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Hospitality Marketing

Your Reality is How Your Guests See Things

Have you ever considered how your guests experience your establishment? In the hospitality industry, the reality of your business is not just what you, the owner, see about it. What matters is how your guests experience it. Their perceptions shape your business’s reality, defining your reputation and success. Let’s explore how understanding and improving guest perceptions can transform your business.

This article is aimed at professionals in the hospitality industry, specifically managers and decision-makers of hotels, restaurants, cafes, and venues.

What do I mean by the title?

I am a big proponent of asking the question: why? 

Why do we do things a certain way even if it was “always like that”? I often catch myself asking – how could I simplify?

I would like you to consider the following. Take a step back and observe your surroundings in your business – what is going on around you:

  • How is the staff dressed? 
  • How is the furniture arranged? 
  • What can we do to make the place more appealing?
  • How is the space organised? 
  • What are the things that matter?
  • How do your guests behave in the space when they enter/move around? 
  • And why is the bar counter cluttered with glasses and other stuff? Would this take up space where a guest wants to sit and enjoy a drink?

And so on…

Your mantra in this situation should be to find answers to questions like these:

How can I provide an even better experience for my guests?

Often, we don’t notice things because we’ve become too accustomed to them. It’s time to ask ourselves: 

  • Is what I am observing right now good as it is, or have I gotten used to it? 
  • Is there a way to simplify things to make them more efficient? 

You might be lucky enough to find the correct answers yourself. But getting feedback from others could also help find answers to these questions.

How do we get the proper feedback?

As mentioned before, our eyes usually get accustomed to a particular situation. However, you can discover new perspectives filled with possible changes. How? Find ways to ask other people, e.g., your guests, how they see things.

How to ask your guests?

Use an anonymous survey after dinner or in the hotel room where you would ask:

  • What would they change about your place? 
  • What influenced their experience positively or negatively?

You could ask them the old-fashioned way: a pen, a printed survey provided after dinner on the table. Or, place a short printed informational brochure inside the menu with a QR code pointing to an online survey. You can be creative and find ways to put this in front of your guests. (I gave more examples below)

People hate surveys – yes, I am aware.

But we could turn that around if we offer an incentive e.g. you could win a free dinner. Alternatively, make the feedback-gathering process simple and quick. Ensure they do not have to use their thinking too much. Look at the way Google gathers reviews. It is effortless and straightforward.

If we think outside the box, a creative idea could be setting up a tablet in a specific spot. This tablet is set up to collect data/reviews with a few clicks. As I mentioned, many people do not like surveys, but a more creative approach might change that. Feedback from even a few guests can provide you with valuable information.

Here are a few quick, hands-on or passive ways to gather such feedback from your guests:

- Use your email database, send out a newsletter, asking for input.

- Place posters with QR codes around your business.

- Place printed material with a QR code in the menu/menu holder.

- Print a survey, talk to people, and give it to them after the dining/staying experience.

- Print material with a QR code placed on the counter/reception desk.

- Train staff members to talk to guests about these. Then talk to your staff.

- Ask your regulars/loyal customers.

Do not forget your team!

Besides surveys, asking friends, acquaintances, and those whose honest opinions you can trust can also be helpful. How do they see the above questions about your place?

Remember to discuss this with your team – it is crucial! Why? After all, they are the ones spending the most time there. Show them that their opinion matters to you!

When the leader shows interest in listening to their team members’ opinions, that creates higher team morale.

Any honest feedback can help you reflect and fine-tune your processes.

I know the business you own is one of your most sacred things. Receiving criticism can feel like someone is saying bad things about your child. Please remember this. Let’s be open-minded and consider what others give you as feedback because, as I stated in the title:

Your reality is how your guests see things

not how YOU experience your hospitality business.

Follow this blog as I share hands-on marketing tips with readers that I find helpful.

Thank you for reading my post.

I am Shopi.
I help businesses build solid online foundations.

Original photo by Alexey Demidov on Pexels & modified by me.