How to Find The Best Information to Personalize Guest StaysGeneral Posted by Alex Gaggioli Date August 30, 2017 LinkedinFacebookTwitter Subscribe to the BlogGet our new posts sent right to your email inbox. Introduction Guest personalization is the future of hospitality. It’s a trend we’ve been following for the past couple of years, and we’re constantly figuring out how to help property owners better connect with their guests. As traveler trends and preferences change, it’s important for properties to personalize trips for their guests, even in small ways. Personalizing trips and finding new ways to surprise your guests will define a new age of travel. Using existing tools, like emails, surveys, and guest reviews, your property can uncover new ways to enhance the guest experience. Asking the Right Questions Guest personalization starts with asking the right questions. Here are a few of our favorites that you can include in a pre-stay survey: What is the purpose of your trip? Have you been to this city before? Would you like recommendations on where to eat or what to do? Do you have any special needs or requests? Depending on how your property operates, it might be best to ask these questions for their stay, at check-in, or at some other moment at the beginning of a guest’s stay. Some properties we surveyed in our previous post preferred to talk to ask trip detail questions face-to-face in order to get more details and build a stronger relationship. Based on the information your guests provide, you can tailor their stay. Even small gestures like a card or a free drink can make a large impact. Listening to guests over time will help you determine proactive approaches to travelers’ needs. For example, if the majority of your guests are families on vacation, city guides focused on family-friendly accommodations could be a great way to build a stronger relationship with them. However, we suggest only asking questions if you plan on doing something with the information. If a guest takes the time to fill out a questionnaire and don’t see a return on it, it could end up actually hurting the relationship. Using Guest Information to Make More Money Knowledge is power and asking the right questions can help you identify areas for upsells. Your property likely offers extra amenities or different room types. Guests don’t always see every option during the booking process. Based on the type of guest or type of trip, you can thoughtfully interject upsells into your pre-arrival emails or at check-in. For example, if a family of four booked a double bed room when you offer a suite with a bit more space, you can let them know of the different options available. Depending on the price difference and length of stay, the added space might make for a more pleasant overall experience. You should approach upsells with care and ask the right questions can help you increase revenue and guest satisfaction. It’s a win-win. Guest information on returning travelers can also increase loyalty and present opportunities for upsells. Keeping track of special guest needs and preferences helps build a strong relationship with your property that keeps them coming back. For example, within Cloudbeds there is a notes section attached to each reservation. If a guest returns to the property, all you would have to do is search for previous reservations and check out your previously listed notes. Finding Insight From Guest Reviews Online reviews and reputation management is essential. Knowing what guests like, dislike, or feel mediocre about can help you create a better experience for future guests. An Easter egg to look for in reviews is any comment about expectations. Many guest complaints stem from expectation mismanagement. In many cases, if the guests had been properly informed of their booking, property, or other destination info, they would be much more prepared for their trip. A quick search on Tripadvisor landed us on a review for a luxury resort in San Diego. The review has 4 stars, which is acceptable in many cases, but we noticed one long, detailed review that was different than the rest. In this case, the majority of the post isn’t a complaint. Rather, they point out the ways that they felt misinformed. There’s a lot to learn from a review like that. This is why you should take extra care to update all room listings so that they accurately describe amenities and room location. There is a possibility that this would have been a 5-star review if the guest knew exactly what they were getting. Use reviews to find out what your guests liked, didn’t like, and what they wished they knew. Then with your new found knowledge, implement changes to your room listings, descriptions, and pre-stay communications. Colin Forker from Reload Partners told us that he uses pre-stay communications to “reset expectations.” Some OTAs rewrite your property description and do not display all of your room types. Other times, your guests will not click through all the pictures and misunderstand what they’re booking. In Colin’s experience, he’s found that including information about the property, like steep stairs, helps make for a better experience. It gives the guest more opportunity before their stay to book a proper room and proactively enhance guest satisfaction and mitigate bad reviews. Conclusion Collecting the right information before and after your guests’ stay can help your property discover new ways to personalize guest experiences. From providing insight into how accurate your room descriptions are to mismanaged expectations, you can learn a lot from soliciting feedback and reviewing the feedback your guests already provide. Knowing how other guests experienced your property will help you personalize travel for new guests. Let them know what they’re getting and meet them where they are.