There is nothing more valuable to a hotel then loyal return customers. Every time a guest walks through your door, the goal is to so thoroughly cater to their needs and delight the senses that they want to come back to your venue every time they’re in town. From business travelers who always want a room in your hotel to annual family vacations that launch from your comfortable rooms every time, these are customers who will be booking with you time and time again. By wowing your guests the first time, you have the opportunity to win a guest or even a large group of guests who will be booking with you time and time again. This is great for profits, great for your reputation, and wonderful for your guests who have found a home away from home.
Of course, guest loyalty doesn’t just appear out of thin air. You have to earn it. There are many ways that a hotel can impress, delight, and provide relaxation to guests to win their loyalty and the best method often depends on the guest themselves. Do they like to be waited on hand and foot or to have everything they need seem to magically appear? Are they here to adventure and shop or do they want to stay in and luxuriate?
Today we’re here to talk about how to win the loyalty of not just one guest, but the loyalty of profitable groups that travel annually and often book more than one room. Not to mention the large sized room service orders and diverse patronage of your hotel amenities. From traveling families to out of town sports teams, seeing these guests year after year is about providing for their needs better than other venues can accomplish with less focused effort.
The No-Hassle Parenting Package
Family vacations are a tradition almost every family in the country keeps, whether it’s traveling to Grandma’s for the holidays or taking a week-long trip to the beach in the summer. These traditions bring families back to the same spot every year and many families appreciate having a hotel that can serve as their home away from home. The best way to earn the loyalty of families as their annual vacation spot is to cater to the unique needs of parenting and to make the experience as smooth and effortless as possible. The more hassle you can take out of the family travel experience, the more parents will want to return for another easy vacation.
Pull-Out Beds and Adjoining Rooms
Start by understanding how many children there are and how the parents want to deal with sleeping arrangements. If they need a crib or a roll-out, make sure these things are already in the room when parents arrive to check in. For older children, you can help by making sure that parents and kids are in adjoining rooms and you’ve double-checked the lock function on the door between the rooms. Parents will also appreciate a third key for the kid’s room so they can get to their children if necessary.
Delight The Children with Extras
And, of course, nothing makes a good impression like little extras. If you know a family is coming with a toddler, put out a basket of coloring books, crayons, and toddler-friendly snacks. This can transform a cranky arrival or a too-early wakeup into a relaxing vacation experience. For older kids, consider seeding their room with a few cold sodas and whatever ‘cool’ perks you can dig up. If the kids love the hotel, they’ll beg their parents to come back next year.
School Trips and Youth Groups
Even larger groups also have a high potential for profitable repeat business. School groups and church youth group trips, for instance, often book up to twenty rooms at a time to accommodate all the kids traveling together but they also have a few special requirements that some extra effort to plan for. Primarily, traveling groups of preteens and teenagers need to be simultaneously entertained and kept separated so that no unauthorized fraternization occurs. Chaperones often try to do this with room placement and here is where you can earn their loyalty by making this job much easier.
Making Life Easy for Chaperones
Work with whoever is planning the trip to understand not just how many rooms they’d like on the same floor, but how many rooms for boys and how many rooms for girls. If the group is big enough, they might also want to separate rooms by age group. You can become the trip planner’s hero by carefully booking rooms in easy to manage groups. Chaperones may ask for girls on one side of the hall and boys on the other and your help will be greatly appreciated. Seal the deal by making sure that the room keys are properly labeled when the group arrives and consider offering a basket of door stoppers to help with before-bed open door socialization policies.
As a bonus for your hotel, properly planning for giggling groups of teens can allow you to room everyone else far from this profitable but rambunctious party.
Winning Sports Teams Through Their Stomachs
Competitive sports teams tend to travel quite a bit, often several hours or even days out of town in order to play other teams on other fields and the always have to find a place to stay while away from home. Not only are sports teams large enough to take up several rooms each time they stop by, they also tend to be hungry guests with a little bit of spending money to invest in room service and big dinners after a game. Becoming their go-to stop when the team is in your city is well worth your while.
The needs of sports teams differ from a school group because they are more likely to be all one gender per team, but the group might be almost any age. What sports teams are looking for in a hotel is efficient room grouping, quick access to the parking lot, and delicious hot food for post-game refueling and hot pre-game breakfasts. The best way to earn their loyalty is to wildly exceed their expectations in these areas.
Pre-Plan Team Meal Needs
Try to book your sports team customers in a block near the stairs or elevator to make coming and going easy and avoid last-minute room shuffles that break up this block. Then wow them with your consideration by offering to take a room service order ahead of time, to be delivered the night of their arrival. This way, your kitchens will be ready for the feast this hungry sports team will likely want after a day of travel. Finally, offer them the option of a hot hotel breakfast in the rooms if they have a morning game that’s too early for your dining room guest breakfast. Simply by efficiently housing and feeding the team, you can quickly become their new favorite stop in town.
Groups often have more trouble with travel logistics than people who travel alone or in pairs. The more you can do to custom-tailor a group’s guest experience to be as easy and enjoyable as possible, the more likely they will want to come back to your hotel every time they are in town. From tired parents who need easy child management to groups that need to be booked together, simply providing what is needed in an intuitive way is a great way to see these groups time and time again. For more ideas on how to improve customer loyalty and brand outreach, contact us today!