Hospitality, as we all know it, is a demanding field of activity, which needs to adapt to trends to meet guests’ expectations. In the following, I asked PR professionals from all over the world, to share their favorite tips for hoteliers, and they came up with many advices that will help professionals in the hospitality industry.
The little things that matter
Spencer Callaghan of Thornley Fallis Communications insists on the little things that make all the difference, and believes his advice may serve every business in the world. “Delight and surprise your customers with excellent service, and make sure your staff know the value of going above and beyond. Today, a bad experience can travel thousands of miles on social media before you even have a chance to react. Make sure it never gets that far. Conversely, a good experience can be more powerful than any advertisement or media hit you'd ever pay for.”
The power of the little things is also what Samantha Jacobs, Founder and President of Hemsworth Communications values the most. “Things like custom pillow menus or surprise cookies and milk at turndown can leave a lasting, favorable impression on your guests,” she told TravelDailyNews. She believes that when properly communicated these things will generate buzz, more than the “flashy gimmicks and technologies” that seem to take over the industry. “Travelers today are constantly bombarded with flashy gimmicks and new technologies. So are hoteliers, which creates a sense of undue pressure in my opinion. Before jumping head first (and wallet first) into the latest fads, I recommend implementing a few unique services or amenities that are simple and easy to execute operationally, but most importantly, distinctive,” Jacobs explained.
Visual is powerful
It’s true that nothing shares better on social media than images and video. Powerful visuals go a long way. They often become viral if they focus on the right details.
Marti Mayne of Maynely Marketing believes in good photography: “With social media being so photo-driven, the hotel without good photography will be left behind,” she told us, explaining that big, bold photography for websites is a must to grab the attention of a visitor. She also insisted on the use of photography for social media: “You need plenty of good photos for social media. Don’t make the mistake of only having photos of empty rooms either. Show photos of people doing things at the hotel. People are more likely to envision themselves there if they see other smiling faces there.”
Leora Halpern Lanz of LHL Communications insists on the importance of photography too: “I do have one tip I share with my hotelier clients: to take photos of events they attend or successes (with guests’ permission of course); when sharing news on social media, photos go a long way and essentially ensure a much higher percentage of engagement with audiences.”
But Angela Moore of Starfish PR goes beyond advice, also giving a few brilliant ideas:
“My tip would be to do something extraordinary (and visual) for your guests. Something that makes them want to snap a photo and share their experience with their social world. Here are some examples:
If you noticed they enjoyed something special on your property numerous times (a food or drink item, a lesson, spa treatment, etc.) offer them one on the house in a note that is easily photographed to be shared. This shows you are paying attention and are grateful for their business.
Leave a personal note in their room - create a short poem that conveys they are valued guests (create a few to have on hand and use for all your guests). It should be short and sweet and easily shared on Facebook and Instagram. You can task your staff to come up with some ideas.
Create a hashtag just for them (your guests) and share it with them in a cute and fun way in their room: #SmithFamilyGetaway2016 for example. You could present it in a fun and visually exciting way. Write it on a mirror, or on a small cake, to be left in their room.”
Be sweet and personal
What is a hotelier if not a host for his customers? How do you welcome your friend when he visits your home? Usually with a smile, and with a kind compliment. This is also what Thomas J. Madden, Chairman and CEO of TransMedia Group believes that matters: “Tell guests how attractive, how colorful, how fashionable, they are. Constantly provide positive feedback in the form of sincere compliments. In short, make guests feel good, feel appreciated, and, most importantly, NOTICED.”
“Spend time with your guests,” adds Liliana Steffens of Pamil Visions PR. “When you see them returning to your hotel after a day in the city, ask them if they had a good time. If they travel with children, always, but always, make the child feel important too. Talk to them, ask them about their experiences. Have a healthy treat at the reception and offer it as a welcome back to children.”
I will end this with my favorite so far, from Trish Hoffman of Blitz Group:
“A guest's experience is your best form of public relations. Greeting a guest with a gracious attitude at the time of check-in makes all the difference in how they will remember where they stayed and whether or not they give you a good review or a bad one.
Guests can arrive at the hotel already tired. So make sure the first person who greets your guests is always in a good mood, shares any and all amenities you may offer, (guests don't need to hear about a secret menu of options after check-in when it’s too late) and make sure each staff member is trained, with the same message which is where the training is most important. This means your staff can and will answer questions with the same facts...this means everyone... from the maintenance department, to housekeeping, your restaurant, check-in and concierge.
Remember, no one likes a snot, so weed those staffers out pronto!”
There is much, much more to share from PR pros, so make sure you follow this series, for in depth insight from some of the best in the industry.