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Leveraging the hotel’s web-based Guest App to gauge satisfaction early in the guest journey will go a long way in improving net promoter scores and showing guests and staff that you care

By Thomas Zarikian

As a hotelier, it’s my job to ensure that guests have an excellent time from the moment they enter our doors or engage with staff. We often think about the front desk as the point of first impressions, but we can easily forget other guest service touchpoints, from airport shuttle service and guest parcel storage/retrieval to room service ordering and request fulfillment. As we all know, it is very hard to run a glitch-free operation. Even when we try to anticipate problems and put safeguards in place, something inevitably happens that turns a potentially perfect stay into a negative online review.

I believe that all hoteliers share the knowledge that no matter how smooth the operation runs, eventually something will fail. I will also venture to say that not all hoteliers think or understand that what matters most to the guest is not the flawlessness of the experience itself, but how a glitch is addressed and rectified. The sooner management can address the glitch, the better the chances of the hotel getting a positive review and avoiding a bad one altogether. One of the best ways to achieve great customer satisfaction is to connect with guests using the hotel’s web-based GuestApp while they are still onsite and before they can post online reviews.

Digital communication is key. If you wait until the guest has checked out to request feedback, it is probably too late to make amends in case anything went wrong. Assessing guest satisfaction on day one equips management with vital information, enabling them to turn a potentially negative situation into a positive online review.

Proactive guest messaging sets the tone for the rest of the stay. When problems are ignored by management, they usually end up as a nasty review where tens of thousands of travelers will surely read about them online. If you can capture feedback before guests leave, make amends, and then invite them to come back, they will oblige simply because you showed that you care.

If hoteliers wants to get excellent online ratings, they can no longer see guests as just heads in beds. Each traveler is to be valued — especially with today’s industry state. As stewards of hospitality, we owe it to those staying in our rooms to be treated as if they were staying in our homes.

Using the hotel’s Guest App for early two-way communication is key to building loyalty. Ask, “Is there anything you need?” “Can I make a recommendation for dinner?” “Would you like us to put your favorite bottle of wine in your room this evening?” Each interaction builds a more detailed guest history and enables hotel teams to provide even better hospitality.

Even after guests check out, conversations do not need to end. One or two days after departure, send guests a customized email asking them to rate their overall experience based on one to five stars, and if they would recommend the hotel to others. Gathering this information is essential for net promoter scores. Then, ask guests to tell you about their experience in their own words.

Surveys Drive Human Interaction
If you want people to engage with you, take the first step and reach out to them. This is especially appreciated when guests use mobile keys to bypass the front desk at check-in. It is important to know someone is there, even if they don’t want to interact face to face. In this way, the hotel’s Guest App provides a human connection, even for the most socially distant traveler. When guests decide to go back to a city or place, they will always choose an accommodation where they feel valued. Leveraging the Guest App for two-way communication is an excellent service and engagement differentiator.

Ensuring that the hotel’s Guest App is task-based is key to engagement and better online reviews. For example, a guest will rarely want to randomly chat with front desk staff; they have other things to do. But, if they want or need something, that’s when conversations begin. Having a text-based, but task-oriented Guest App will enable travelers to reach out and order food, request the Wi-Fi password, ask for more towels or a forgotten amenity, etc. When the conversation resides within the Guest App, it creates a ticket system for staff and a paper trail for management to audit should questions arise in the future about how requests were managed.

A properly designed Guest App can be the Holy Grail of hospitality. It can serve as an extension of the hotel’s guest services team — almost like having a concierge in one’s pocket. With just a touch, guests have access to information and people when they need it. They can immediately rectify problems and gain peace of mind that a live person is standing by to meet their every need.

Guest Apps can also be leveraged to mitigate issues and prevent complaints from happening altogether. If a staff member sees an issue with equipment or furnishings, they can report the issue in full detail within the Guest App. This is a quick way to get issues in front of the right people before a guest can complain.

It’s amazing how empowered hotel employees feel when you give them the tools needed to do their jobs easier and more efficiently. At a time when loyalty and retention are vital to keeping doors open, making associates feel part of the team is critical. Leveraging the hotel Guest App to give employees a voice is an easy way to boost morale and heighten guest service.

 
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Canada’s monthly hotel performance improved once again from the previous month and showed better indexed comparisons, according to STR’s April 2022 data.

April 2022 (percentage change from April 2019)

Occupancy: 57.6% (-7.3%)

Average daily rate (ADR): CAD155.80 (+2.5%)

Revenue per available room (RevPAR): CAD89.72 (-5.0%)

“Canada experienced its sixth wave of COVID cases in April, but the lack of restrictions allowed hotel performance recovery to remain strong and steady,” said Laura Baxter, CoStar Group’s director of hospitality analytics for Canada. CoStar Group is the parent company of STR.

