Ever wondered what it is that makes guests return to the same Guesthouse or Hotel year after year? There are a few pointers that one can inculcate into your establishment that don’t necessarily cost you a fortune, but are well worth the effort and the outlay as not only does it ensure return business, or even no complaints, but brings excellent reviews and guests recommending you to their friends, family and work colleagues. I am noting a few special touches to make for a memorable stay:
- A Welcome Letter – a simple personalized letter with your guests’ names, placed on their bed or on a table in their room for their arrival is a nice touch. You can use this opportunity to also mention your in-house rules, e.g. smoking is permitted on the premises but outside, or no clothes and towels are to be hung over the balcony etc. Include that you are there at their disposal and you wish them a great stay.
- A Welcome Hamper – a few packets of snacks; savoury and sweet, like crisps, peanuts, biscuits and chocolates, with a couple of items of fruit is also a touch much appreciated by guests, especially after a long journey or to enjoy with their sundowners.
- Turndowns – to freshen up the room, turn back the bedcovers and place a chocolate or a small candy on the guest’s pillow at night always wins a special place in anyone’s heart. You can even go as far as leaving a print-out of the next day’s weather forecast if you want to really impress!
- A Plentiful Breakfast – Everybody appreciates variety on a choice-filled buffet or platter, especially if they are staying any length of time, and it’s not the same thing day after day. One can include, fruits, preserves, hams and other cold meats or fish, a selection of cheeses, pastries and breads.
- Laundry Service – whether you opt to offer this as a complimentary service or to charge your guests, it is always a comfort knowing their laundry is taken care of. It’s extra special when it arrives wrapped in tissue paper or folded nicely in a basket with a flower or a sprig of lavender on top.
- Free Internet Access – these days everyone needs the Internet, and even though many on vacation don’t bother too much corresponding online, they do sometimes need to confirm air tickets and the likes. They always appreciate Internet access, whether wireless or ethernet, or a computer at their disposal if they didn’t bring a laptop.
- Providing Gowns for their use during their stay is always appreciated.
- Luxurious Amenities – Shower Gel, Shampoo, Hair Conditioner, body Lotion and Bath Foam is always handy for travellers. You don’t need to go to the expense of buying small individuals, but can buy large dispensers which you refill after each check-out.
- A Pastry or Biscuit with coffee or tea on arrival is also a nice touch.
- Advice on Tourist Attractions and Restaurants in your area is also very helpful to guests.
- Offer your services at assisting with Reservations for your guests, like Taxis, Restaurants, Tours or Activities.
- The Thank You Note – a personalized letter e-mailed to the guests once they have left makes them feel validated and they remember their stay fondly as they know you care. Write something memorable pertaining to them and their stay with you; conversations or events, and wish them well for the future. You can use this opportunity also to request they write a review on Tripadvisor.
Remember that good reviews and recommendations definitely bring business, along with word of mouth, and if your guests leave happy and pampered they will talk about it. Those who haven’t travelled to your part of the globe before are unsure what to expect and it comforts them to read positive comments from others like themselves who have been. This will inspire them to make a reservation at a place other people enjoyed, so it is the Guesthouse or Hotel Owners responsibility to be consistent in their service.
As always, it’s the little things that make the difference and more than just a bed for the night!
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