Transform the Guest Experience: Tips and Strategies for 2023

Lexi DeMers
Lexi DeMers
10 May 2023
Two guests checking in at the front desk of a hostel.

Updated: 16 Apr 2024

If you want to run a thriving hotel, retreat, or adventure-travel business, you’ll need to do more than simply provide guests with a place to rest their heads; you’ll need to provide an experience. Cultivating a great guest experience is what drives repeat visits, positive reviews, and word-of-mouth referrals.

In fact, a study from Gartner shows that customer experience accounts for more than two-thirds of customer loyalty, which is more than the combined effects of price and brand. To help you provide a seamless experience for your guests, we created this guide. In it, we'll cover how to elevate the guest experience, mistakes to avoid, and why creating a great guest experience matters.

What Is Guest Experience?

Guest experience refers to the interactions and impressions a guest has with your business, which spans from the initial booking process to the moment they check out. It encompasses all aspects of a guest's stay, including their booking experience, their interactions with staff, the quality of their room, the amenities offered, the organization of activities, and the overall level of service they receive.

The 4 Stages of the Guest Experience 

The guest experience can be broken down into four stages: pre-arrival, arrival, stay, and departure. Each stage presents an opportunity to enhance the guest experience and leave a lasting impression.

  • Pre-arrival. This stage of the guest experience includes the booking process and communication leading up to the guest's arrival. It's important to make this process as seamless and personalized as possible.

  • Arrival. The check-in process sets the tone for the guest's stay. Make sure to keep it simple, offer consistent quality, and keep everything well organized. 

  • StayDuring their stay, you should aim to not only meet but exceed guest expectations.  During their stay, guests should feel cared for and attended to.

  • Departure. The checkout process should be just as seamless as the check-in process. You want guests’ final experience with your business to be pleasant.

    Increase conversions and provide a better booking experience for guests with Bookinglayer.

8 Ways to Elevate the Entire Guest Experience From Booking to Checkout

A guest talking to a receptionist while checking in at a hotel. Even things as small as a long check-in process and negatively affect the guest experience. 

As an operator in hospitality, the quality of your tour, retreat, or hotel guest experience can make or break your business. As such, building an exceptional guest experience is at the forefront of everything you do. The eight tips below will help you improve your service from booking to check out and heighten every guest’s experience. 

Create an Optimized Booking Process

The booking process is one of the first experiences your guests have with your business. As such, it is important to use a booking system that allows guests to configure, book, and pay for their holidays with ease. Having a streamlined booking process can help you improve the guest experience and get more bookings overall. 

Offer Customized Experiences 

When it comes to curating an exceptional guest experience, personalized touches can make a big difference. Offering tailored experiences and amenities can enhance the guest experience and leave a lasting impression. 

In fact, in a survey conducted by Epsilon, 80 per cent of respondents stated that the availability of personalized experiences made them more likely to do business with a company. You can offer tailored upselling opportunities through your booking system, allowing guests to select the extras that will make their stay extra special. 

Establish Good Pre-Arrival Messages

To set up guests for an excellent stay, prioritize your pre-arrival guest communication. Pre-arrival messages should be friendly and timely and provide guests will all of the essential information they need to make the most of their holiday. You can include packing lists, welcome messages, and check-in instructions. Further, automating these messages provides consistency and ensures that every guest receives timely communication. 

Keep the Check-In Process Simple

Avoid hassling guests with a bunch of tasks right when they arrive. Taking care of things like payment and waivers online helps make arrivals more enjoyable. You want your guests’ check-in experience to be relaxing, organized, and quick. This way, after what may be a long journey, guests can start settling in and enjoying your services. 

Offer Consistent Quality 

From the booking process to check in to departure, offering consistent quality to your guests is essential in providing a great guest experience. Across the board, your communications should be welcoming and informative. Use tools like booking systems and task managers to make sure that your team is on the same page. 

Lastly, make sure you deliver everything that you advertise. For example, if you advertise that you have kayaks and hammocks available for guests, make sure that they are indeed available and in good condition.

