Most travellers look at reviews and ratings of accommodations before travelling so it's more important than ever to listen to your guests. Their input is great for understanding what you're already doing well and what improvements guests would like to see.

With tell Charlie, guests can give you feedback about their stay and they have the chance to rate different aspects of your accommodation. However, it's not always obvious what you can do to increase your ratings.

Cleanliness

Cleanliness often ranks as the most important part of a guest's decision to book and because of this, standards of cleanliness are rising. Quickly responding to issues regarding cleanliness lets your guests know that you care about their issue as much as they do. Even if you can't immediately solve the issue - they'll appreciate it when you acknowledge there's a problem right away.

  • When a guest has a problem relating to cleanliness, prioritise fixing the issue as soon as possible. If they have a request, such as a new towel or soap, give them twice as many/much. Chances are they won't use the extra but they will appreciate it.
  • Guests associate 'new' with clean so it's a good idea to repair, remove or replace items when a guest tell you that they look worn.
  • Encourage your staff to have higher hygiene standards. Guests take notice when they see staff washing their hands or having a tidy appearance and this gives guests a positive perception of your accommodation's cleanliness. On the other hand, a staff member who smells strongly or wipes down dropped cutlery instead of taking it to be washed can have a significantly negative impact.

Location

Even though you can't change the location of your accommodation, there are some things you can do to accentuate the appeal of the surrounding area:

  • Make your guests aware of how great the local area is by providing them with information about nearby things to do, places to eat and transport information. Secret spots make your guests appreciate the location even more.
  • Secure deals with local business so that guests receive discounts. It will make guests glad that they stayed with you and more appreciative of the location.
  • Share the history of the building and surrounds by mentioning the story or specific features to your guests. Each location is unique in it's own way and you can make guests love it more just by sharing the story.

Room

As a minimum, a room should meet the guest's expectations of a 'home away from home'. The best way to increase your room ratings is by providing room facilities and services that exceed the standard of living they're used to. While you don't know what each guest is used to, you can manage their expectations using tell Charlie.

  • Room requests give you great insights into what guests want and what will impress them.  If someone is checking in late, you could leave the light on in their room so their first experience is welcoming instead of fumbling in the dark looking for the light switch. 
  • Provide contact information in the room guest directory. tell Charlie caters especially to modern guests who prefer digital communication so remind them to use tell Charlie if they have any questions or issues.
  • When a guest gives a thumbs down in response the question tell Charlie asks them - How is your room so far? - make sure to give immediate attention to any negative responses. Guests will usually tell you exactly what's wrong so you're able to fix the problem.

Staff

When it comes to service, guests want to feel like the centre of the world. They want staff to answer all their questions and to do it with a smile. As you know, training new and existing staff is one of the biggest challenges in hospitality and it's one that's never finished.

  • Use message templates to answer the most common questions increases consistency from your staff. New staff members can learn the answers and the appropriate way to respond based on the responses created by an experienced member of the team.
  • When a staff member shares their name with a guest through tell Charlie, the guest can give positive or negative feedback about the staff member in person, through tell Charlie or in a review. Then you can work with staff members who receive negative feedback and improve guest satisfaction.
  • The email signature is an opportunity to personalise your messages and form a connection with your guests. Seeing a name and face lets guests know that there is a real person at the accommodation who cares about their needs. 

Value for money

Value for Money is the difference between the anticipated quality of a guest's stay and the actual quality of the stay. If a guest books a room and their stay is better than expected they feel like they've gotten good Value for Money. If their stay is not what they had hoped for, they feel that they haven't gotten good Value for Money.

  • It starts with setting expectations in the beginning and then matching (or exceeding) those expectations during the guest's stay. The first step is to make sure that your online presence is accurate.
  • After a guest has booked, you can use tell Charlie to further understand the expectations of your guests and manage them accordingly. Requests and feedback that you receive should be taken seriously but don't feel like you have to say 'yes' to everything. If a guest asks about something you don't offer - for example, a buffet dinner at your B&B - you can let them know it's not something that you provide, that you'll consider it for the future and then suggest suitable alternatives.
  • Keeping some surprises for after guests arrive is another great way to increase the Value for Money. Bottled water in the room, someone to help with the luggage, information about activities or free breakfast - anything that can you provide which is a pleasant surprise to guests increases the value they feel they are getting for their money. The attention that guests receive with tell Charlie is a nice added bonus that they don't usually expect.

Sleep quality

It's the one thing that every guest wants and yet it can be difficult to ensure guests have a good night's sleep. The whole guest experience is improved when a guest is able to relax with a good night's sleep - the room feels better, guests are nicer to staff and they feel they've gotten good value for money. 

Improving sleep quality requires a combination of attending to guest issues in the short-term and learning from their feedback to create the ideal environment for sleep long-term.

  • You can immediately resolve guest complaints, like other loud guests, by asking them to keep the noise down.
  • Listening to guest feedback about regarding pillow quality, mattress stiffness or light from outside the room is a good way to identify improvement areas.

Overall

It can be difficult keeping all of your guests happy. If you have cheaper rates and offer extras for paying more you might get 5 stars for Value for Money and 1 star for Luxury. Businesspeople like to stay somewhere quiet with work facilities whereas family friendly accommodations tend to be louder so it's difficult to appeal to both types of travellers. 

You can decide - do you want to position your place as Luxury or Value for Money or something else? Are your ideal guests families or businesspeople? Or maybe it's couples? Or backpackers? Finding out who your ideal guests are will help you to tailor your offerings towards them.

The other good news is that ratings are contextual - it's all about managing the expectations of your guests. Ratings are the result of:

  • what guests think they're getting (based on your accommodation information)
  • what they're actually getting (what they experience during their stay)
  • how much they're giving (how much they're paying)

By capturing the expectations of guests early and maintaining them during their stay, you're giving yourself the best chance to provide a great experience for your guests.

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