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Guest Experience has never been so important in the Accommodation industry

Hello, and welcome. I am Roger Graham, the Founder and CEO of Orana Software. And today, I wanted to deviate from our product talk and really discuss Guest Experience, and really focus on why it is so critical in 2024 and beyond.

I am sure little will disagree with me when I say the world is a very different place compared to 2020. Having gone through a pandemic, then the economic and political chaos, 2024 itself is shaping up to be a very interesting year.

So then why is the guest experience so critical now, when it wasn’t a few years back? Well, the world changed!  And in my opinion, the accommodation sector got left behind to a certain degree. And let us not forget the Millennial’s and Gen Z’s who account for a huge proportion of today’s spend. Plus Gen Alpha catching up quickly, and they have never known a world without technology!

Let’s face it, competition is fierce. This industry is ever-evolving and your guest expectations are getting higher by the day. As a provider of accommodation services, you have to understand and prioritize the guest experience, no longer is it an added advantage, no, it’s an absolute necessary. Handing out a piece of paper and saying have a great stay when a guest arrives is simply not good enough in 2024.

Here is why prioritizing the guest experience is essential today, and how neglecting it can be detrimental to your business.

** Elevated Expectations and the Empowered Consumer **

Deilver a guest experience by highlighting nearly attractions

Today’s guests are more informed, connected, and empowered than ever before. With the proliferation of online platforms and social media, potential guests can access a wealth of information about accommodation options. Reviews, ratings, and testimonials play a pivotal role in shaping their expectations and choices.

A stellar guest experience leads to positive reviews, which in turn attract more guests. Conversely, a single negative review can significantly tarnish your establishment’s reputation. I honestly cannot tell you the number of times I have not booked at a particular accommodation because of a negative review, you have to do absolutely everything in your power to make sure your reviews are top-rated for each and every guest. One bad review is costing you money, and a lot of it! If you can always respond to bad reviews, never blaming the guest. Apologies, thank them for their feedback and tell them what you are doing to fix the situation.

This ensures that future guests read this and will more likely be willing to forgive the bad review when you have addressed it and told them what you are doing to fix the problem. On the flip side, make sure you fix the problem!

** Brand Differentiation in a Crowded Market **

The accommodation industry is crowded, very crowded, with options ranging from luxury hotels to unique Airbnb stays. In such a competitive landscape, offering a unique and memorable guest experience is a key differentiator. It’s not just about providing a place to stay, but about delivering an experience that resonates on a personal level with guests. This could mean personalized services, unique amenities, or even simple gestures that make guests feel valued and special. We use to own and run our own Airbnb type accommodation before we moved on just before the pandemic hit, which in hindsight was lucky.

As a host, whether it be a luxury hotel or an Airbnb, you need to remember you are NOT a landlord. You are a host, and your guest is paying you their hard-earned cash to stay in your accommodation rather than the competitor down the road. This is not only as a place to sleep but it is also an experience that they want to savor. Those that understand this and embrace this responsibility will excel in this arena, those that don’t, well your fate is pretty much sealed.

** The Ripple Effect of Guest Loyalty **

Guest loyalty is a precious commodity in the accommodation industry. A guest who has had an exceptional experience is not only more likely to return but is also likely to become a vocal advocate for your brand. Never underestimate the word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied guests, it is incredibly powerful, essentially serving as a personal endorsement of your services. In contrast, a guest whose experience falls short is less likely to return and more likely to dissuade others from staying at your establishment. One happy guest tells a few, an unhappy guest tells a lot!

** Operational Excellence and Efficiency **

The Guest Experience is about information

Prioritizing guest experience often leads to operational improvements. By consistently seeking feedback and understanding guests’ needs, accommodation providers can streamline their operations, identify areas for improvement, and implement changes that enhance the overall quality of service. This continuous improvement cycle not only benefits guests but also drives efficiency and profitability for the business. And let us not forget technology, not all technology will add value. But critical aspects like a digital guidebook that a guest can use on their device adds immense value both in terms of the information they get, but also for potential revenue opportunities for your business.

** Guest Experience Maximizes Revenue Opportunities **

An amzing guest experinece leads to amazing reviews

A happy guest is more likely to indulge in the additional services your accommodation provides, be it the spa, restaurant, or guided tours. By creating an environment where guests feel comfortable and valued, you open up avenues for additional revenue. On the flip side, a guest who doesn’t feel valued is less likely to spend beyond the basic room rate, limiting your establishment’s earning potential.

In today’s customer-centric world, the guest experience is the heart and soul of the accommodation industry. It’s a critical driver of brand reputation, customer loyalty, operational efficiency, and revenue growth. Neglecting it is not just a missed opportunity—it’s a risk to the very sustainability of your business. By embracing a guest-centric approach, you position your establishment to thrive in the competitive and ever-evolving accommodation landscape. Remember, in the end, it’s not just about the room or the bed—it’s about how staying with you makes your guests feel. That’s what they’ll remember, and that’s what will keep them coming back.

Roger Graham is the founder and CEO of Orana Software, a leading provider of guest experience software for all accommodation businesses. With the rare ability to listen to customer needs and convert this into technical resources, the software adapts to changing guest needs. With offices in Australia, South Africa and the United States, Orana Software is able to service your business no matter where you are in the world.

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