The development of communication systems, especially the internet, has made it possible for products from millions of companies to reach all kinds of audiences in almost every corner of the world. Increasingly innovative and attractive web pages advertising countless products and services appear every day.
A Hotel is a company. Therefore, guests are its main clients. High occupancy rates must be achieved to ensure success. Many hotels have developed unique products whose high quality standards have contributed to increasing retention and loyalty rates. Customized services offer the possibility of achieving high quality standards, generating positive overall satisfaction levels by turning the stay into a fulfilling experience in itself.
All of us have been tourists in one way or another. After a pleasant experience, we have felt the need to share our trip with our family and friends. This is where one of the most important ways of promotion starts: word of mouth.
Word of mouth continues to be, according to experts, the most decisive factor when it comes to choosing the destination and the place of stay. One of the main advantages of this kind of promotion lies in its low cost, as it is the guest who bears most of it: the time consumed and the interest in communicating his/her experience to a group of people who might be in turn motivated to go through it themselves. Another advantage is its high impact, as the level of credibility that a member of the family or friend has cannot be matched by any other promotion strategy, thus turning it into a powerful tool.
The expectations of the new guest who chose the hotel on the basis of this kind of promotion shall be determined by the level of satisfaction experienced by the person who recommended the hotel + the expectations of the new guest (real or imaginary) regarding the experience promoted.
If, before the arrival of the new guest, the identity of the person who recommended the hotel is known, it is possible to determine, through the analysis of the guest's profile, his/her level of experience and, particularly, the means by which it was attained, so that it can be reproduced or adapted to the new guest, thus ensuring the same level of service or even a better one. Therefore, the expectations of the new guest can be satisfied, turning him/her into another guest who will in turn attract more guests.
There are several means by which hotel employees may obtain the identity of the guest who recommended the hotel by word of mouth: from direct questions on the on-line reservation form, polls-questionnaires or through the hotel butler while assisting the guests. This information is valuable for the hotel, as it primarily allows creating customer valuation policies aimed at stimulating the guests' need to share their experiences after the trip.
If a guest checks out from a Hotel feeling that all his/her expectations have been met and even exceeded, he/she will become one of the company's best allies, as his/her positive comments will attract new guests who are willing to go through the same experience themselves.
Osvaldo Torres Cruz
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