At a time when there is no shortage of brands in any of the market segments for guests to choose from, it’s not only essential to maximize engagement for each and every guest – it is absolutely critical.
On the short-term, full guest engagement leads to higher spend per stay. Long-term, though, full engagement leads to a meaningful relationship with your brand, which equals more repeat stays (and higher spend during those stays).
“To encourage guests to return often, hotel staff must provide them with reliable service, solve their problems, and respond enthusiastically to their needs from the very first visit,” according to “From Economy to Luxury, What Matters Most to Hotel Guests” from Gallup’s Business Journal.
That first stay must deliver a tailored experience with responsive employees who will deliver exceptional service and are equipped to solve guest problems whether or not those dissatisfactions are vocalized or not (because only about 1 out of every 20 guests will vocalize a complaint, even if the remaining 19 are not completely satisfied).
Because most guests across all segments agree that they can forego the hotel retail shop, in-room bar, robes, valet parking, and guest room radios (and they would prefer to see these services cut in exchange for cheaper rates), it is even more imperative that brands reinforce their image and service with branded items that solve guests’ problems and complement their experience at the property. These items must be thoughtful, convenient, and strategically placed in the guest room or promoted on existing in-room collateral, offered at check in, or promoted via email/text/app notification.
So if guests don’t want monogrammed robes or in-room radios, what value-added guestroom amenities and experience-building services do they want? And how do you ensure the guestroom doesn’t turn into the hotel retail shop?
Guests across all segments agree that a nice bathroom soap and other toiletry amenities can go a long way to stop a bad memory/association with your brand before it starts. Any and every property type can offer travel amenities, such as an item to help compartmentalize clothing in a suitcase (no one wants clean clothes to mingle with worn clothes) that’s placed in a drawer in the room, hand sanitizer placed in the bathroom or near the phone, a variety of phone/laptop chargers offered at check-in, powerbanks available in the desk drawer, and other travel amenities specific to your brand image and voice.
While these items most certainly should be available for use on property and to add-on to the room cost, properties and brands must have items that are catered to their experience at that location.
For destination resorts on the coast, this might mean offering a pair of flip-flops in the brand colors or with a logo imprint on the sole, a manicure/pedicure set in the bathroom, or a variety of other branded beach amenities. A destination ski resort should have extra ski goggles available, and both beach resort and ski resort guests could benefit from properties offering travel-size sunblock, aloe vera lotion, and SPF chapstick. Where and how your brand offers these will depend on your price point, whether you have them available at the front desk, in-room, or a room drop with the items in a branded gift bag or box.
A convention or business meeting property should have moleskin jotters and pens available as add-ons for any guest that may have skipped over this detail in his/her own packing.
If a guest made a reservation for a pet-friendly room, contact your guest ahead of time to offer in-room pet amenities. These items will show you care for your guests and make their stay more convenient. Additionally, the items can be available for purchase if your guest wishes to continue using the items while traveling after visiting your property or at home.
What about a family checking in after a day full of travel? Offer calming bathtime soap or bath bombs — or any of these Dreamy Bedtime Amenities — at check-in (or before via tech, if you have the capability).
While following the trend of having the essential, problem-solving products on-property, it’s equally as important to have add-on services for those guests that are fully prepared but still need engaged. These include items with a “wow” factor or to build the experience with the brand.
Have a couple celebrating an anniversary, birthday, or just night away? Have an add-on ready to go with a bottle of their choice beverage, glasses (that can be served in the traditional glass or a glass colored with brand colors or imprinted with a logo), and chocolate-covered strawberries presented in a branded box. Take that idea even further, a welcome add-on for any guest type that includes drinks, glasses, and a snack (catered to your location and property type) can be offered at check-in. The glasses for any occasion can serve as a memento that guests can take home, reminding them of their excellent time and service at your property.
Your finesse and care in creating guest touchpoints will create the tailored experience that guests desire; branding these touchpoints will create the positive brand connection that you require. And having employees equipped to deliver exceptional service and catered solutions to your guests will reinforce these interactions and memorable experiences that much more.
If your brand and/or property is looking for branded guest touchpoints to increase guest engagement, reach out to our hospitality brand merchandise specialists here.
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