Madis Laid – General Manager
“GuestJoy has enabled us to personalise our service, increase ancillary revenue and save tremendous amounts of time in one go.”
About Ibis Tallinn Center
The modern Ibis Tallinn Centre offers 190 rooms conveniently close to Tallinn’s business, cultural, entertainment and shopping districts. From here, guests can take a short walk to the world-famous UNESCO-listed old town known for its medieval churches, museums and art galleries. Retail centres, business hubs and the old harbour are also close by, making it the ideal hotel for both work and leisure travel.
We recently sat down for a chat with Madis Laid who has led the property as General Manager since late 2018. He revealed how the team at ibis Tallinn Center has been using GuestJoy to scale digital guest communication, reduce the staff’s workload, improve the guest experience and skyrocket incremental revenue.
In the past, the only chance we had to interact with most guests was during arrival or while they were in-house. We weren’t able to reach out to everyone individually pre- or post-stay because we didn’t have the resources for that.
GuestJoy allows us to fully automate our guest communication at every stage of the guest journey.
Now we can connect with all travellers and build a relationship before they set foot in the door.
While they’re in-house, we can check how they’re doing and offer extra services. After check-out, we stay in touch and plant the idea of a future stay with us. The best thing is that this works with both direct bookers and OTA guests.
Targeted information for a personalised stay experience
Sharing relevant information with our guests has become much easier with GuestJoy. Our pre-arrival messages include all the information they need to plan their stay. This automated digital approach was especially useful during the pandemic when we needed to share detailed information about health and safety guidelines with all travellers.
On top of that, we share offers for add-on services that can make their trip more memorable. The platform’s segmentation tool helps us personalise these offers and ensure guests only receive relevant suggestions. This works much better than the posters and flyers we used to rely on, and it saves vast amounts of paper.
Increased efficiency every step of the way
GuestJoy saves us a lot of time in day-to-day operations. It integrates seamlessly with our PMS, so we can offer guests the chance to fill out their registration cards and check in online. When they arrive, they only need to pick up their key.
Considering how many travellers we welcome every day, that’s a massive time saver. It also frees up our staff to engage more with guests who need assistance or simply prefer to check-in at the front desk.
Sharing hotel information and promotions with guests pre-arrival has made a big difference, too. Now, travellers browse our messages while they’re on their way here. When they check-in, they already have all the information they need. This means the reception gets fewer calls about opening hours, restaurant reservations, etc. Guests can even book their early check-in or Champagne in the room via GuestJoy. All this increases the convenience for travellers and reduces the workload for our team.
Our capture rate at the restaurant has increased by at least 10% since we implemented GuestJoy. Of course, this also means extra revenue in our F&B department. Ancillary revenue from options like wine or chocolate in the room, early check-in or late departure is up 600%. It’s just so quick and easy for guests to book these extras via the system.
This would not be possible without GuestJoy. Our front desk team simply wouldn’t be able to offer these add-ons to so many travellers in person. These results also mean that GuestJoy has a great ROI and more than pays for itself with the extra revenue it generates.
A remarkable increase in online reviews and ranking
Apart from informing guests about our services or special offers, we also use GuestJoy to communicate with guests after their stay. The platform automatically sends a message asking guests to share their feedback and leave public reviews. GuestJoy’s direct connection to TripAdvisor makes this extremely easy for travellers. As a result, we receive 20% more reviews than in the past. Combined with the more personalised service we provide now, this has taken us from 27th to 8th place on TripAdvisor among hotels in Tallinn.
Quick set-up and easy maintenance
Everything about GuestJoy is efficient. The set-up was smooth and only took us about half a day. It was a simple process, and we were able to quickly customise our guest messages and set segmentation rules. Taking advantage of the many pre-built packages and offers the system comes with also sped things up.
Managing GuestJoy is easy, too, even with a small team. The front office staff usually spends a few minutes a day checking new arrivals. Once a week they take around thirty minutes to update messages with new offers and I check the latest reports. Other than that, everything runs in the background.
