Fantastic customer service and an effective online review management strategy are integral to the success of Nelson’s Century Park Motor Lodge, winner of multiple TripAdvisor awards. Owner Jackie Thomsen shares tips and ideas on how you can become hospitality superstars.
Treat All Your Guests Like Celebrities
If there is one magical way to win over your guests, it is outstanding customer service. No matter how many marketing dollars you spend, if your service standards and professionalism are lacking, you are unlikely to get anywhere. So make a fantastic first impression (smile!) and then work on making a lasting one. Remember happy customers equate to great reviews and return business.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Every hospitality personnel would have encountered at least one rude guest. It is important that your staff and you don’t lose their calm at such times. Understand why the guest is angry and try and resolve the issue. You’ll be left with two happy people at the end of it – your guest and your staff member.
Little Things Matter
Leaving a welcome fruit basket in the guest’s room or providing handy maps and recommendations on local sights that are a must-see will go a long way in creating a positive impression. Ensuring the room is clean and ready for the guest on arrival will make a guest happy. Attending to the guest quickly, or informing them in advance if there will be a delay. Getting to know your guests; addressing them by their name. Always putting on a pleasant face. These are little things, but they matter a lot.
Ramp up Your Room Amenities
Hotel amenities are one of the small factors that help create an unforgettable guest experience. In addition to the usuals, at Century Park Motor Lodge, we dialled up the amenity list by providing top-of-the-range toiletries, free unlimited wi-fi, SKY television, free use of DVDs, stereo with iPod dock, etc. We also have well appointed kitchens with little extras for guests who like to cook. Guests are always impressed by these add-ons and this is reflected in our reviews.
Get the Right Technology
You can’t quite avoid OTAs. But you can ride them well with the right technology solution and distribute your rooms to OTAs. For us STAAH’s Channel Manager and InstantSite Website have been a godsend.
The STAAH channel manager has helped us increase our online reach. That it is so easy to use is added bonus, leaving us enough time on what matters most – conversion! In August last year, we relaunched our website with STAAH’s support. It is already becoming a crucial marketing tool for us, with plans to focus on it in the coming year to increase direct bookings.
Ask for Reviews
There is no doubting the power of online reviews – they work. But you can’t always rely on guests to make the effort of leaving a review. You have to prompt them. We do this by sending automated emails that request for reviews on our social channels, TripAdvisor and other online platforms. You could also simply ask guests for reviews at the time of check out; if you’ve done a good job, they should oblige.
Make sure that when guests leave reviews, you thank them online. Engagement is critical for return visitation.
Harnessing the Power of Social Media
While we’re yet to utilise all social channels, we definitely leverage the power of Facebook. We prompt guests to like our page and use it to promote our brand, awards and services. At a later stage, we would also like to use it for promotions.
Build Lasting Relationships
From engaging your guests comes another opportunity – to grow your leads. We’ve focussed on building relationships with our guests and corporate. And these have been a great source of returning business for us.
Forming mutually beneficial partnerships with other operators, both national and local, is always beneficial. Besides it improves your guest experience as there is a one-stop-shop for all information.
Nail Operational Efficiencies
Be smart about the staff you hire, and how many. Utilise your channel manager insights to work out occupancy trends and resource your property accordingly.
Located in the heart of Nelson, Century Park Motor Lodge is a five-star property with a range of accommodation. Highly rated by customers, it has won multiple TripAdvisor awards for its services and amenities, including:
Top 25 Small Hotels – South Pacific
Top 25 Hotels for Romance — South Pacific
Top 25 Luxury Hotels — South Pacific
Top 25 Small Hotels – New Zealand
Top 25 Hotels for Romance — New Zealand
Top 25 Luxury Hotels — New Zealand
Top 25 Hotels for Service — New Zealand