“When looking at weekly performance throughout April, the RevPAR index ranged between 85-98% of 2019 levels, with many lagging segments starting to rebound,” Baxter said. “Weekend demand continued to lead recovery, driven by leisure travelers. Demand, in fact, has been so strong that weekend occupancy reached pre-pandemic levels for the first time during the month. Weekday results still lag, but dramatic improvements are taking place, signaling the return of corporate travel. From Tuesday to Thursday, occupancy was roughly four percentage points ahead of the previous month. In urban locations, this growth accelerated to eight percentage points each of those days. Additionally, monthly group demand reached its highest level of the pandemic -era.

“In addition to an increase in corporate travel, there are more events taking place in major cities, helping some of the most negatively impacted areas. High-profile events such as the World Rugby Sevens in Vancouver and additional sporting events in Toronto helped overall performance in April. Annual favorites such as the Tulip Festival in Ottawa and the upcoming Grand Prix in Montreal are also returning, creating the right environment for urban hotels to thrive.”

Among the provinces and territories, British Columbia recorded the highest April occupancy level (66.5%), which was 2.1% below the pre-pandemic comparable.

Among the major markets, Vancouver saw the highest occupancy (75.5%), which was a 4.8% decline from 2019.

 

The lowest occupancy among provinces was reported in Prince Edward Island (42.6%), down 24.3% against 2019. At the market level, the lowest occupancy was reported in Ottawa (-18.0% to 54.3%).

“The ADR outlook for 2022 is now much stronger and full recovery is expected in 2023 in nominal terms,” Baxter said. “The possibility of a recession will be a downside risk, but pent-up travel demand due to the lack of restrictions will bolster performance in the short term.”

 
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In honour of Earth Month, the team at Inn at Laurel Point is celebrating its status as BC’s first carbon-neutral hotel by launching a new Carbon-Neutral Events Program, to the roster of eco-friendly initiatives offered at the waterfront hotel in the heart of downtown Victoria.

As part of its 10-year vision to continue leading the charge towards a sustainable future, the hotel has teamed up with Victoria non-profit Synergy Enterprises to formulate its new Carbon-Neutral Events program, available from today.

Inn at Laurel Point already offsets the carbon footprint for guests staying at the hotel, but this new package includes a toolkit that will enable Inn at Laurel Point to help event planners calculate their carbon footprint and offset travel and food related emissions. Event planners will then be provided with a certificate of authenticity to recognize their commitment to carbon neutrality.

A key part of carbon neutrality is working to minimize emissions. The new events program includes low-carbon menu options featuring plant-rich items, Vancouver-Island sourced products and plated meals rather than buffet-style options to avoid food waste. It will also recommend other like-minded businesses in the capital city like Eagle Wing Whale Watching and Harbour Air, both of which have already established their bona fides as carbon-neutral businesses. 

Offsets will be directed toward providers that Inn at Laurel Point currently supports, such as The Great Bear Forest Carbon Project on Vancouver Island and The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Darkwoods Conservation Area in the West Kootenays.

“We’ve had a long history of aiming to empower staff, guests and community stakeholders to take a more eco-friendly approach. This new program is part of a strategy to go beyond sustainability and do our part to restore balance to our environment, society, and economy,” says Brooke Harris, Director of Sales and Marketing at Inn at Laurel Point. “This is just another step that our team is taking to lessen the impact we all have on the environment, and we are excited to show our meeting planners how they can take the first step by opting for carbon-neutral events.”

“By leveraging all that they have learned from a decade of making sustainability a priority, the team at Inn at Laurel Point continues to lead the charge to empower people to invest in carbon-reduction initiatives,” said Kayli Anderson, Chief Operating Officer of Synergy Enterprises. “The carbon neutral events and low-carbon menus are two programs that will directly contribute to a more sustainable future and hopefully inspire change across travel, events and the hotel industry.”

Being eco-conscious is nothing new for Inn at Laurel Point. As a hotel that is committed to the United Nations’ Decade of Action Plan, it earned its lofty status as BC’s first carbon-neutral hotel by introducing projects such as a reforestation initiative in partnership with One Tree Planted. Other innovations to minimize the hotel’s carbon footprint include:

  • Net-zero air conditioning via hydrothermal technology
  • Installing LED lights and low-flow fixtures to improve energy and water efficiency
  • Spearheading the city’s Earth Day Power hour and beach cleanups
  • Diverting unused bath products to Disaster Aid Canada’s ‘Soap for Hope’ program
  • Turning worn sheets into bandages to provide first aid supplies for developing nations.

The hotel is also investing in six additional electric-vehicle charging stations and has partnered with Nespresso to offer sustainable and fully recyclable coffee capsules for guests in all guestrooms.

