As a business in the hospitality industry, the success of your business is entirely in the hands of your guests.
When competition is as fierce as it is today (and it’s only increasing), guests have all the power. If they’re not happy, they can simply take their business to someone else who is doing almost the exact same thing as you.
It’s harsh, but it’s the reality.
Guest retention has never been as important as it is today.
Acquiring a new customer is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.
If that’s not enough, research shows that if you increase your guest retention rates by just 5%, your profits can increase by 25% to 95% (source: Harvard Business Review).
So the question is, how do you keep your guests coming back?
In this article, we’ve flipped that notion around and instead highlighted the top 10 reasons why your guests don’t come back so that you know what NOT to do.
1. They’re dissatisfied with the product
Guests want to enjoy whatever it is they spend their money on.
Even though the overall experience has taken more of the lime light in recent discussions, your product still needs to be spot on.
Have you ever returned to a hotel where the bed was rock hard and you woke up with a sore back? The answer is no.
If you’re a restaurant, your food and beverage needs to be high quality, flavourful and served appropriately. If you’re a hotel, you need to make sure your bed is super comfortable and your facilities are well taken care of.
2 – Poor staff attitude
Rude or negative staff do not invite your guests to return.
Although we all have bad days and have things going in our personal lives that aren’t always pleasant, guests do not want to pay money to be at the brunt of your staff’s bad mood.
Your staff are the biggest factor in creating loyal guests, so a poor attitude is a big no no.
3 – Noticeably slow service
As our world evolves, especially with ever-advancing technology, convenience and efficiency has become a big part of our culture.
Making your guests wait 20 minutes for a cocktail or 45 minutes for their meal, is no longer tolerable. People notice.
4 – Inconsistency
This one is applicable to chains or well-known brands with more than one location.
Consistency across your brand is key in managing guest expectations and ensuring they return not only to your particular location, but also stay loyal to your brand overall.
When inconsistency exists, your guests are immediately disappointed as their expectations are not met. And when that happens, you have lost their trust.
5 – Lack of ambience
The vibe or atmosphere you create is super important to your guests.
Your vibe evokes emotions from your guests, and emotions are memorable especially when it comes to experiences.
If you want people to enjoy themselves and have fun, everything from your music, lighting, design and team energy need to come together to create that.
6 – Specific needs not accommodated
This one is a particular pet peeve of ours at Magnify and many other guests around the world.
When a venue is completely inflexible or uncreative in meeting specific (reasonable) requests or needs of guests, you make them feel alienated and unimportant, and they simply will not come back.
In an era where veganism and other food preferences/intolerances are on the rise, you can no longer have an offering that is not flexible enough to accommodate for your guests in these scenarios.
7 – Expectations not met
We’re in a pretty exciting time where everything can exist both digitally and physically.
What this means, is that your guests can look you up online before they visit you in person. So how you portray your brand and sell yourself online, massively influences what guests expect when they choose to spend money with you.
Have you ever stalked a venue’s Instagram page before visiting them, drooling over their gorgeous food pics, only to be so underwhelmed when you taste their food in person?
Make sure that’s not you.
Make sure the perception you’re portraying online and the promises you’re making with your social media content are actually being delivered in reality.
8 – Poor value for money
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again, value for money is everything.
When your guests deem your offering to be low value for what they paid, they will definitely not be coming back.
It’s all about achieving that balance between cost and quality, making sure you deliver for your guests every single time. With inflation and cost of goods on the rise, finding creative ways to rebalance that cost with quality is key. Elements like service and emotional engagement become even more critical.
9 – Lack of innovation
Don’t let your guests get bored with your outdated offering.
Businesses that are able to continuously innovate and think outside of the box, will stand a better chance of not only retaining guests, but also attracting new ones via the power of word of mouth.
So if you haven’t changed your menu in the last 3 years or you’re refusing to accept technology into your hotel, maybe it’s time to embrace change and spice things up (pun intended).
10 – Your competitors are better
Have you ever spoken to someone who is happy to pay for something that is average? We're guessing the answer is no.
If you’re a Mexican restaurant serving authentic Mexican food, you better make sure you’re the best in your vicinity or that you’re so unique that you stand out.
Know who your competitors are, what they do and how they do it, and make sure you’re continuously striving to be better.
The challenge now for hospitality business is to ensure you don’t give your guests any of these reasons not to return. Make sure you’re measuring, analyzing and improving your guest experience continuously.
The trick is to think like a guest would.
Let’s get in touch!
We’d love to explore how we may be able to support you with your guest experience, so please reach out and someone from our team will be in touch shortly.
PO Box 393942, Dubai, UAE