We recognise good communication when we experience it, but what are the elements which make for success in talking with others? Number one is clarity - the exchanging of ideas and information in a way which minimises misunderstanding. Timing is also key because the message has to be delivered when it is most appropriate. We’ll look at clarity, timing, and other elements of effective communication shortly.
But first, why is hotel communication so important?
Why hotel communication is important
Hoteliers have to tell the world about their offering. They are in a crowded and competitive market and it’s vital that the website is attractive, and postings to OTA platforms are well done. But communication is a two way street, so it’s not just about hotels reaching out to the market, it’s also about being receptive to what the market is saying back. In particular that means what guests are saying.
The hotel industry is one of the most people-oriented sectors there is, so communication plays a crucial role in promoting excellent guest experiences, engagement, and ultimate guest satisfaction.
Hotels which promote clear communication strategies will prosper.
Hotel communication strategies
1. Proactive communication style
Proactivity is key to all good communication in a hotel. Don’t wait to be ‘on the back foot’ so that you are reacting to a situation. It’s always harder to defend a position than to create positive forward movement, or as the old saying goes, ‘Work smarter, not harder.’ It’s much easier to start a dialogue and control the narrative than to merely respond to events. Smart working is a whole lot easier than the opposite, so be smart in every aspect of your communication. Always check: ‘Is this the smartest way of communicating?’ That includes deploying technologies to make communication with guests more seamless.
2. Educate your staff
Education plays a huge part in working smarter, not harder. Hotel staff have to be up to speed with the need to communicate clearly and in a timely way. It can’t be left to managers or front office staff to be the only people interacting positively with guests. Every hotel employee must be educated in how to help guests fully enjoy their stay, with good guest communication at every touchpoint. This can be facilitated through apps integrated into the hotel’s Property Management System.
3. Empathise with your guests
Empathy is an essential - that’s the connection with guests which allows us to ‘walk in their shoes’. Guests can arrive tired and cranky from their journey, but staff have to understand that and respond appropriately. Get into the mindset of seeing things from the guest’s point of view, and ensure that this awareness is shared by every member of staff.
4. Timely communication
Timeliness is always crucial in guest communication. It’s often about how a guest feels overall about their stay, rather than specific incidents, but congratulations or dissatisfaction need to be acknowledged at the time. If there’s a sense of dissatisfaction or irritation, then that can multiply so that even small problems become inflated. The opposite is true too: A guest who feels that they are seen and heard at the right time is well-disposed to the hotel.
Of course nothing should disturb the smooth flow of the guest journey, but we all know that guests can sometimes be demanding, without even necessarily knowing what they are asking for! So how to find out what your guests are thinking and feeling?
You ask them!
How SabeeApp can help with guest communication
Questionnaires and comment cards are a good way of getting guest feedback. Similarly, monitoring social media postings and OTA reviews reveals a lot about what people think about your hotel (and when guests do communicate in these ways, make sure you acknowledge and answer their comments). But these come after the stay, when it may already be too late to fix problems, or respond.
However there are now automatic ways of opening a dialogue with guests during their actual stay. With SabeeApp’s GuestAdvisor - part of the Smart Solutions bundle - guests can provide feedback through their device within thirty minutes of arrival. This provides invaluable opportunities to comment on the quality of your hospitality, enabling quick resolution of potential problems. Guests like the app because it allows them to express opinions privately. Hoteliers like the app because it provides real-time opportunities to fix issues, or do more of what’s going well.
SabeeApp Unified Inbox
SabeeApp’s Unified Inbox also enables automated emails to be sent from the PMS, informing guests of online check-in availability, online check-in still available, successful check-in, and a range of other personalised automated emails. That’s great communication, making for faster response times and smoother operation throughout the hotel. Airbnb reviews can also be harvested through the SabeeApp PMS, enabling personalised responses to be sent.
An exciting new SabeeApp offering will see the Bonomi automated guest communication package added to our PMS soon, allowing hotels to communicate with guests through social media and OTA platforms.
Keeping promises through great guest communication
For hoteliers, every promise made must be kept. There should be no ambiguity about anything offered by a hotel: ‘Smooth check in’ must be exactly that. ‘Delicious food’ has to be undeniably good. This means that hotel communication to guests should always be accurate and truthful. One of the greatest assets of any hotel is its reputation, which is built on trust.
Trust cannot be built if a guest is unhappy with their stay. It’s never a guest’s fault if they feel annoyed or disappointed, so acknowledging that is crucial, and it’s always the hotelier’s job to delight their guest. The link running through all of this is effective two-way communication:
- Clear communication tells guests what to expect and delivers on promises.
- Timely communication addresses both positive and negative issues, and automated systems provide instant feedback while the guest is still in the hotel.
- Proactive communication enhances the guest journey, allowing suggestions for activities, upselling, and future repeat business.
- Education in communication is of huge importance in a hotel so that all hotel staff learn how to interact successfully with guests.
- Communication is the bedrock that builds trust in a hotel’s reputation.
Effective communication in a hotel ensures guest satisfaction, delivers exceptional service, gathers guest feedback, resolves issues promptly, shares information, and maintains a great reputation.
By prioritising communication, memorable experiences are created that exceed guest expectations, and build long-term relationships.
For more information on GuestAdvisor, the upcoming Bonomi integration, and indeed every aspect of our SabeeApp PMS, please contact us for a free demo.