Impact Publications : MiceBTN_61
MICEBTN - NovEMBEr 2015 • Page 59 For more articles and complimentary eBooks by Robyn Henderson, visit www. networkingtowin. com.au Here’s how to ensure guest loyalty without a lot of cost CaN you remember when internet or wifi access was a luxury and a chargeable item for the road war- rior? Remember when you could charge the earth for parking? Was that only a year or two ago? Hav- en’t times changed! Today free wifi is the norm and a given expectation by the road warriors. Low room service delivery charges and bigger room service choices, low parking rates (Grand Chancellor Hotels) and even in-house movies are as cheap as A$5.00 per film these days (Watermark Hotels). As an accommodation provider how are you supposed to make a profit when astute road warriors shops on-line for their accommodation and travel needs? Is loyalty lost forever? Well, the great news is, the answer is definitely no; loyal- ty can be earned and maintained today in the competitive road warrior world. And here are 3 main reasons why: 1. ) For the road warrior, the two most important words in the English language other than their own name are – “Wel- come Back”. Airlines use this phrase all the time when they see a silver, gold or platinum member board – regardless of whether their seat is in business or economy class. Hotel booking systems today are more efficient than they have ever been. And how easy is it for a hotel receptionist to welcome a guest with this phrase on check in? Regardless of whether they have booked the best room in the hotel or a hotel with an extremely cheap room rate, most road warriors would love to be sleeping at home. But don’t take it personally, the more wel- come they are made to feel, the more they enjoy your hotel experience and the more chance you have of creating a regular and loyal guest. Interestingly in my 20+ years as a road warrior, on check out, I have only been asked once or twice, would you like to make a booking for your next visit to XYZ? What a missed opportunity for gen- erating repeat business. Why not encour- age your guest to make a repeat booking and then you confirm via email that day. Stop missing simple opportunities to gain repeat business. 2.) Remember when there were turn down services? We are really going back a few years to the day when most 4-5 star hotels offered a turn-down service. From memory a housemaid would knock on the door between 5pm- 6.30pm to ask if you want- ed a turn down service or extra towels and they would turn down the quilt covers and leave a choc- olate on the pillow. Some 5 star hotels still offer this service, though it involves additional staff time. However if you want to add to the experience of staying at your hotel, why not put the chocolate/s on the pillowcase as part of the housekeeping duties? If you really want to enhance the experience, why not include a small bottle of water? If the wa- ter is not used and the seal unbroken, the small bottle can be recycled – so it only costs you something if it is used. 3.) Speaking of water – what would it cost to have a small fridge in the recep- tion area where you could offer travellers a complimentary bottle of water when they arrive at check in? This is such a treat particularly in warm climates on hot days after a long days travelling. Remem- ber – it’s all about the experience. In the same way, letting the guest order their choice of morning newspapers at their own cost is a bit of extra work for your staff but a joy and pleasure for the older road warriors who prefer to read hard copy rather than electronic newspapers. Road warriors love to network and share good news stories – so give them lots of great stories and experiences so they will spread the word about the little things that add to your hotel experience. Loyalty is not lost – it just gets forgotten from time to time. Whether you have 150 rooms or 500+ rooms, every empty room is costing you money every night. A busy road warrior may spend at least 14 days on the road per month and for six months of the year they could be staying in one of your hotels. How do you compete when everything is free? Simply by remembering that loyalty is gained through lots of mini, low cost experiences at your hotel with every guest. Many road warriors still prefer a hard copy newspaper to electronic devices. Housemaid turn down service and chocolates on the pillow are a rarity nowadays.