Turning guests into your brand champions is a masterstroke for hoteliers, and you can achieve this by strategically establishing positive touchpoints before, during, and after their stay.
Guests who are cared for throughout their journey will remember you.
This means they’ll:
Bring referrals through word of mouth recommendations
Leave positive reviews and increase your positive social proof (see more below)
Come back and book direct (reducing your OTA fees and reliance on OTA platforms)
Be loyal to your hotel, significantly reducing cancellation rates
But without a clear vision of that guest journey, or how to provide value to your guests with each touchpoint, you can do the opposite and harm your brand.
That’s why in this post, we:
Review what the guest journey is
Map out the 19 touchpoints you need before, during, and after their stay
Explain how to implement these touchpoints by leveraging technology
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What is the guest journey and why do you need to engage guests?
The hotel guest journey is the entire breadth of the guest experience, which includes their points of engagement with your brand from before their stay to after check-out.
From the moment guests first come across your listing, each interaction with your hotel is another touchpoint, and each touchpoint is an opportunity to engage guests in your brand. By exceeding guest expectations with these touchpoints, providing value, and making guests feel special with personalization, you can turn them into loyal customers.
19 hotel guest journey touchpoints engage guests with your brand
Ensure positive touchpoints throughout your guest’s stay, before, during, and after they check in and out. This helps your guests feel special, valued, and cared for.
Pre-Stay hotel guest touchpoints
Even before guests book, your goal is to engage them by offering them value while distinguishing yourself from the competition.
1. OTA listings.
Learn from guest queries, feeding that information into your listings to make them as insightful and practical as possible. For example, if you receive questions about accessibility, add a hotel map to your listings with access details including measurements and specifics about ramps.
2. Social media posts and pages.
71% of guests say online content influences their choice of where to stay, especially on socials, so keep pages updated with imagery, content that matches your tone of voice, plus snapshots of positive reviews and testimonials.
Ensure your website is fast and accessible on all devices, with powerful imagery, and answers to common questions that guests have before booking. Also include contact details and if possible, live chat.
4. Ratings and reviews.
72% of guests say reading review sites helps them decide where to stay. So be responsive to online reviews, thank guests for their positive comments, and respond professionally when they have a concern or complaint.
5. Ease of direct booking and payment.
Make sure your guest can see your hotel’s calendar availability and pricing easily online, so they can book and pay securely with as little friction and in as few steps as possible. This is crucial to maximizing occupancy rates, but it’s also a reflection of your brand standards.
6. Confirmation email.
A personalized confirmation email with details of what the guest just booked is reassuring and professional, and gets guests excited about their stay. You can also use this message as an opportunity to ask questions about your guests and the purpose of their stay, which you can use to inform your customized offers or in-stay special treats.
7. White-label app.
You can use your confirmation email to introduce guests to your branded app so all your future interactions are in the palm of their hand, making them immediate and powerful reinforcements of your brand. For example, a mobile-optimized web app like Operto Guest is branded with your hotel logo and colors, it includes in-app messaging, and it has fully customizable digital guides with CTA buttons.
8. Digital welcome book.
A digital welcome book exemplifies your commitment to exceeding guest expectations, supporting guests as they plan their stay with the chance to explore your hotel and local area before they arrive.
9. Pre-arrival reminder.
A personalized reminder of what guests need before traveling is useful and helps them feel special and cared for. You can use this as an opportunity to provide the latest travel information, as well as directions and any information about parking or transport links.
Here you can also provide extra value to the guest by offering additional services with upsells such as room upgrades and spa treatments.
In-Stay hotel guest touchpoints
Now guests have been warmed up ahead of their stay and are excited to arrive, their journey continues as you seek to achieve customer delight.
10. Welcome email or message.
Send a personalized welcome message within your white-label app. If your digital guides include a house manual category with information on in-room amenities and devices, you can direct them to this resource. This is practical for the guest, reassuring, and saves your reception staff from fielding questions about the WiFi, in-room entertainment, or coffee machine.
11. Welcome drink or treat.
Many guests will arrive after a long and perhaps stressful journey, so a welcome drink or snack is always well-received, and sets the tone for a memorable stay.
12. Customized insights and upsells.
Information you’ve gathered about your guests and the nature of their stay can be used to tailor your information and offers.
For example, if your guest is a family with children, share information about fun activities, equipment hire, or daycare services. And if your guest is attending an industry conference, provide them with details about your media center, local co-working spaces, or recommendations on cafes and restaurants for work calls and meetings.
13. Quick check mid-stay.
After their first two nights, invite guests to give feedback within your white-label app on their stay so far. This will give you the chance to catch any issues early on, address them immediately with a personalized response, and so be proactive about gaining five-star reviews.
14. Friendly check-out reminder.
Thank guests for their stay and provide them with any helpful information on the check-out process. Here you can offer to organize transport, and also make recommendations about their last day, including breakfast, lunch, and activities.
Post-Stay hotel guest touchpoints
After guests check out, there are still opportunities to strengthen your brand and maximize the chance of future direct bookings and referrals.
15. Review requests.
The best way to ensure you get more guest reviews is to ask for them. Studies suggest that more than 40% of travelers will leave a review if they have a positive experience, so make this as easy as possible by sending a friendly review request within 48 hours of check-out, with a link to the relevant review site or platform in your branded app.
16. Mailing list and regular updates.
Add guests (with their permission) to your mailing list and send a regular newsletter with updates about local events and activities. You can include information about tours, concerts, and additions to your amenities.
17. Social media follows.
Inviting guests to follow you on social media is a fantastic way to broaden your reach, making it even easier for you to build connections and for guests to recommend you to their friends, family, and followers.
18. Incentives and offers for referrals.
Word-of-mouth recommendations are an extremely powerful way of gaining new customers, so incentivize them by offering discounts for referrals. For example, you could offer 10% off their next booking (less than the commission you’d give away to an OTA).
19. Special offers.
Special offers make guests feel valued, so reach out to guests on their birthday and also 10 months after their last stay, just when they’re starting to think about their next annual vacation.
Guest journey touchpoints: The ultimate roadmap
From pre-stay preparation and excitement, in-stay pampering and personalization, to post-stay thanks, updates, and offers, strategically implementing touchpoints will mean more direct bookings and referrals, and happy guests who feel personally cared for.
And with a mobile-optimized web app like Operto Guest, you can make your brand a tour de force for turning happy guests into loyal brand ambassadors.
Frequently asked questions about hotel guest touchpoints
What is the main goal of mapping the guest journey?
The goal of mapping the guest journey is to understand the guest experience so you can exceed your guests’ expectations and turn them into loyal champions for your brand. This means they book direct, bring in more referrals, and boost your revenue.
What is the average duration of a guest journey?
There is no “set average” to the duration of a guest journey as it depends on a range of factors. However, most of your touchpoints normally take place between booking and check-out, so this might be anything from a few days to a few months, depending on when they book and how long they stay.