What’s going through a traveler’s mind when deciding where they want to stay? There are endless combinations of factors, and no two travelers are alike. But there is a handful of common criteria that many potential guests consider before clicking the “Book Now” button.
Read on for four key components to a traveler’s decision making process, and ideas on how you can incorporate them into your own business.
It may seem obvious, but the value of great customer reviews is immeasurable. It not only informs potential customers of what they can expect when they visit your property, but it gives you a window into the minds of your past customers to help you better emphasize your strengths and improve upon any of the company’s weaknesses.
There are a myriad of platforms you can utilize. If you think about where most people are doing their research, Google is typically top of mind. Ensuring your business’ Google page is up to date and accepting reviews is the first step. Yelp, Facebook, and TrustPilot are all great options as well—and you don’t have to just choose one, you can have reviews across any and all platforms available.
So what’s the best way to go about obtaining reviews? If your business is lacking reviews, or if you’re working on rebuilding your company’s reputation, incentivizing your customers to leave positive reviews is a great way to make headway quickly.
- Providing stellar service is your first priority. Making sure your guests are tended to and enjoying their stay is key. Looking for ways to achieve great service? Keep reading, we’ve got that broken down for you below!
- Offering discounts on a future stay for a positive review is a simple solution.
- If you’re not wanting to discount a customer’s stay, or if you’ve found many of your customers are one-time guests, offer them a complimentary appetizer, a voucher for a spa service, or a complimentary or discounted activity in the area.
You typically have two types of travelers when it comes to how they consider price. You have your value shoppers, and your premium shoppers. Here’s how to accommodate them:
Value travelers are looking for the best deal and are oftentimes more flexible on the other details of their stay in order to save a few dollars. They may be willing to adjust the dates or duration of their trip, pass on certain amenities, or choose an establishment based on amenities that may save them money in other areas of their trip (i.e. dining).
When considering room rates for your value traveler, the most important thing to do is remain competitive.
- Stay abreast of other local businesses’ pricing and promotions, and use them to gauge if your rates are where they should be.
- Offer periodic promotions throughout the year when you want to attract more guests, or offer vouchers for activities, dining, or services either onsite or at a nearby business.
Premium travelers are looking for the whole package and are willing to pay for a comprehensive experience from check-in to checkout. They’re less likely to compromise on their travel timelines or amenities, and are looking to have their expectations exceeded.
For premium travelers, your rates may be higher, but you’ll need to make sure your guests are getting what they pay for. From service to amenities, there should be no bed left unturned.
- Along with top-tier amenities, you can differentiate yourself from others and encourage guests to enjoy your luxurious amenities by offering packages with each stay:
- romance packages
- spa packages
- all-inclusive pricing packages for dining and drinks, or activities
Whether you’re attracting value or premium travelers, it’s important to provide your guests with the type of experience that will leave them singing your praises and counting the days until they can return. The next questions to ask yourself: which type of traveler are you attracting, and how can you better accommodate them?
An ideal location means different things for different people, but wherever your property resides, there are people who want to be there. Take a look at the different types of travelers, and how location is relevant to each.
Guests staying for business may be less likely to focus on your property’s proximity to entertainment and leisure activities. If you’re looking to cater to a business demographic, you’ll want to highlight your location’s proximity to places such as business or convention centers, airports and/or public transit, perhaps dining establishments of various ratings—for the option of entertaining colleagues or clients, or to grab a quick bite between meetings—as well as local cafes, co-working spaces, or any other quiet place someone would want to sit down to clear their inbox.
Leisure travelers differ greatly from business travelers, with a sole focus on having a good time. That can mean different things to different people, but we’ll look at two basic breakdowns of the type of leisure traveler you may expect.
When kids are tagging along on your guests’ vacation, some activities may not be well-suited for their stay. If your guests fit this criteria, you can highlight local kid-friendly attractions including
- waterfronts (beaches, lakes, rivers, water parks)
- parks (both natural and amusement parks),
- historical landmarks
- hike and bike trails
- sporting attractions
Be sure to include a few indoor activities that your guests can enjoy in the case of inclement weather. These could include
Kid-free vacationers may also find enjoyment in many of the activities well-suited for families. But just in case they’re looking for a place requiring a minimum age for entry, don’t forget to include any local bars, wineries, breweries or distilleries.