Customize your booking process from start to finish with Bookinglayer.

Keep Everything Well Organized

A well-organized business will always provide a better guest experience than a disorderly one. The more you can allow guests to select and schedule during the booking process, the more organised you can get before they even arrive. When guests can already book lessons, massages, and special meals online, then you can assign instructors, reserve rooms, and plan menus well ahead of time. 

Check in and Ask for Feedback 

Checking in with your guests and asking for feedback is a great way to ensure your guests are enjoying their experience, and it also offers you the opportunity to course correct if they are not. While you don’t want to check in too often, simply asking your guests if they need anything is an easy way to make them feel valued. 

Show Care Even After Guests Leave 

Following up with a thank you email or survey can help you show guests that you care about their experience and are committed to providing excellent service. Making guests feel valued, even after they have paid and left, is a way to encourage them to return again. 

Don't Make These Guest Experience Mistakes 

If you want to improve the guest experience quickly, avoid making the three mistakes below. If you correct these mistakes, you can not only enhance your guests’ experiences but also increase revenue. 

  • Unpersonalized communication. With a wide variety of email and SMS tools available today, personalising your guest communications is easy. Plus, if you link such tools with your online reservation system, you can send out automated personalized messages. 

  • Underutilizing technology. Many businesses underutilize technology, which is a mistake that costs them money and also leads to a suboptimal guest experience. To avoid this mistake, take advantage of tools like booking systems, management software, and payment gateways to streamline your operations and services.

  • Not upselling. If you are passing up the opportunity to upsell, you are doing both your business and your guests a great disservice. Upselling not only helps ensure that your guests can make the most of the holiday, but it also helps you increase the value of your average booking. 

Why Cultivating a Great Guest Experience Matters

Especially in the hospitality industry, the guest experience you provide will determine whether your business is successful or not. In fact, customer experience is so important that a study conducted by Deloitte found that customers with a positive experience will spend 140 per cent more. So, if you want a thriving hospitality business, focus on improving your guest experience. 

The Guest Experience Starts With the Booking Process

A women booking a retreat online using an online reservation system.The booking processes play a significant role in setting up a great guest experience. 

As mentioned earlier, your website and booking process are your first opportunities to start the guest experience out on the right foot. A confusing, slow, or inconvenient booking process may leave a bad impression and can even result in abandoned bookings. This is why it is crucial to offer your guests a seamless, efficient, and empowering booking experience. 

Improve Your Guests' Experiences With Bookinglayer

Bookinglayer specializes in offering a dynamic, customized, and user-friendly booking process for businesses that offer accommodation and activities. With our powerful Booking Engine, you can accept direct reservations and empower guests to manage their bookings independently. Plus, you can sell packages, process payments, and get access to financial reporting. 

With our Customer Portal, you can collect essential guest information, such as diets and transfer details, and have guests sign digital waivers. In addition, you can use Bookinglayer’s Backoffice to automate guest communication, schedule sessions, assign instructors, and more. Streamline operations, save time, and focus on creating unforgettable moments for your guests.

Discover the transformative potential of Bookinglayer by scheduling a demo today. Elevate your guests' experiences and unlock new possibilities for your business with Bookinglayer's intuitive platform. Your guests deserve extraordinary, and we're here to help you deliver it.

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Guest Experience FAQ

How to enhance the guest experience in hotels?

You can enhance the guest experience in hotels through small actions such as personalized messages, a seamless check-in process, and well-organized operations. Your hotel guest experience will also improve if all your staff are on the same page and can see an overview of what guests have booked so that they can accommodate them accordingly. 

How do you create a guest experience?

You can create a good guest experience by offering efficient processes for booking, check in, and check out, being welcoming and friendly throughout their stay, and making it easy for guests to communicate and get in touch with you. 

How technology can help improve the hotel guest experience?

Leveraging technology is an excellent way to improve your hotel’s guest experience and boost revenue. Utilizing software solutions like online reservation systems and task managers allows you to dramatically reduce the time spent on administration tasks and eliminate human errors. 

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