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Consistently good reviews

10.10.2017

Good Day

Booking.Com sent an e-mail asking me to contribute to a forum describing how we achieve consistently great reviews.  When I started renting my apartment I knew what was important to me when staying in rented accommodation.  I always treat my guests with respect, from the first phone call and welcoming letter onwards, I do not call them by their given name unless invited to do so. 

Cleanliness is top of the list.  How many times have you stayed in a hotel and the sheets and towels smelled unpleasant because too many items had been stuffed in the washing machine just to save doing one more load?  The same applies to the bathroom, how many times have you leaned over the basin to clean your teeth and nearly heaved from the smell emitting from the plughole?  All that is needed to clean plugholes and shower drains is bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and hot water.  I clean the basin and shower drains when each guest departs.

Comfort.  This does not mean luxury, middle of the range will buy comfortable beds and lounge furniture.  There is a beautiful apartment up the north coast which is totally spoilt by having uncomfortable furniture.  I made a point of buying comfortable bedroom and lounge furniture and the guests comment favourably in the reviews about this.

I do not think that guests stay at my apartment with the intention of becoming my best friend, they have come to enjoy quiet time with their close companion and to visit the beaches and places of interest.  I greet them with a friendly smile and give them the Wi-Fi code and tell them about the full DSTV that is available and give them the names of the local cafes and restaurants.  I am on site if needed but two adults should be able to amuse themselves without my intervention.  The apartment is advertised as being private and secluded and guests appreciate being left alone.

In a nutshell, I would say that the reviews reflect the service that I offer each guest; respect, an exceptionally clean and comfortable apartment and a friendly but not familiar manner

Regards

Mary Goodall

 

6 Replies

1
William

Thank you Mary for sharing your story and the insight of your input providing an enjoyable stay to your guests. Looking forward to learning more from you.

1 year ago
1
rakesh patel

we know that we can't make every guest happy, but we try to do our best just like everyone one in the industry, we hire good clerks because we all know that is the first and last person to see the guest, we ask all of our guest to have a great stay, we ask if they had a great stay and we tell them to drive safe when they leave, it works for us, i hope it works for you.

rakesh patel.

1 year ago
1
rakesh patel

we believe that the guest experience starts at the time of booking a hotel room. as soon as we get it, we send a thank you email with directions to property and "we look forward to seeing you" and we call every reservation in the morning on the day of arrival to let them know we are waiting for them and ask if they have any request.

rakesh patel.

1 year ago
1
Magda Campher

Thanks Mary and Rakesh - I hope never to be old to learn! We try and anticipate the guests needs prior to check-in and include detail with the booking confirmation e.g. information and contact details on local attractions and gate entry times for the Kruger Park. Upon arrival we have a Kruger Park gate entry form available for guests going to the park to fill in prior to entering to save time at the gate. Also find Pulse invaluable for immediate reponses.

1 year ago
1
Mary Goodall

That is an excellent idea Magda, the guests must be so pleased to be able to have their documentation ready when they get to Kruger. I take note of events. conferences and stage

I take note of events, conferences and stage productions that are taking place in the Durban area and post these on my website's Facebook page in an effort to attract custom. Many conferences are held at the Durban ICC during the year and then there is also the Durban Exhibition Centre and the Playhouse Theatre. Plus Moses Mabhida, Ushaka, Suncoast Casino, Sibaya et al. I keep a folder of brochures of places of interest and another of places to eat. I pick these up at the local Gateway Theatre of Shopping and if a new cafe opens locally I ask for a menu to take for my guests.

If guests stay longer than four days I offer to machine wash their clothes as a courtesy. Their cars used to be washed, too but that ceased due to drought conditions.

Rakesh, you know that the most important people in the service industry are those in the front line and these are generally the most junior and lower paid, Yet we expect the highest level of service from these individuals. Your desk clerks appear to have been trained by someone of sound principles and they follow his example.

1 year ago
3
CML

Its great to receive 95 + % happy customers and those who arrive unhappy usually leave some sort of "damaging review".

Fortunately people are pretty savvy and can read between the lines ...

Therefore the answer to "poor" reviews should rather be addressing potential new guests and outlining the good points that the "hotel" offers and clarifying very simply the misconceptions that the "poor reviewer" may have had.

Often a "negative" guest will have started his/her journey in a poor frame of mind, so whatever you do to assist that particular guest, will have no effect at the end of the day.

So you win some or lose some ...

I have passed a comment to my partner (tongue in cheek) where I would like to post a "warning" like this:

"Grumpy and unhappy people not welcome" : ) : ) : )

1 year ago