It’s great to see so many small businesses flourishing on TripAdvisor with the recent Certificates of Excellence. What does it take to get one? We are privileged to have a special view of the accommodation business chatting to thousands of owners across the world. On the whole customers openly share their success to help others get ahead.
When you look around at the independent B&Bs and guest houses that are winning there are a few things that seem to make all the difference to their guests.
Their welcome is warm, friendly, unique – it sets the tone for the stay. You, the host, make all the difference…. unlike some large corporate hotel chains where you’re “checked-in” by a machine ! That’s a huge advantage straight away, use that encounter to understand the guest, they are all different – some want to chat, take advice etc. others may not.
They have a small “flourish” at check-in that’s worth it’s weight in gold….a fresh pot of tea, some home baking, interesting events for them to see, something local ?
Their “wow factor” often comes from plain old attention to detail. Having everything spotless is a good starting point and then its lots of very small things done well….that add up. In elite sports it’s called “marginal differences” i.e. the type of bed the athlete sleeps on, the liquids they drink, the make up of their diet, added together all of these 100s of things can mean the difference between a gold or silver medal on the day!
They are “great” at something (most people are!) and they show it off, differentiating themselves from the “crowd” and creating a memorable experience…something guests want to tell their friends about. It could be flower arranging, local history, gardening, baking bread, carpentry, telling jokes….
They think of their guest all the way, anticipating their needs….if they are in a “walking area” they provide advice or maps, if guests need to eat out they know which restaurants do what food best. By spending time with their guests they are better able to understand how to make their stay just that little bit more memorable.
If you do all this you need to understand that although this level of “service” is natural to you it is also a real part of your marketing plan, so make the most of it. Ask for a review and respond to them on TripAdvisor (all types), it shows you care but it’s also a fantastic source of marketing information. You will find out what “made the difference” in the eyes (and words) of your guests.
Essentially, “the host” seems to make the difference, not the free wi-fi or parking, so organising your time around the guest is critical. The best in the game know this, they clear their “admin” desk, use technology to the max – they don’t waste time processing bookings, typing in payments, updating booking systems …. instead they invest the time saved delivering a friendly, unique and memorable experience… it pays off!
Some winning accommodation owners case studies for further reading