The Impact of Guest Emotions on Hotel Revenue

Sidona Group’s Anne Blackburn shares strategies for understanding guest emotions.

NOTE: This article was originally published in the Q3 2014 edition of Hotel Industry Magazine.

The Guest Experience is the competitive battleground for all hoteliers.

As meeting guests’ emotional needs is 70% of the guest experience, it more important than ever to go to greater depths to understand how guests feel about you.

What are their emotional drivers and how can you use this intelligence to anticipate their needs, identify new revenue opportunities and create profitable experiences?

Understanding how to evoke positive emotions for your guests will enable you to create powerful memories for them that they want to share.

Emotions help create memories. Memories create stories. Positive memories and stories drive revenue as guests become an advocate for your property.

Going beyond the usual guest feedback channels such as apps, text, email and paper surveys is necessary to get inside the minds of your guests.

Here are four key actions you can take.

1. Understand your guests’ emotional journey

You need to identify what emotions your guests value at the key touch points in their journey with you and also those they want to avoid.

No hotel deliberately sets out to create negative emotions for guests, but it happens, and you need to know what those are so you can work out how to eliminate or reduce their impact.

For example; guests might want to feel excited when making enquiries, seek reassurance and stimulation pre-arrival, feel valued and special during their visit.

They probably don’t want to feel part of a process on arrival or feel hurried or dissatisfied on departure.

Most importantly what memories will those emotions create for guests and what stories will they tell about you?
Good ones or bad ones?

2. Competitor Intelligence

Ask your most profitable guests where else they stay or would like to stay.

Be brave and ask them what they like and don’t like about your competitors and why.

As well as visiting competitors yourself, follow them on all social media channels and monitor their Trip Advisor feedback closely.

Compare it carefully with your own. This will identify the things that guests most value, what they like to tell stories about and what upsets them.

3. Listen to staff

Let them know you want to receive guest feedback daily. Ask them to plot trends in guest perceptions, emotions and behaviour and be active listeners.

Hold weekly staff listening groups or start an internal feedback system, anonymous if necessary, so you capture in the moment guest thoughts from staff.

4. Develop a critical guest.

You need to know what it really feels like to be your own guest. Ideally, when you are not on duty, invite critical friends to experience your hotel journey from enquiry to post departure.

The de-brief should evaluate all your hotel processes, staff interactions and emotions evoked.

How easy are you to do business with? How committed and caring are the staff? How knowledgeable are they? How special and valued do they make guests feel?

You can clearly assess the physical aspects of the hotel yourself, it’s identifying and managing the emotional element of your guest experience that you need feedback on.

Perceptions, needs and competitors constantly change, so this needs to be an ongoing part of your hotel business strategy and drive your leadership decisions.

Especially your recruitment, training and development plans to ensure your teams demonstrate the right attitudes, behaviours and language that create unique and profitable guest experiences.

NOTE: This article was originally published in the Q3 2014 edition of Hotel Industry Magazine.

About Anne Blackburn: Anne is the co- founder of the award winning Sidona Group. As Customer Experience Director, Anne specialises in mystery guest programmes, guest research, learning design and conference speaking.

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