To learn more about Inn at Laurel Point’s Carbon Neutral Events program, visit www.laurelpoint.com/sustainability.

 
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Vancouver, B.C. – May 17th, 2022 – Coast Hotels Limited, a fully owned subsidiary of APA Hotel Canada, Inc. and one of North America’s fastest-growing and one of Canada’s largest hotel brands, is excited to announce that 21 properties within its portfolio were recognized with Tripadvisor Traveler’s Choice awards, placing them in the top 10% of hotel listings worldwide.

Traveler’s Choice recognizes hospitality businesses that earn consistently great reviews and demonstrate a commitment to hospitality excellence.

“We are proud to see travelers recognizing our Ambassadors who live by our values and come to work each day to provide the best experience possible for our guests, regardless of the challenging year for travel and hospitality,” said Kelli Steer, Vice President of Hotel Operations at Coast Hotels. “Delighting guests was our brand commitment before the pandemic and remains our priority alongside providing the safest and cleanest environment possible to ensure the wellbeing of our guests and Ambassadors ahead of all else.”

The following properties within the Coast Hotels portfolio were recognized with the award:

Coast Anabelle Hotel, Burbank, CA

Coast Bastion Hotel, Nanaimo, BC

Coast Canmore Hotel & Conference Centre, Canmore, AB

Coast Capri Hotel, Kelowna, BC

Coast Coal Harbour Vancouver Hotel by APA, Vancouver, BC

Coast Gateway Hotel, Seattle, WA

Coast Hillcrest Hotel, Revelstoke, BC

Coast Hilltop Inn, Pullman, WA

Coast Kamloops Hotel & Conference Centre, Kamloops, BC

Coast Langley Hotel & Convention Centre, Langley, BC

Coast Lethbridge Hotel & Conference Centre, Lethbridge, AB

Coast Prince George Hotel by APA, Prince George, BC

Coast Sundance Lodge, Sun Peaks, BC

Coast Swift Current Hotel, Swift Current, SK

Coast Tsawwassen Inn, Delta, BC

Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina by APA, Victoria, BC

Campus Tower Suite Hotel, Edmonton, AB (managed by Coast Hotels)

Tekarra Lodge, Jasper, AB (managed by Coast Hotels)

The Safari Inn, a Coast Hotel, Burbank, CA

The West Beach Inn, a Coast Hotel, Santa Barbara, CA

Waimea Plantation Cottages, a Coast Resort, Kauai, HI

“All recipients of the 2022 Tripadvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards should be very proud of this distinguished recognition,” said Jin Sasaki, President of Coast Hotels. “They are well deserving and a great source of inspiration for travelers as the world begins to venture out again.”

 
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TORONTO, ON (May 10, 2022) – Days Inns Canada is delighted to announce that the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA) has chosen Carolyn Genest, owner of six Days Inn by Wyndham locations, as the gold recipient of the Franchisee of the Year Award for 2022.

“It is an honour to be selected as the gold recipient of the CFA’s 2022 Franchisee of the Year Award,” said Carolyn Genest of d3h hotels, manager of multiple Days Inn locations across Alberta and Saskatchewan. “This remarkable achievement is a tribute to the efforts of all our staff and friends at Days Inns Canada, the d3h leadership team and the numerous staff at Head Office and in the hotels, who serve our communities with integrity and heart. We work hard to ensure all our team members are dedicated to guest satisfaction and show an ongoing commitment to hospitality excellence.” 

“This award is very well-deserved,” said Irwin Prince, President & COO of Days Inns Canada. “We are proud to congratulate Carolyn and thank the CFA for acknowledging one of our exceptional Days Inn franchisees.”  

Introduced in 2019, the Franchisee of the Year Award recognizes top-performing franchisees for their unique accomplishments and excellence in business performance, community service, and brand involvement.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the successes of our franchisees with these awards for the third year in a row,” said Sherry McNeil, CFA President & Chief Executive Officer. "At the core of franchising is the strength we have as everyday Canadians working together in partnership, Growing Together™ and most importantly, sharing success. We commend our Franchisee of the Year winners for their outstanding achievements in the franchise community.”

Since 1999, Genest and her staff have worked extremely hard to represent the very best of the Days Inn brand by providing guests with top-quality products and excellent customer service. The Days Inn portfolio of hotels under d3h ownership includes:

·        Days Inn by Wyndham Calgary Airport

·        Days Inn by Wyndham Calgary North Balzac

·        Days Inn by Wyndham Medicine Hat

·        Days Inn by Wyndham Red Deer

·        Days Inn by Wyndham Regina Airport West

·        Days Inn by Wyndham Regina

The Days Inn by Wyndham brand consists of over 110 independently owned & operated hotels in Canada. For more information or hotel reservations, visit www.daysinn.ca.

 

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