In the hospitality industry, guest communication plays a pivotal role in shaping the guest experience.
It influences guest booking decisions, sets expectations prior to arrival, and ensures guests feel welcome and well taken care of during their stay. In recent years, however, customer communications have changed dramatically. The number of communication channels has expanded, with companies implementing an average of 3.5 new channels as a result of the pandemic.
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More consumers are choosing to interact with businesses on digital channels over in-person or the telephone. And the speed of mobile communications has created higher expectations than ever before for real-time responses. Meanwhile, staffing shortages have left hotels struggling to uphold service standards.
How can accommodation operators overcome the challenges? Here we discuss how to avoid common communication mistakes, provide a snapshot of communication solutions available to hotels today, and share actionable tips for managing professional communications at every stage of the guest journey.
The importance of communication to the guest experience
The manner in which hotels communicate with travelers has far-reaching implications, influencing sentiment and behavior throughout the traveler’s journey, including:
- Impressions of the property and its staff
- Decisions whether or not to book a room
- Expectations upon arrival
- On-property purchase decisions
- Ratings and comments in post-stay surveys and reviews
- Decisions whether or not to return
Given what’s at stake, hotels must build a communication strategy that ensures a positive experience at every stage of the guest journey. This includes:
- Pre-stay communications such as confirmations and pre-arrival messaging.
- In-stay communications, such as information shared at check-in and throughout the stay.
- Post-stay communications, such as requests for feedback and promotional offers to come back.
The role of the front desk in guest communication
As the central hub of guest service and communication, the front desk plays a critical role in shaping guest sentiment and behavior. Traditionally, most on-property guest interactions have been handled in person or by telephone. Today, more communications and transactions are taking place on digital channels, from guest messaging via SMS, chat apps, and social media messaging to mobile check-in and contactless payments.