Image by Arun Katiyar via Flickr
I have been getting a lot of requests from all the owners for my own tips on how they can better their services. I thought I would collate my top 10 tips which I feel could make a big difference to the customer experience.
1. Ensure that the Bedsheets, Quilts, Towels are extra-clean. I would recommend using pure white for this and providing a daily change and fresh towels. I cannot emphasize how important this is and how far this will go in conveying a good impression to customers.
2. Provide Good toiletries. If possible, provide self branded soaps, shampoos to guests. These are nowadays quite easily available from bulk suppliers who will provide you a large number of bottles at a reasonable cost. Expect that these will get taken by your guests as mementos. This has now become standard traveler behavior in India so you might as well get used to it and try and get some branding out of it.
3. Focus on cleanliness and removing clutter. This is super important. Ensure that the guest rooms are extra clean and free from any smells, dust or stains. Ensure that the bathrooms have no used toiletries lying around or old toothbrushes etc. Similarly, the cupboards are blank and have none of your personal effects in them.
4. Provide adequate cutlery in the room. This is especially important if you are providing a kitchen facility. Ensure that there are adequate vessels, plates, serving dishes, side plates, glasses, spoons, forks and knives.
5. If you are providing a living room, ensure that the living room furniture is comfortable. Cane furniture and bean bags are not comfortable and though you may feel they go with the decor of your farm house, they will not be seen in that light by your guests.
6. Preserve your kids toys and stock them in your homestay. This is very important. Make sure you preserve old toys and ship them to your homestay so that guests with kids can keep them amused. It helps to not have very badly damaged toys but whatever you have do advertise. It will definitely attract guests.
7. Try and keep the religious photos, artifacts etc. to the bare minimum and not too in your face. You want to be welcoming to guests of all faiths.
8. Provide a written welcome book with a message from yourself welcoming the guest to your property, giving a few useful numbers, mentioning places he/she must see, things you would recommend they do etc. Ensure mobile numbers of your caretaker or yourself are there prominently and you are available for them to contact easily.
9. Try and encourage guests to try and become part of the history of the house. Some good ideas I have seen include having a India map where guests can mark where they are from, letting them plant things in the garden or make a donation to your library with a personal message. Good ideas can also be woven around local attractions e.g. donating a small taj replica if you are located in Agra which can be put in a display room. Guests should be able to visit your property again and see what they have left behind.
10. Be precise with the directions you enter on TripVillas.com – We have a special section for this. Make sure you use it well. The guests journey begins with finding your place. If that is difficult, he will start his holiday with a bad taste in his mouth. In directions, if you feel guests will be arriving from the airport mention exactly what they should tell the taxi or rickshaw driver and exactly what the fare should come out to. Similarly when providing driving directions, be extra precise and give directions that tell the traveler when he has taken the wrong turn so he can make a U-turn.
That takes care of my top 10 tips – Now, I’m waiting to hear from you about yours!! Please share your learning’s by experience with the entire community.