Whether someone’s looking for a nice evening out or a weekend away, there’s no shortage of options in the hospitality industry. With more than 620,000 restaurants and 53,000 hotels in the United States, guests have almost unlimited choices for dinner reservations or luxury suites.
But when evaluating those options, what do consumers really value? Are they looking for “extras,” like a mini bar in the hotel room or mints with the dinner bill? Do they want friendly service? Interesting décor?
While each customer is unique (and some may really value those free mints), guests often make their selections based on these three factors:
1. Rave reviews
When travelers need a place to stay, how do you think they choose a hotel? Only a few states require regular inspections of hotels, so there’s no standardized rating system. Instead, most people vet hotels the same way they pick a contractor or hair salon or landscaper: online reviews. On average, hotel guests read six to 12 reviews before booking a hotel.
Same goes for restaurants. One in five diners will read 11 reviews before selecting a restaurant. Guests, whether at a restaurant or hotel, want to hear other customers’ opinions before selecting an establishment.
2. Sparkling clean facilities
Surveys have shown that 97 percent of guests consider cleanliness to be the most important factor when choosing a hotel, café, restaurant, or bar. That’s not surprising when you think about the potential for cleanliness issues in hotels and restaurants. Without thorough cleaning procedures, restaurant kitchens are ripe for mold, as well as crumbs or spills that can attract disease-ridden vermin.
And you’ve probably heard the horror stories about hotel rooms, too. Research shows that hotel TV remotes are covered in more germs than a toilet seat. And that’s just the beginning of the list of bacteria-infested surfaces your guests are concerned about, including the phone, bathroom counter, and ice bucket.
3. Solid safety practices
When guests visit a hotel or restaurant, they want to enjoy an evening or weekend away — not put their lives in danger. However, many establishments do just that, simply because they don’t follow correct safety protocols.
For example, the CDC reports that each year, 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases — often, because employees aren’t well-versed in food handling techniques that can help avoid cross-contamination and harmful bacteria growth.
Hotel rooms aren’t necessarily safe either. New York City hotels alone saw a 44 percent increase in bed bugs from January of 2016 compared to 2015, even at five-star hotels.
Establishments in the hospitality industry can’t slack in any of these areas. If they have clean facilities, but a string of one-star reviews, they won’t make it. If they have great reviews, but their guests bring home a parasite or infestation of bedbugs, they won’t succeed (and those reviews probably won’t stay great for long).
Learn how to surpass customer expectations in every area by reading our new interactive eBook, Fresh and Clean: How Mobile Inspections Save Hospitality Industry Reputations.
What’s in this interactive eBook?
- Customized reading paths for restaurants and hotels
- Facts about what customers really want from your establishment
- Tools to help you manage common challenges like high turnover
- FAQs about common issues in hospitality