Getting great guest reviews for your guesthouse
Word of mouth is a powerful thing and getting great reviews can often make or break an independent property. The only thing better than guests enjoying a great night’s sleep and an equally brilliant breakfast, is having them tell the world about their incredible experience!
In this guide, we’ll highlight the key things you need to deliver to every single guest in order to ensure a really top notch stay. From making your rooms look nice, to cooking up tasty treats in the restaurant served up by the friendliest of staff, it’s all about great customer service and delivering above your guests’ expectations.
1. Putting the ‘bed’ in bed & breakfast
The absolute core of your business is providing guests with a restful stay and how they sleep is a big part of that. You should always aim to give them the best night’s sleep of their lives; a few extra pounds on a super comfy mattress are well worth the glowing reviews you’ll receive. The same can be said for high-quality linens and the combination of the two often creates a much-appreciated sense of luxury for guests.
A big bed is always a solid investment, even if it’s a single room. Most people will treat themselves to a queen or even a king size at home, and will be used to having that extra bit of space to roll around in at night. There’s nothing worse than trying to sleep in a bed that’s too small for you to truly relax.
2. Don’t forget the rest
Sleeping arrangements are just one part of a great experience for guests – the rest of the room is equally important. You want your guests to enjoy the time they spend in their rooms, even if it’s just first thing in the morning or for a while in the evening. Well maintained rooms with decor that’s in keeping with the rest of the property are essential.
People love having choices, so go above and beyond the standard tea bags and biscuits. Offer a selection of herbal teas, premium or even home-made biscuits and a drinks fridge, which will no doubt bring a smile to any guest’s face. You can decide if you want to make these inclusive of the price or offer them at a surcharge.
An en-suite is always a luxury that guests are more than happy to have, so if you’re in the process of conducting renovation work, then a few extra bathrooms should definitely be on your to-do list. Having shared facilities is hardly the end of the world but you should make this clear on your website so that guests don’t turn up disappointed.
Lastly, although largely dictated by location, spare a thought for the views that guests are treated to from the windows of their rooms. They won’t be expecting the Swiss Alps or Mount Etna erupting in the distance but be sure to keep the windows clean outside and in, cut back any trees which might obscure the view, and make sure that your property and its outside areas are tidy and smart. If you are located in a town or city centre, why not think about a few hanging baskets or window boxes?
3. A spot of relaxation
Speaking of the communal areas, if you have any outside spaces on the property, such as gardens, picnic areas or a sunbathing deck, keeping them clean and up-to-date in appearance makes a big difference, especially in the warmer months. Well looked after outside areas give guests the opportunity to relax, read or enjoy afternoon tea in a lovely setting. Your customers will be grateful of the extra effort you’ve put in to keep these areas looking spic and span for their peace and enjoyment, which is something that will definitely provide more reason to give a good review for your guest house.
If you’re in the process of renovating your property, read our guide: How to successfully carry out a renovation.
4. Put yourself on the map
Something else that often brings about great reviews from guests is the location of your property. So if you’re just starting out on your B&B adventure, then this is definitely something to consider when choosing a property to set up shop.
On the other hand, if you’re an established guesthouse, then do some research into any popular historical attractions, museums, beaches, walking trails and the like in your local area and make them prominent on your website. Your guests will praise you for taking the time to make their stay that much easier, and you’re also promoting the nearby attractions – it’s a win-win situation!
5. Breakfast is the name of the game
Time and time again, we’ve heard guests say that the difference between a good stay and a great one is the breakfast. The food you provide is a great place to make a good impression and earn yourself that glowing review. In terms of what to serve, be ambitious but realistic. If you can whip up a mean hollandaise then eggs benedict is always a crowd pleaser and a bit of smoked salmon can elevate the dish to a whole other level. But if your culinary skills aren’t stratospheric, don’t overreach. Guests will appreciate a perfectly fried sausage a lot more than they will a mediocre attempt at a more complicated or impressive dish.
If you use locally sourced products, then shout about it! It shows you take that little bit of extra care in getting the details right, and that you’re happy to champion the local community.
Whether these dishes are served by either you or your attentive staff, service should be polite, helpful, and responsive to any reasonable request your guest has. It might break your heart a little to see your guests slather ketchup over your perfectly balanced breakfasts but remember: it’s their meal, what’s important is that they enjoy it.
Read our guide on more breakfast tips: Starting your day right: serving up the best breakfast
6. Earn those reviews: go above and beyond
You’ve probably noticed a theme running throughout this guide: the best way to get great reviews is… well, to earn them. Consistently giving guests the personal touch and taking that little bit of extra care really does pay off in the end. Think of what else you can offer guests to really make them feel well looked after. If you’re struggling, here are some ideas to get you started:
- Offer a collection/drop-off service for guests travelling to the nearest station or likewise
- Leave dog biscuits out for guests bringing their pooches
- Chocolates on the pillow are a nice and thoughtful touch
- Offer to book restaurants for guests prior to arrival
- Give guests maps or lend them local area guides, with instructions on how to get to local attractions
- Check on guests and ask if they need anything
Remember, it’s these touches that separate you from dime-a-dozen chain properties.
Want to ensure that you get the most from your guest reviews? It doesn’t hurt to ask guests to leave you a review on TripAdvisor or Google, for example. If you’re going to take this approach it’s best to ask guests for a review at the end of their stay, preferably on check out. If you know they’ve enjoyed staying with you, ask them if they wouldn’t mind taking a spare minute to review your establishment. Alternatively, you could take their email at checkout and email them later asking for a review and a link to a specific review site.
With eviivo’s My Guest Manager, asking for reviews is easy, as you can schedule personalised emails to go to guests after their stay and ask them to review you. And that’s not all that the award-winning booking software, eviivo suite, can do for you! You can also send pre-arrival emails with check-in instructions, local recommendations and any other information you would like your guests to know before they arrive.
eviivo suite is specifically designed to help B&B, guesthouse and hotel owners in mind, to help save them time and money.