What is the most important factor in your hotel’s success? The customer! With so many innovative new ways to attract and reach guests, hoteliers must not lose sight of key tried and true best practices in hotel customer service. We’ve compiled the following 8 proven practices that are sure to help your staff in its efforts to woo and retain guests:

Focus on face time. While a strong digital online presence is often what makes the first impression on customers, it’s face-to-face communication that guests value the most once they check-in. A warm welcome, enhanced by personal connections throughout their stay, will remain with your guests long after they depart your property.

Keep your staff happy. A happy (and educated) staff translates into happy guests. So, hoteliers should make a concerted effort to continually educate their staff about the importance of customer service and empower (and reward) them as they achieve customer satisfaction goals. Some hotel brands make the education process fun by using gamification techniques that truly engage employees in the training process. Whatever the approach, invest in the development of your staff. As Bill Marriott once said, “take good care of your people and they’ll take care of the customer; and the customer will return.”

Know your customer. Are the majority of your guests traveling for leisure or business? What are their preferences? Hoteliers have a myriad of tools at their disposal, including online surveys and more sophisticated tracking tools that help gauge customer habits. Use these tools to keep “on trend” with your guests in order to achieve optimal customer satisfaction.

Create a “wow” factor. What sets your property apart? Give guests the visual “fodder” that they will want to post and share on their social media channels! Invest in some eye-catching artwork for your property or host themed social hours in your lobby. In essence, provide that “wow” factor that will resonate with guests and leave them wanting to share their cool experience with others.

Go above and beyond expectations. Today’s guests have elevated expectations, so hoteliers must continually look for ways to elevate the customer service experience. Take the customer’s experience to the next level by providing unexpected touches and amenities not already being offered by your competitors. If your competitor is offering a free breakfast buffet, why not up the ante by offering up complimentary room service for an extended stay or something else truly unique and of value to your customer base?

Address guest input quickly. When it comes to customer satisfaction, timeliness is key! Bottom line, by addressing guests quickly, a hotel will have less complaints. A quick turnaround on everything from a request for an extra pillow, to a response to a TripAdvisor complaint, can make all the difference when it comes to keeping customers happy.

Keep the dialogue going. Don’t check-out when your guests leave. Online platforms give hoteliers the ability to proactively reach out to guests to get feedback about their stay and keep them in-the-loop on hotel news and happenings that will entice them to return.

Learn from the best. Big and small hotel brands alike can learn from the best practices of others. Take Westin, for example, whose focus remains on the fact that their hotel’s primary product offering is a good night’s sleep. As such, they upgraded their standard beds to the Westin Heavenly Bed® and immediately saw an incredible customer response. Monitor the best practices of hotel industry peers… and adapt their programs into best practices of your own!