Market trends and rates are too often the focal points for hoteliers. While tech-driven analytics and metrics, like Average Daily Rate (ADR), provide important insights, they miss an essential element – guest satisfaction.
The South African hospitality industry is brimming with technology and talent, utilising analytics engines to determine the market positioning of hotels. This tech-savvy approach offers a comprehensive view of pricing strategies, allowing operators and investors to understand their market segment. Yet, while this is important, a disconnect seemingly persists between room rates and expected market share growth.
Today, when room rates are posted through various revenue channels – from online platforms like Booking.com to walk-in guests – the primary aim is to gain a larger market share. And while setting an attractive ADR is vital, it doesn't always translate to understanding and ensuring guest satisfaction.
Hoteliers must realise that market share doesn't just grow by setting competitive rates. The ADR, though essential, is only a numerical representation of pricing trends. To genuinely secure and expand market share, hoteliers need to focus on the satisfaction of every guest, whether they're staying overnight or just dining in the hotel's restaurant.
Big hotel brands, with vast room inventories and global branding, naturally dominate the market. Yet, even for them, the guest who splurges on a premium suite expects impeccable service, irrespective of the hotel's reputation.
Return on Guest Satisfaction
A critical metric that hotel management needs to prioritise is Return on Guest Satisfaction (ROGS). This isn't just about quantifying guest happiness; it's about ensuring every guest perceives added value from their stay. This approach directly influences their loyalty and likelihood to return, impacting the market share. Surprisingly, many hotel companies fail to align guest satisfaction with financial performance, leading to potential market share losses.
For the hospitality industry to thrive and maintain its market presence, it urgently needs to emphasise guest satisfaction. So how is this achieved?
Hoteliers should introduce ROGS to teams that interact directly with guests. This metric ensures that teams continuously strive to meet and exceed guest expectations. Once guest feedback and satisfaction scores are collected, they should be integrated into frameworks that showcase the hotel's position in delivering top-tier guest service.
Achieving a good mix of occupancy and ADR is essential, but it's the reputation of guest service that has a lasting impact on revenue. A guest's experience during their stay can influence market share significantly in the long run.
Hotel owners and management teams must regularly check in with operational heads, ensuring guest satisfaction isn't overshadowed by metrics like ADR and occupancy.
Of course, getting the experience side of the equation also bears relooking at.
Smart hotels smart technology
Smart hotels need to look at smart technology. Using AI or machine learning can help to understand guest preferences. When they book a room, tailor the experience – from preferred room temperature to the type of pillow they like.
More guests are environmentally conscious these days, so adopting eco-friendly measures like solar panels, rainwater harvesting, and zero-waste initiatives is beneficial.
Partnering with local businesses to offer unique experiences is also a value add. This might be a culinary tour of the neighbourhood, local craft classes, or off-the-beaten-path excursions.
These days more travellers are focused on well-being. Offering yoga classes, meditation zones and spa treatments using natural local ingredients can be a significant draw.
In an uncertain global climate, offering flexible cancellation without hefty penalties can provide peace of mind to guests.
And from ordering room service through an app to using QR codes for information brochures, the need for physical contact, enhancing guest safety and convenience can be easily introduced.