, how one person sees an experience through his or her particular lens. I see a grungy old pick-up truck, and you see a valuable vintage Ford that could use a little work.
It seems like there are a lot of things you can do to influence beliefs about your property… fix the hot water issue, improve front desk service, work on the landscaping. Yes, these are critical. But from a big picture perspective, the best way to influence beliefs—and therefore bookings and reputation (see below)—is to ensure you’re attracting the right guest. That is, the guest whose lens is already attuned to what you have to offer. The beliefs they come away with will get recycled over and over. Notice how reputation ends up on both ends of the cycle below.
Reputation (expectations/beliefs about your hotel) ---> Reality of the stay (which is really the stay as seen through guest’s lens) ---> Reputation (did reality meet guest’s expectations of what your hotel would offer?)
If your guests’ expectations aren’t in line with the reality of your property, you can hire all the plumbers in the world to fix the leaks, and you’ll still have a reputation problem.
My point is this. If you want to build a reputation, attract the right market. So often the goal just becomes putting heads in beds. Of course, it’s the bottom line. But the real bottom line is that if you’re not attracting the right guest for your hotel, your bottom line will suffer even more from the plague of poor reputation that follows.
You’re better served to find your market, make your on-site choices based on that market, brand yourself for that market, offer the reality your guests are looking for, and develop a positive reputation as a result. If you can’t fill your rooms with the kind of guests your property is designed to attract, then perhaps it’s time to take stock.