6 ways to get the most out of your limited-service hotel

Your limited-service hotel does not have to be a four or five-star property to be ranked at the top of your market. Even if you do not have marble counter tops or superior finishes, it doesn't mean you can't configure your property's operations to be highly rated like a luxury hotel.  

Today's proliferation of instant communication makes it easy for guests to review your hotel and either encourage others to stay with you or steer them away. Here are six tips on how to achieve a no. 1 ranking from your customers:

1. Energize the Front Desk

The front desk staff is usually the first point of contact upon arrival. They set the tone for your guests' stay. When hiring front desk agents, personality and attitude are more important than experience. You can always train hotel processes and procedures, but it is difficult to change someone's personality and behavior. A simple smile will help provide a friendly atmosphere for your customers. Top-tier properties often require all employees to greet guests by saying "good morning, afternoon or evening," and use the guest's name. You should too. It costs nothing, but can go a long way to improving customer reviews.

2. It's All In the Details

Train all employees to pay attention to the details. No detail is too small when leaving a good impression. Examples are: Picking up trash on the floor, reducing clutter at the front desk and displaying professional signage. No hand written "Out of Order" signs! Let your team see you taking care of the little things to make your property the best it can be. It helps to train by example. If the owner and managers do it, employees will too.

3. Incentivize Going Above and Beyond

Incentivize front desk agents to get 5-star reviews with the employee's own name referenced in the review. This will allow you to track who deserves the incentive which can be movie tickets, gift cards or cash. It only takes a little recognition and reward for the staff to focus on encouraging guests to write positive feedback. 

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4. Offer Perks

Provide small inexpensive perks that a competitor wouldn't offer. These can include an extra breakfast item or cookies in the evenings  Most guests like to partake if there is a bowl of mints or chocolates in the lobby. Little things are the key to giving your guests a good experience and differentiating yourself from the competition.

5. Empower Staff

If the front desk receives a complaint, agents should be empowered to fix it and make the guest happy right away.  It is also worthwhile for the manager to follow up with a courtesy call to ensure everything was handled to the guest's satisfaction. In today's busy world, receiving personal attention is almost non-existent. We pump our own gas, scan our own groceries, and communicate by email and text messages. Isn't it great when someone personally acknowledges you and makes sure you have an outstanding experience?

6. Don't Sit On Repairs

When equipment stops working, such as a washing machine, boiler or an elevator, get it repaired right away. Even if it might be costly, it will be beneficial in the long run. Also, small items should be fixed quickly. For example, immediately change light bulbs when they go out. Avoid frustrating guests, which can lead to negative reviews.  

Higher rankings frequently lead to higher revenues.  Not all reviews will be 5-stars, but the sooner you implement the recommendations above the sooner your hotel will rise to no. 1.

Alex Kramer is president of Elite Hotel Group, a Management & Consulting company helping limited service hotels.