13 February 2017

What does your customer really want?


Running an accommodation business can be tricky and what customers desire will greatly depend on whether you’re offering a luxury, economy or budget establishment. Any customer will value price, reputation, location and room quality when choosing a place to stay but offer no guarantee of winning repeat business. To achieve long term success, a business must identify which group of visitors it wants to attract and then offer an experience that is totally tailored towards that group. So what do customers really look for when booking accommodation?

The key to success is engaging your customers. Engaged customers are far less worried about pricing. An emotional attachment to a brand will mean that customers will pay for an experience no matter what segment of the market it’s in. A customer’s attachment to a brand outweighs any price concerns. Guests of luxury, high-end establishments were the most engaged of those surveyed with economy guests being the least engaged.

Creating a customer life begins with their first stay. Apart from all the usual requirements such as quality, convenience and price – companies must look at ways of enticing new customers. For luxury stays, customers are attracted by the atmosphere and the look and feel of a place, trusting their own judgment when it comes to booking. Guests of cheaper places were more influenced by others when booking a place for the first time, going by information on the company’s website, reviews and opinions of family and friends. Economy customers went solely by brand reputation. For a Luxury B&B Northern Ireland, visit www.ashbrook-house.co.uk.

Repeat business will therefore rely not so much on brand loyalty but needs to won by staff providing them with a reliable service, solving their problems and enthusiastically responding to their needs right from the word go. You might be surprised to learn that customers who have problems resolved can be more engaged with an establishment than guests who encountered no problems during their stay. Price is not the most important element in repeat booking for luxury guests but service reliability and problem solving is. Economy guests will look at price above all else but still value responsive staff.

What does your customer really want

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Amenities that are offered should be meaningful and not simply a form of ‘gold plating’ which costs more but adds no value to an experience. Such amenities as a hotel retail shop, bar, in-room dining and concierge service were all deemed as expendable by guests who would rather not have these and pay less. Guests were also happy to forgo valet parking, robes and an in-room bar for lower costs. However, they were willing to pay more for things like better internet connection, comfortable beds and helpful staff. Economy guests would also pay more for an improved television set in the room.

The most important thing about winning repeat custom is the experience that your guests receive when they first arrive. Staff need to be able to handle issues with ease, be reliable and responsive to the customer’s needs. Creating this engaging, emotional attachment becomes more important than price and brand reputation for many paying visitors and it’s this that you need to capitalise on.