Customer support is another one of GuestJoy’s strong suits. Whenever we have a question or an issue, they’re quick to respond and provide a solution. But it goes beyond that. There were some features we couldn’t fully take advantage of at our property. In those cases, we shared suggestions for updates that would work better for our hotel. GuestJoy’s team was always keen to listen and find ways to implement our feedback. This attitude proves that we’ve chosen the right partner. It shows that they’re always working to further improve their product and service.
A like-minded, innovative partner
In GuestJoy we found a partner who shares our desire to grow and move forward. Since we began working with them, they’ve added many new features that further improve their platform and expand its capabilities. I appreciate that because our guests and the industry itself are constantly evolving. You need like-minded partners who understand this if you want to be successful in this competitive environment.
A word to fellow hoteliers
When considering a guest experience platform, I recommend looking at how you’re currently communicating with guests. Is it hard to connect with them and share relevant information? Are travellers spending more time looking for information than they are enjoying the hotel’s facilities? For most properties that’s the case. This means it’s high time to start working with a tool like GuestJoy – yesterday would be best.
About Your Apartment
Your Apartment is one of Bristol’s freshest and most vibrant serviced apartment providers. Co-founded by Bristol-born brothers Charlie & Toby Guest in 2017, Your Apartment runs over 165 serviced apartments today. It offers guests a contactless hospitality experience that combines the service level of a hotel with the homely feeling of an apartment. In December 2020, Your Apartment launched its new aparthotel concept ‘Your Apartment – Clifton Village’ in Bristol and several other exciting projects are already in the pipeline.
We recently had a chat with Daniel Robinson, who is in charge of everything marketing, digital and PR-related at Your Apartment in Bristol. He shared with us how the Your Apartment team is using GuestJoy to simplify their digital guest journey, save tremendous amounts of time for their staff, and generate more positive online reviews.
Streamlined online check-in process
Our previous online check-in process was complex and tedious for our guests. We had one tool which sent out emails with a link for the online check-in. Another solution collected guest details, while a third system gathered payment information. Unsurprisingly, this led to many travellers contacting our customer service team for guidance. As our number of properties kept growing, so did the workload for support staff.
“GuestJoy has made our online check-in process and guest communication much more straightforward. This saves us valuable time and creates a much smoother guest journey.”Daniel Robinson – Marketing Manager at Your Apartment
This left us with two options. We could either recruit more people to deal with these issues and keep the outdated process our guests didn’t enjoy. Or, we could implement new software that would solve the problem on both ends. Obviously, the latter made more sense. So, I began actively looking for a new guest experience management solution and soon came across GuestJoy.
GuestJoy handles everything for us now. It emails guests their booking confirmation which comes with the link to the online check-in form. This form self-populates with information from the reservation, so guests only need to add a few missing details manually (e.g., ID and payment details). GuestJoy automatically sends this data to our PMS and before they know it, guests are already checked in. The whole process is much easier and smoother for guests and our team now that GuestJoy brings everything together into one centralised platform.
More efficient operation and guest communication
Your Apartment tripled its footprint in a little over a year. Using our old system, we would have also had to triple our staffing in the guest services department to handle all the incoming requests. However, GuestJoy has made our online check-in process and guest communication much more straightforward and efficient. As a result, the number of daily calls and emails has dramatically reduced.
Even though we’ve now recently grown to over 165 serviced apartments, we still only need four team members to handle all guest communication. This keeps our organisation lean and frees up valuable funds for other investments.
Immediate responses to guest feedback bring better online reviews
Apart from using GuestJoy to streamline our online check-in process, we also use it to communicate with guests during and after their stay. We’ve set up the platform to automatically ask everyone staying two nights or more how their stay is going. If there’s a problem, we now have the opportunity to fix it while guests are still in-house. This has led to drastically improved reviews since travellers appreciate our quick response and our dedication to getting things right.
