What we learned at the ITB Berlin about Guest Communication
Every year at ITB Berlin we gather Hospitality trends for you that, in one way or another, will enhance the guest experience. A classic, nonetheless hot topic this year was ''guest communication'', something that every hotelier interests. But what is new and trending in this subject? We tell you all about it in this article!
Improve communication during the stay
Nowadays, most interaction with the guest happens before the guest arrives (confirmation reservation for example) and after they leave (“thank you for your stay, how would you rate us?”). The remarkable part is that communication during the visit is minimal. During the ITB, multiple applications were presented that make communication with your guests during the stay more easy and accessible.
Different kind of applications came by, one of them consisted of a tablet, which replaces the telephone and remote control. On the tablet, you can directly chat with the front office team and the other way around. Whenever you need anything or have a question: you can easily communicate with each other. In our opinion, it is an exciting development since it makes it more appealing to pro-actively check with your guests if they need additional information or services.
The importance of live feedback
Usually, the guest will give you feedback after their stay, but why wouldn’t you ask for feedback during their stay? Asking feedback during the stay results in a higher amount of responses compared to when you are asking for feedback after the stay. It also results in higher rating scores, because issues can be solved directly.
“Hi Marc, I can see you checked in an hour ago. Does the room meet your expectations?”
When Marc replies with a “no”, you still have the chance to fix the situation. Halfway the stay you can ask again if everything is according to his wishes.
''Hello Marc, did you already find the extra towels in the bathroom? Can we be of any more help at this moment?''.
Marc can for example reply by ticking on the happy, neutral or sad smiley face, so you will know if he is satisfied at that moment. When Marc checks out, he receives a last question:
''Thank you for staying with us Marc, we hope to see you again! What would you tell others about your stay at our hotel?''
It is just an idea of how live feedback could work, but we think it is a fantastic tool for hoteliers. We have also seen applications that can post the messages on review websites (Booking.com or Google for example), which is easy for the guest and great for you!
It’s all about personalisation
Sometimes it might feel like all properties at Airbnb have a more personal experience than your hotel accommodation. You can see the house owner is named Carolin; she is a wonderful host, knows everything about the city and the personal communication beforehand was great too. However, the stay at Carolin's house is not necessarily more personal than any other accommodation, because you might never meet Carolin in real live (you can find the key of the door in a locked box). In a hotel, there is always an excellent front office team to welcome the guests, so that is where you as a hotelier already have the first advantage.
Personalisation is essential, also if you are hotelier of a big hotel (chain). Use a unique email address when communicating with the guest (no info-address), introduce the team to the guest (who is who?) and make sure to talk about the team instead of the hotel. An example:
Confirmation e-mail (
Warm greetings from the SmartHOTEL team! I am Chantal and I will be your first point of contact during the stay. In case you can't find me at the desk, my colleagues Marijke or Sebastiaan are more than happy to help you as well. Marijke is a local, she knows literally all about the city and is happy to tell you about the must-sees.
In the above example, you make clear your hotel is not a robot, but that there is an enthusiastic team ready to welcome the guest. You also tell a bit more about the team, which makes the experience even more personal. It is just an example, but this way you can beat the Airbnb properties because you are at least as personal as they are.
Want to know more?
Summarised, be more available for the guest and technology can help you with this. If you would like some examples of applications that can help you with this, please contact us. At the ITB Berlin, we have seen and spoken to many companies that can help you improve your service, and we are happy to tell you about them.
For more than 16 years, SmartHOTEL has been helping hoteliers navigate the exciting world of online distribution. From our office based in the Netherlands, our team serves independent hotels, hostels and chains worldwide by providing channel management and tailored online distribution solutions. A lot has changed over the last years, but our goal remains the same: simply connect hotels to the world. For any questions regarding our services, please contact us at email@example.com or call +31 (0)182 75 11 18.