How to Manage Customer Expectations for Your Boutique Hotel
The ideal situation for your boutique hotel is for customers to come to your venue, thoroughly enjoy their stay and go away happy, ready to book again and refer you to their friends, family and social networks.
But achieving this task isn’t always straight forward or simple. The expectations that customers have of your venue and the type of stay they will be having plays a significant role in determining whether your venue, service and standards meet and exceed the idea of your hotel that they’ve built up in their minds before arrival.
Managing your customer’s expectations is an important part of your boutique hotel marketing plan, and it needs to be addressed strategically. If there is a disconnect between your marketing or advertising, and the reality of your hotel – you run the risk of disappointing your customers, losing their trust and ultimately losing money.
More than 80% of reputation damage comes from a mismatch between the ‘buzz’ and the reality.
Source: Status Labs
How To Determine Your Current Standing In The Luxury Hotel Market
So how can you manage your customer’s expectations and still pro-actively promote the best points of your boutique hotel? How can you improve your marketing to thoroughly appeal to your audience without having to exaggerate? How can your boutique hotel management and marketing services compliment each other to get you the most bookings and best ROI?
Firstly, you need to know where you stand in the market. You need to understand how well your current advertising and marketing is performing, how well you’re connecting on social media, and how visible your website is to customers. Once you have reviewed this data, you’ll be in a better position to determine who your customers are, what they expect from you, and what you’re currently doing right and wrong with the content you’re producing.
Knowing your customers is essential. We’re not talking in particularly broad terms of ‘around 20-50 years old and probably couples.” We’re talking about narrowing down who your main audience demographic is, where they live and work, their educations levels, whether they’re married or looking for single rooms, what other brands they’re interested in, and how you can connect directly with them in a way that’s going to make them take notice.
We’re talking about creating Buyer Personas that are rooted in factual data – the creation of which gives you the opportunity to create your branded marketing and advertising in a way that will appeal to a person, rather than just an abstract concept. Now you have the information you need regarding your customers you need to look at your establishment. Evaluate it honestly.
What Questions Do You Need to Ask of Your Boutique Hotel?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What gets the most compliments or the most frequent complaints?
- Where is your boutique hotel located? What’s going on in the local area?
- Are there any stories, legends or myths associated with the hotel or local area?
- Do you offer any special events, courses or unique branded goods?
This list isn’t exhaustive by any means, but it gives you an example of the questions you should be asking yourself and your team. Where there are negatives, you can work on fixing them or possibly even re-framing them.
For example – You may have a small bedroom that doesn’t have much of a view and is situated a bit too close to the boiler for some peoples comfort levels. If you market this as ‘stuffy cramped room that gets a bit hot’, you’re being honest yes, but you’re also making a negative impression.
If you reframe it as ‘warm and cosy room perfect for single traveller who doesn’t enjoy the cold and would rather curl up and read than go out on the town,’ you’re still being honest about the size and temperature level of the room, but you’re making an appealing offer rather than an offhanded sulky remark.
As we mentioned before, the biggest cause of reputation damage comes from the disconnect between expectation and reality.
It is up to you to honestly evaluate your venue, determine who your audience are, and then find clever and creative ways to show off the points about your boutique hotel that are unique, whilst remaining honest and transparent.
So, if you’ve got builders in, you need to say. If it rains 11 months of the year but they’re booking during that rare moment of sunshine – say.
Use your architecture, your staff, your local community, your story. Make use of everything at your disposal to create unique selling points and encourage buzz and hype for your luxury hotel that matches the experiences your customers can expect.