This post comes from our partner buuteeq.Buuteeq
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We aim to please, is every hotelier’s motto right?

In hospitality, the goal is to create a memorable experience for the guest ultimately converting customers into evangelists and return visitors. In order to do this, a hotelier has to know their guests and gather feedback to continue refining the experience.

So the question remains, how do we improve your guest’s experience without honest feedback?

We’ve all done the comment box.  It’s a box of extremes-either they hated it or loved it. You may see this phenomena often on Trip Advisor reviews.

But what about all those other guests that didn’t stay with you?  How can we get their feedback prior to booking with you? This sort of feedback from “potential guests” could greatly impact your property’s bottom line!

According to Google, there are 5 stages in the travelers experience.

Google’s Five Stages of Travel

1. Dreaming

2. Researching

3. Booking

(Potential guests can be found in the first 3 stages of travel.  83% of leisure travelers and 76% of business travels begin their travel plans online.) SourceThe Traveler’s Road to Decision, Google, July 2012.

4. Experiencing

5. Sharing

Here are 4 actionable areas to get you into the mind of your “potential guest” and solicit bottom-line improving feedback.

1. Where do visitors come from?

Knowing where your guests and potential guests are coming from can help you be more effective in marketing, capturing direct bookings, and pleasing the guests once they visit.

For example, The Garden Court Hotel in Palo Alto, Ca decided they were receiving enough web traffic to justify translating their website into simplified Chinese so they can win more bookings from that segment.  As a result they have increased direct bookings from that part of the world and are the ONLY hotel in their area offering their site in simplified Chinese!

2. How do people find you?

“I know half of my marketing isn’t working, I just don’t know which half.” William Lever (Founder of Lever Soaps which would become Unilever)

Ever wonder how the heck someone heard of your property?  Maybe they googled your hotel or saw a friend stayed with you on Trip Advisor?

In today’s world it’s possible to report on the effects of “word of mouse”  or in other words how people find, interact, and share your brand online.  As a result we canreally know what half of our advertising is working and which half needs to be ditched.

Knowing how people find you can help you optimize your marketing budget and invest more into campaigns that are performing well.

Consider advertising with your local tourism website, tripadvisor, luxury property site, daily deal, etc.  (On a side note- grab our 6 step guide to daily deals for your hotel)

 3. Can you offer something extra?

Once a potential guest finds you, what were they looking at? Let’s imagine someone walks into your front lobby.  The potential guest asks your front desk about your romantic rooms- at this point you’d have a chance to impress them with the ambiance of the hotel, the white glove service, and tell them about your romance packages.

But, unfortunately walk-ins are not always the norm.

The same holds true online, we have a chance to tell them about your hotel and why it’s unique or the best romantic option in the area.  In order to do this track how people find you online, which rooms they most view, or which promotions they click on.

As an example, the Maxwell Hotel realized many people were looking for a place to stay before their cruises left Seattle.  As an extra incentive they created a promotion page with information on booking a hotel room for your cruise trip to seattle.

Another great way to up-sell your potential guests is see which pages feed your booking engine the most.  Is it the luxury suite page or the romance package on your site that gets the most visitors to click on the book now button?

4. Are you making a great first impression?

If there is anything that counts in hospitality, it has to be first impressions.  A first impression helps set the stage for the guest’s expectations and assumptions of what your hotel can offer.

It’s amazing how little attention span website visitors have, 82% of potential customers will leave a site if it’s a bad experience. (Source: Blog:Website/Mobilize, November 2012)

By optimizing a potential guests first impression with your hotel brand across mobile, online, and social you are ensuring you have a fair shot at converting them into guests.  Don’t worry it doesn’t have to be so difficult or expensive to do this!

Buuteeq has found that guests consistently look for 3 things when browsing a hotel’s website.

  • Photos- Large, Stunning Photos of the property and surrounding
  • Rooms- How do they look, what are the amenities
  • Location- Where is the hotel located in proximity to points of interest

By offering up the right information you can improve your chances to give those potential guests a positive first impression and continue to consider your hotel.

You can measure the effectiveness of your first impressions with a metric called  “bounce rate”.  The bounce rate, shows us how many visitors visit your site and leave within seconds versus those that stay on and browse longer on your website.

To understand this metric, let’s imagine 1,000 potential guests visit your site this month.  You may be jumping for joy, but if your bounce rate is on par with the industry average, you’re missing out on 60-70% of those 1000 visitors.

Leaving you with an actual 300 potential guests that you had a shot to impress and capture their reservation.

If your bounce rate is lower than 60-70% this means you’re doing something right.  Ultimately the lower your bounce rate- the better the first impression you’re making and the larger the opportunity to fill your hotel with bookings.

Action Items:

By understanding where people are finding you, what they’re looking for, and optimizing your brand to be engaging you can improve your business’ bottom line.

It’s important to remember in today’s world we can track a lot of things, but few metrics actually help improve your business. In my opinion understanding these 4 metrics can actually improve your business’ bottom line.

  • What type of people find You
  • Where do people discover you
  • What are these visitors looking for
  • Are you capturing their interest effectively

Please share your experiences or questions using analytics to improve your business in the comments section below.

This content is created in partnership with our sponsor, buuteeq.