Ultimately, the one thing guests remember more than the cost of their stay or their proximity to whatever activities they seek, is the experience they had while they were there. Experience encompasses a lot of things, so let’s break it down a little further.
Just like any other heavily service-focused business, your establishment’s top priority is to make your guests feel welcome, relaxed, and eager to return. That should always incorporate a kind and helpful staff, a spotless environment and special touches unique to your property.
While quality service means different things to different people, there are a list of services that help every guest take the stress out of traveling.
No matter the purpose of your guests’ visit, they all want to feel safe while they stay with you. Ensure that your establishment is well-lit, both inside and out, remains clean and well maintained, and is equipped with modern security features including recorded surveillance.
Arrival and Departure
- Early and late check-in is a cost-effective way to offer superior service to your guests. It relieves them of the stress of rushing to you or having to fill time before they can get into their room, grab a shower and unpack. Additionally, late checkout lets your guests wrap up their stay still feeling the sense of relaxation they came for.
- If flexible check-in and checkout times are options you’re not able to provide, offering secure, complimentary bag holding service gives guests the opportunity to begin or end their trip without having to lug bulky suitcases around town.
- Another great way to make your guests feel special when they arrive is to give them a little something to say “Welcome”. This can be a complimentary cocktail from your bar, or leaving something small in their room: it can be as simple as a handwritten note, fresh flowers on their bedside table, or an assortment of local chocolates or pastries for them to enjoy.
What does your establishment provide that have become expectations to most guests? And better yet, what does your establishment provide that others don’t? Both are imperative for a memorable stay.
- Some of the basics include in-room climate control, plenty of updated electrical outlets, parking or shuttle service, free wifi, and complimentary breakfast. It’s also a great idea to have easily-forgotten items on hand for your guests, including things like ibuprofen, feminine products, curling irons, and so on.
- Guests also enjoy a fitness center, pool and on-site dining options.
- If you want to elevate your guests’ lounging experience, provide poolside concierge to take and bring food and drink orders, and bring necessities such as towels and sunscreen.
Pets continue to be an important member of many families, and a growing number of travelers are electing to bring their furry friends with them. Many guests will prioritize amenities for their pets over their own. Consider employing a “pets stay free” policy. If you want to stay a step ahead of your competitors, offer complimentary pet necessities, including
- treats and toys
Pet lovers traveling alone? Some establishments have gone so far as to allow guests to rent a goldfish for the duration of their stay!
Business guests can benefit from an in-room work space, such as a desk, as well as an on-site business center. In-room irons and ironing board are also helpful additions to a room
- If you want to go above and beyond, offer laundering services, either on-site or to be sent out and returned—either complimentary or at a discounted rate.
Whether traveling for business or leisure, guests typically experience at least a little downtime; providing on-site entertainment and activities is a great way to keep them sticking around a little longer or returning for another stay. Having games, books, tv and movies at the ready for your guests is standard practice, but you can also tap into what makes your property unique to find other ways to keep guests entertained.
- If you’re on or near water, offering kayaks, canoes, or floats to guests allows them to soak up the sun without having to leave the premises.
- If your property is positioned around mountains or hills, offer a list of popular hike and bike trails or sight-seeing routes.
- In-house spas are a fantastic way to help your guests relax and while bringing in additional revenue.
- If you’re positioned on or near a vineyard, brewery or distillery, offering complimentary or discounted tours to your adult guests will be a huge hit.
- If you aren’t near any of these, a simple substitute would be to host a wine tasting or food and drink pairing course
- If your on-site restaurant receives rave reviews, consider hosting cooking classes and teach guests how to prepare your signature dish
Let’s sum it all up! While each guest’s needs are different, certain areas of your business practices can sway many guests to choose your establishment over your competitors.
Be sure to focus on your customer reviews, pricing structure, your establishment’s proximity to entertainment- and business-related destinations, and above all else, experience (broken down by service, amenities and activities).