When somebody describes a hotel, a guest house, or a holiday cottage which they recently stayed in as ‘great value’, what do they actually mean?
Most people will agree that ‘good value’ doesn’t simply mean ‘cheap’. It’s more about ‘what you get for the money you pay’, and this is what makes it all a bit tricky. Because the ‘what’ differs from one customer to the next.
For instance, a business traveller is probably more likely to measure value in terms of things like the availability of parking, Wi-Fi and a decent breakfast than they are by the quality of the shampoo you provide or the thread count of the sheets; whereas for a couple on a romantic getaway it may be completely the reverse.
And aside from the tangibles, it’s pretty certain that all your guests will place significant importance on receiving great service from helpful and friendly staff when it comes to assessing value.
So it follows that some things are universal and others vary according to customer personality. Carefully researching and considering the question of how your own particular customer personality define value is undoubtedly time well spent, as it will inform your decisions around the optimum standards of quality and service you need to provide in order to generate the level of satisfaction which will feed your reputation and customer loyalty.
Whilst spending a few pence extra on a slightly higher than average quality of guest toiletries could be completely wasted on some customers, it may also be absolutely crucial in attracting and retaining others, and therefore well worth the money.
Equally, try to think of the additional cost of providing, say, premium branded biscuits on the hospitality tray not as expenditure which could easily be avoided, but as the investment required to get a five star review instead of four stars.
Apply this approach to the food and drink offering, the bedding and bed linen - and the beds themselves - the bathroom towels and bathrobes, the décor, in fact to every single aspect of the overall experience which matter to your guests, and you’ll quickly find yourself on an upward spiral. But take note of the phrase ‘which matter to your guests’, for this is the key to getting the balance right.
It’s easy to throw money at every single aspect of your business, but you’ll soon price yourself out of the market. So find out what really matters to your own customers by simply asking them about their stay, and pay special attention to the clue that often comes after the ‘but...’.
“The room was absolutely lovely, but a feather pillow would have been a nice touch”; “Breakfast was delicious, but I do like freshly ground black pepper on my eggs.”
Paying close attention to the level and type of value you want to create, balanced with the cost and effort of achieving that level, sets you on a path towards continually staying ahead of your competitors in terms of value rather than joining the race to the bottom in terms of price – and who wants to go there?
Since establishing back in 1993 when it was founded by Ian and Janet Hartley, Out of Eden have provided the UK's accommodation providers with an extensive range of products to help operate their business – in short, everything they needed for great hospitality! We have experience of running hospitality businesses of our own and understand the many of the challenges faced every day by people managing hotels, running B&Bs and guest houses, or operating holiday lettings and self-catering cottages.