The best sign of a great business is having repeat guests. By giving your visitors a great experience, this will hopefully make them eager to return, and this is just as important as attracting new business. What can you do to make sure that every person who steps through your doors leaves ready to come back in but a moment’s notice?
Surprise and delight
As clichéd as it may sound, going the extra mile for your customers is something that doesn’t go unnoticed and really pays off. Not only do you get a personal sense of satisfaction, but your customer is far more likely to stay again and recommend you to others.
On top of your great hospitality, give your guests further reason to come back and stay. It can be a big gesture with a special guest chef over weekend or personal touches dotted around guests’ rooms will remind them that they’re thought of, such as leaving them welcome chocolates on their pillows or having a whole array of herbal teas as well as the standard cup of brown joy available to them.
Make them feel No1
More ideas to make you guests feel like number one? For example, drum up some fantastic offers in order to bring in some low season business, and why not contact your previous customers first? You may recall a couple who mentioned they were planning on returning to your area in February– why not get in touch and give them a heads up on your Valentine’s weekend offer which includes a bottle of their favourite wine?
If you take great pride in the food you offer and need to trial your latest menu, then why not ask some guests to sample your new dishes during their stay? Not only will they love the offer of free food, but the fact that their opinion is so important to you will mean so much more.
When the time comes to wave your guests off after a great stay, and they’re ready to head off home, be sure to ask them how their stay was. Check that everything was to their satisfaction – simply having a great stay will entice them back!
However, sometimes things can go a little pear-shaped. If a guest has a slightly less than perfect stay for whatever reason, then try to sort out any problems they might have had, so they still go home as happy as possible.
Keep in touch
Once your guests have enjoyed their stay at your pub, you’ll want to keep in touch with them after they leave. They may find themselves wanting to come back purely based on the experience they had, but you could always give them a little nudge into booking another stay.
Lucky for you, there are several ways to ignite the sparks of friendship once your guests depart, most important of which is… asking them to sign up to your email newsletter. When it comes to check-out time, you should ask all your visitors if they’d be interested in receiving it on a monthly basis, for example. The advantage being that you can offer discount stays, half-price afternoon tea and the like, whilst making sure these deals are exclusive to the newsletter.
Be social with your guests
In the modern era, one of the best ways to touch base with your ex-guests is to engage with them on social media. It’s a great place to build relationships with guests – old and new – as well as sharing images, asking for feedback and generally showing your fun side! As you build a rapport with the host of people there, they’ll trust you more and more, and will hopefully go on to book another stay.
Top 5 places to advertise your social side:
So you’ve set up your social media profiles, how do you let people know that they exist? Here are a few great places to showcase them:
- On your email newsletter
- In your email signature
- On your website
- On your business cards
- On any other online pages (e.g. Trip Advisor)
The online word of mouth
TripAdvisor is another great place to stay in touch with guests who have stayed with you before. As a website with over 160 million users who share reviews of guest houses, hotels and the like, it’s a very relevant place to build up a reputation.
If a user leaves a good review then be appreciative and reply to them; similarly if a user leaves a bad review of a stay at your guest house, reply to them. Reassure them you are taking their feedback seriously, and that you will look into it in more detail.
Perhaps you could entice them back to give your pub another go? If customers can see that you take complaints just as seriously as they do, then you will find it easier to turn a negative into a positive – it shows you really care about them and your reputation.
Becoming best buddies with your pub guests is a great way to see them come through your front door time and time again. Remember, it’s the little things that go a long way to make you stand head and shoulders above your competition!