According to recent studies, the estimated cost to gain a new customer is five to eight times more than simply retaining your existing customers. This is no surprise considering the costs of advertising, marketing, and sales people used to attract new customers. The number one reason that many customers fail to return to a business is because they feel unappreciated, which is why your establishment should place as strong of an emphasis on retaining it’s existing customers as it does on gaining new ones. Here are some steps you can take in order to accomplish this:

1. Last impressions. It’s important to make sure that your guests are left with a lasting impression and know that you appreciate their business after their stay with you. Even a sincere thank you can go a long way. Consider leaving your guests with a parting gift, such as a small box of truffles or a jar of jam with your logo as a personalized thank you and something they can remember you by. For an even more personalized gift, handwrite a thank you that is tailored especially to your guest.
2. Keep in touch. Don’t allow your guests to forget about you after their stay, even if they do only come back once a year. Keep in touch throughout the year, keeping them up to date on the latest activities and news of your hotel, letting them know you’re looking forward to their next visit. A great way to do with without sending emails, which many tend to just delete, is to create a social media presence by making updates, running contests, and posting pictures on various social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
3. Reward their loyalty with exclusive deals. For guests that are a part of your loyalty program, design special packages or deals that are just for them. This shows your appreciation for their loyalty, prompting them to choose to stay with you rather than your competitors more often. Offers that are made for new customers only are normally a huge turn off to loyal guests.
4. Understand their needs. Listen carefully to your guests so that you understand exactly what they want and need. As a manager, you should be present in your hotel, walking around the premises and speaking with guests to build trust. By doing this, they are much more likely to inform you of what they like and don’t like about your establishment and what should be improved.
5. Ask for feedback. Even if a guest is a regular and stays with you often, don’t take that for granted – they have feedback for you too. Ask them for feedback, and fix any issues they have observed as quickly as possible. Negative feedback creates an opportunity for you to exceed expectations, show your dedication to your guests, and let them know that you do care about their opinion. Promote face-to-face interaction – start a casual conversation with a guest, and then ask if they enjoyed their stay and what they would like to see improved for their next visit. When there is an issue, keep your guest updated and inform them when it has been resolved.
6. Train your staff. Your staff should have the appropriate training and tools in order to provide the level of service that your guests expect and deserve. Your staff should be able to recognize loyal guests and handle any complaints that may come their way. By having confidence and authority, your staff will appear more professional, leading to more trust from your guests. If your staff is able to resolve a negative situation without your assistance, that’s even better.

The hospitality industry is all about retaining your loyal guests and having them choose to stay with you every time. So when you see an opportunity to wow your guest, take it – it could make the difference between that guest returning or choosing to stay with one of your competitors. The Best Western MarketPlace works to keep your business running smoothly and helping you keep guests coming back time and time again. Click here to learn more about how the Best Western MarketPlace can benefit your hotel.