Increasing your customers’ satisfaction is by far one of the crucial goals which lead both to a greater loyalty degree and, consequently, to more direct bookings. However, customer loyalty is not easy to reach since there are several factors that mainly entail your ability to meet their basic needs. It is though necessary to understand what their needs and interests are, in order to best satisfy them.
Speaking of which, the Hierarchy of Needs theorized by the American sociologist Maslow could be useful to understand the reason staying beyond any attitude of the human being. What you need to do is simply applying Maslow’s theory to identify the behaviour of your guests in terms of basic expectations or even to foresee how they will react when those expectations won’t be fulfilled.
In fact, the American sociologist divided the human behaviour into five main needs, which go from the most basic ones (physiological needs such as eating, drinking, sleeping, etc.) to the most complex ones (i.e. the need of self esteem and personal realisation). Likewise, you ought to divide your guests according to their motivation, by analysing both the positive and negative reviews they post online.
Once you have identified the fundamental needs, starting from the basic ones to the most complex ones, you should understand which ones need to be improved in order to increase the customer loyalty and, at the same time, to enhance your brand image and brand reputation.
Here you will find some tips that will help you in your analysis of the needs, starting from the lowest level of Maslow’s pyramid.
1 Physiological need
At the lowest level of the Pyramid there are the primary or physiological needs: it is about those needs we cannot live without, such as food, air, water, sleep. Some of the questions you ought to ask yourself are the following:
- Have my guest slept well?
- Are beds and sheets comfortable?
- Are bed sheets clean?
- Is there too much noise?
- Are the rooms and the hall bright enough? Do they smell good?
- What is the water flowing from the toilet’s tap like? Is it clear and clean?
- Is breakfast/lunch satisfying in terms of quality and quantity of food?
Remember not to underestimate the importance of satisfying the need of this level since they usually are the main reason of a guest complaining, leading he/she to post a negative review. If something is not working properly (i.e. the hall or the rooms have a foul odour due to a whatsoever problem), make sure you are going to fix it as soon as possible!
2 Safety needs
The second level of the Pyramid is represented by the health and safety needs. The questions that needed to be asked are:
- How much safe is my hotel?
- Is my district famous for being dangerous?
- Is there a night concierge?
- Do the rooms dispose of a safe?
- Are there any particular safety dangers people should be warned about?
- Is food prepared in a healthy way?
- Do the chefs use products which are potentially harmful for allergic people?
- Are the gardens and common spaces safe also for children and the disabled?
- Are the staff trained in case of an accident?
Safety is a real crucial issue: when you are not feeling safe, you will hardly feel good, wherever you are. In order to avoid this sort of problem, you must check your safety measures in the most accurate way.
3 Belonging needs
Going up toward the top of the Pyramid, you will find the most complex social belongings needs. At this level, you do not have to worry about necessary needs. Instead, you should pay attention to those needs that represent a real added value for your property.
In particular, when it comes to the sense of belonging, we talk about the friendliness and the cordiality the hotel is able to express towards its customers. It is evident that the way in which the staff politely welcome the customers plays a core role.
In this case, some of the questions you ought to ask yourself are:
- What is the atmosphere inside and outside my hotel like? Is this friendly or unpleasant?
- Does the lighting provide a cozy and relaxing atmosphere?
- Do the staff make people feel at ease or they do not?
- Which is the standard procedure to be followed when an error occur?
- Is there any specific event or service to enhance the general guest experience?
In case you do not feel prepared enough according to one or more above-mentioned points, you should take action as soon as possible due to the fact that, provided that you are the best in satisfying the primary needs, you will hardly achieve to get 100% positive reviews from your guests.
4 Esteem needs
Before keeping on reading, be aware that the fourth and the fifth levels of the Pyramid are the most difficult to satisfy. On the other hand, they represent, if they are satisfied, the major reason for customers to stay again at your hotel. Instead of just satisfying the need of belonging of a guest, esteem mainly refers to the way your customers feel.
Here again the questions:
- How do my customers feel ?
- Do they feel to be understood and satisfied rather than being abandoned?
- Are individual complaints quickly and accurately managed?
- What is the reputation of my hotel?
- Are guests happy of staying at my hotel?
- Are there any benefits to reward loyal guests?
- Is there any special attention to VIP guests?
As you might have realised, the brand reputation of your hotel starts to play a crucial role.
5 Self-realization needs
This is the level of the Pyramid any hotelier should try to satisfy in order to maximize the level of satisfaction and loyalty: self-realization has to do with our personal objectives, that is to say who we actually are.
In order to let your customers be fully satisfied, you must focus on offering an experience which best meets the expectations and need of your customers.
It’s not only about that. At an unconscious level, any guest wants to be surprised: self-realization deals with appeal, love, endless happiness, harmony sense and the unique touch only your hotel is able to offer.
The human being is a curious creature and their demand for experience and knowledge knows no limits. Giving your customers something special and unique will certainly pay you back in terms of satisfaction and loyalty. Just bear in mind that, in order to make this happen, it is necessary to fully satisfy all the previous four levels!