The importance of guest experience in the Covid age (and five ways digitisation can deliver it)
For serviced apartment and co-living companies, repeat custom is a key component of a sustainable revenue strategy. In the current climate, operators can use slick branding, a variety of booking channels and pricing deals to attract first-time guests, but only one factor keeps them returning again and again: incredible guest experience.
What does ‘guest experience’ entail?
Guest experience is not a tangible factor, like a snazzy breakfast buffet or free spa treatment, but guests’ overall feeling about staying with an operator. As such, guest experience is not limited to the physical boundaries of the serviced apartment nor the building. In fact, it starts from the initial contact with the operator’s brand and never truly ends.
From enquiry to booking, check-in to check-out, pre-arrival information to post-departure communication, ‘guest experience’ takes place at multiple touch points along the rental process and operators need to ensure each one elicits positive feelings.
Guest experience is vitally important in the Covid age
Guest experience is not just the difference between a compliment and complaint. It’s not even the fine line between repeat booking and an unfavourable review. In the Covid world, it’s the difference between a profitable operator looking to the future and a struggling operator looking at the books.
That’s because guest experience gives guests a reason to travel. In uncertain times, guests are more likely to book if they know they can book their favoured room and check-in with ease. If they have control over the cleaning rota and know the operator is responsive to their needs. If they can cancel or extend their stay at short notice. At a time when competition for guests is especially tight, innovative living companies need to stand out from the crowd and focusing on guest experience is a one-way ticket to positive differentiation.
Five ways tech boosts guest experience
Guest experience is not homogeneous with much depending on the operator, the guest and the circumstances. Yet, apartment management software provides operators with the tools to enhance general guest experience in the following five ways.
- Control. The modern guest craves control and tech allows them to control their stay from their phone. Having a mobile app instead of a welcome pack, for example, enables guests to control their cleaning rota, log maintenance issues, access booking info, leave reviews and have a live chat with staff from their fingertips.
- Choice. Flexibility is a vital part of the post-Covid armoury and guests can now easily modify, cancel or extend their bookings with just a few clicks. What’s more, operators can also use innovative software to offer deals, upgrades and favourable rates to guests looking to stay longer.
- Customer journey. A quote in three days or three minutes? Keyless check-in or 15 minutes in the lobby? Whether it’s a simple booking system, a customisable guest portal or remote check-in, tech tools boost efficiency and streamline the customer journey.
- Customisation. Whether offering bespoke booking options and payment methods or tailored rates and travel information, operators can use adaptive features to make guests feel special before, during and after their stay.
- Communication. From sending arrival info and reminders pre-stay to offering loyalty benefits and deals post-stay, operators can cultivate long-lasting guest relationships using purpose-built platforms. Meanwhile, guests can also use portals to contact the operator with any questions and receive responses in real-time in a range of different languages.
Digitising guest experience
Thanks to technological advancements in the innovative living space, operators of all shapes and sizes can offer guests a slick, seamless service from enquiry to departure and beyond. At res:harmonics, we offer operators a wide range of easy-to-integrate features that will keep guests coming back again and again.