How social media impacts guest expectation and eventually, hotel guest satisfaction
If your end goal is hotel guest satisfaction, then your journey begins with their expectations. When booking a hotel room, guests have expectations that are determined by various factors such as the images of your property that are on the web, reviews that other guests have left you, the descriptions you have, etc. All you have to do is manage, and eventually exceed these expectations and guest satisfaction is guaranteed. And we are here to tell you how social media plays a pivotal role in determining and managing expectations as well as increasing hotel guest satisfaction.
In this blog, we will try and explore the different ways in which you can handle guest satisfaction with social media. More specifically, we will do this by examining your role in expectation management and how social media can help you with it, such that satisfaction is a given. You will also find this article helpful if you are looking to understand how to use social media to improve hotel guest experience. So, let’s get right into it.
Consider this scenario- A guest makes a booking at your hotel. Every traveler looks for a hotel that suits his requirement- be it a business traveler or a leisure one. With this requirement, there is an innate expectation for the hotel to have x, y and z amenities. These are specific and perhaps, even subjective. But there are also those that are universal and more objective. Now, how well does your hotel address these expectations throughout their stay? This can go three ways:
1. You don’t meet their expectations:
When you fall short of meeting the expectations set by guests, you make yourself vulnerable to some serious online reputation damage. Dissatisfied guests, today, are not going to accept their experience and make peace with it. And honestly, there is no excuse for bad service in the hospitality industry!
Consider yourself lucky if your dissatisfied guest chooses not to take their disappointment online. Most of them do, these days. And when you have irate guests narrating their experience on a review site, you need to step up and claim ownership of it. Make sure you have a team or a resource who is dedicated to responding to review sites. Preferably someone who is aware of social media strategies for hotels.
When dealing with a dissatisfied customer, apologize to the guest publicly for the experience they’ve had and assure them that you will fix the issue. If it is a tactical issue, fix it and have them know that you have fixed it. If it is a strategic issue, give them the assurance that it will be taken care of by a certain time period, make sure you stick to your word and when done, reach out to them conveying that you’ve worked on it.
This has to be in practice even if it wasn’t about cleaning up your image on social networking sites. However, having a good reputation on such sites is powerful because you address the irate customer in the presence of hundreds and thousands of others too, who could potentially be impressed with your approach! It is a great Hotel Social Media marketing tip.
2. You meet their expectations:
Moving on to the next scenario the guest is neither frustrated with you, not is there any exhilaration. They had some expectations and you met them. No less, no more. By merely meeting guest expectations, you create a passive customer. Your guest’s loyalty may or may not be committed to your hotel. This is also not your ideal scenario because there’s a higher chance of an angry customer becoming a repeat customer (if you close the loop with them and win them back just right!) than to make a passive one come back to you.
I guess it boils down to the cliché that any publicity is good publicity! Your happiest guests and your most dissatisfied guests are the ones who will talk about you on social media. They are the ones who, for very different reasons, will call out your name and make sure people are aware of what you offer. You can incentivize both of them to come back to you and lure them into giving you yet another review, each time. But with passives, there is no such advantage.
Social media, in hospitality, does not encourage mediocrity. Which is why you need to strive to be one step ahead of guest expectations so that they are pleasantly surprised by you and feel inspired to leave you that awesome review. Be it TripAdvisor, Instagram or even Facebook- a great review and a mention can never do you wrong!
3. You exceed their expectation:
This is it. This is what every hotelier must strive for because be it the retail, e-commerce or hospitality industry, reviews are dictating people’s buying decisions more and more. Hotel guest satisfaction is becoming an important parameter for hotels to track and improve. This makes it paramount that hotels implement a culture of exceeding guest expectations which will invariably bring them success on social media.
These are no longer just social media strategy tips for hotels but guidelines on which future-facing hotels are running on. Reputation management, guest satisfaction, guest experience management are all gaining more and more validity and acceptance the world over, because hoteliers witness business benefits from it all. There is a ton of studies conducted on how customer experience management can beget a world of opportunities and benefits for businesses. In this guest experience revolution, the greatest weapon for hoteliers is social media.
How to use social media to improve guest experience is a rather vast concept. But I hope that this article has given you some insights into how by managing guest expectations better, you can inspire guests to leave you reviews and thereby build a fortress of amazing reviews for yourself!