According to Wallet Hub, 64 percent of Americans plan to travel this holiday season. Of those travelers, 43% will be staying in hotels (source). This huge influx of holiday guests will be a major source of revenue for hotels this winter. However, if you are not prepared, the holiday rush can also overwhelm hotel staff and lead to unhappy guests. Follow these tips to make sure your hotel survives and thrives during the hotel holiday rush.
Clean During Winter Weather to Keep Your Hotel Inviting
Keep hotels interiors clean and cozy, even when the weather outside is frightful.
When a customer walks in to your hotel, they should feel that it is warm, clean, and cozy – even when the weather outside is frightful. This can be a challenge when winter brings rain, snow, and ice, quickly turning high traffic areas into dirty eyesores. To keep a comfortable and inviting space, have a plan in place for cleaning during wintery days. Stage a wet/dry vacuum near the lobby where it can quickly respond to wet or soiled floors. Increase vacuuming frequency in high traffic areas, and schedule extra checks for restrooms and common areas. A hotel should be a home away from home during the holidays. That is only possible when guest areas are kept clean and inviting.
Assign a Holiday Concierge
When guests have a break from family commitments, they may want to attend local festivities, go shopping, or enjoy a special meal. Assign a holiday concierge to guide guests to their desired experience. The holiday concierge should research holiday events, connect with local entertainment outlets, and coordinate special deals. If you help guests create a memorable holiday, you may create loyalty that lasts for years to come.
Assign a holiday concierge.
Offer Gift Cards for the Hotel and Restaurants
If someone is enjoying their holiday stay in your hotel, give them the opportunity to share that experience with their loved ones. When they arrive to check in, they may still have a few people left on their Christmas list. Offer gift cards for nights at the hotel and meals in your hotel restaurants. You can even coach your front desk staff to offer gift cards during check-in and checkout.
Give Your Staff Incentive to Excel
Give staff incentive to excel.
Everyone loves to take time off at the holidays. However, most hotel employees do not have that luxury. If your staff is working long hours at a fully booked hotel while their families are home celebrating, make it worth their while. Offer incentives to staff members during the holidays. They could be performance based or they could be based on holiday hours worked. Money or a gift card can go a long way to showing your appreciation for staff giving excellent service.
Make Sure You Are Adequately Staffed
According to Pew Research Forum, 82 percent of consumers check for online reviews before making a purchase, and over two-thirds of those consumers think reviews are “generally accurate.” When a guest has a negative experience, their bad review could interfere with incoming bookings for many holiday seasons to come.
Be sure you are properly staffed during the holiday rush.
A one-star hotel review on TripAdvisor resulted from a hotel that was understaffed for the holidays. They left their guests waiting in long lines to check in while luggage was left sitting by the curb. The staff was working as hard as they could, but there weren’t enough of them to take care of their guests. Save yourself the pain of a negative review by making sure you are adequately staffed for the busy holidays.
Remind Guests to Leave Positive Reviews
Another way to deal with the threat of negative reviews is to proactively seek positive reviews. An email after checkout can remind guests to share their good experiences and provide a link to the platform of your choosing. (It’s best to focus on one platform at a time.) In some cases, you can offer incentives for online reviews, but be sure to check the policy of the targeted platform before doing so. Google policy instructs businesses not to solicit reviews in bulk, and they have punished a business in the past. Yelp has a similar policy. The safest approach is to provide reminders for online reviews without incentives.
Prosper in the Hotel Holiday Rush
If you are prepared to handle the rush, there’s no reason this holiday season won’t be your most successful yet. For more tips, check out the sources for this blog below.