After check-out, GuestJoy automatically messages travellers to request feedback. If someone tells us about a positive experience, we encourage them to share it on public review platforms like TripAdvisor or the OTA they booked with. Combined, these approaches have significantly boosted our number of online ratings. Since fully reopening after a lockdown in spring 2021, we’ve received over 40 new reviews on Google and around 15 on Booking.com.
Finally, GuestJoy also makes it easy for me to manage our reviews. I can see which ones I’ve responded to and where I still need to follow up. This saves me valuable time and frees me up for other tasks.
Personalising the stay experience
Once guests have booked, we give them the chance to personalise their stay with add-ons like early check-in, late check-out or a parking space. This plays an important role in creating the personalised stay experience that travellers expect today.
In the past, these add-on requests led to a lot of back and forth via email which often felt tedious for our guests. Another issue was that we regularly got requests on the day of arrival, and were only able to handle them with some delay.
“GuestJoy makes all this much more straightforward. It´s a lot quicker and more satisfying for our guests to know it´s all taken care of before their arrival.“
GuestJoy makes all this much more straightforward. The platform allows us to show guests which options exist for their property. They can easily request what they need, and our team is notified immediately. Then we add the extras to their booking and send a confirmation message. It’s a lot quicker and more satisfying for our guests to know it’s all taken care of before their arrival. And when they check-in, they find everything ready, just how they want it.
Increased direct bookings
All guests can request a variety of add-ons via GuestJoy as soon as their booking is confirmed. We were able to set up the platform so direct bookers can add certain services for free, e.g., free parking and complimentary snacks on arrival. OTA guests, on the other hand, see a price attached to each add-on.
This has made it easier to drive more reservations from our website because the advantages of booking directly are clear to travellers. Also, there isn’t any confusion about who has to pay for what since GuestJoy takes care of that for us.
Customised set-up of GuestJoy for Your Apartment
We currently have over 165 apartments, some of which are in our apart-hotels while others are standalone properties. Since each one is unique, we had to take a few extra steps during our GuestJoy set-up to ensure we provided equal options and service levels for all units.
The customer service team was extremely helpful here. They customised the set-up to match our business needs, so we didn’t have to make compromises in any area. It took some extra time, but I’m very glad we went through this process thoroughly because now it’s paying off for us in a big way.
“They customised the set-up to match our business needs, so we didn’t have to make compromises in any area.“
A tool that aligns with Your Apartment’s future plans
When we picked GuestJoy as our guest experience solution, we wanted something that would both work for our current needs and support our expanding business. GuestJoy and their team’s attitude towards ongoing development perfectly fit this bill. The product is already great, and they’re dedicated to further improving it by adding new features and making it even more user-friendly.
The team at GuestJoy also understands the importance of a fully integrated tech stack that links all hotel systems. For example, the two-way integration with Mews, our PMS, is the key to making our online check-in and payment processing so easy for our guests. This saves everyone a tremendous amount of time and makes the guest journey much smoother. In the future, we’re hoping for even more such integrations, for example, one that automates the pre-arrival bookings for parking spots.
“Having used a few other guest experience platforms throughout my career, I think GuestJoy is by far the best one.”
A word to your peers
Having used a few other guest experience platforms throughout my career, I think GuestJoy is by far the best one. I’ve already recommended it to several fellow hoteliers and encourage everyone to test it because it’s very effective and so easy to use. A system like GuestJoy is the way forward, especially given how the pandemic has made contactless front office service so much more important for all types of accommodation businesses.
Technical Hospitality Writer
I wanted to get talking with hoteliers after the past year’s challenges. Hospitality as an industry came together remarkably during the pandemic and a lot of us found creative ways to survive, help each other, and educate ourselves. How did hoteliers do it? What are the tactics they used to keep their businesses afloat? What helped them?
This is Paul’s story from Losehill House, UK.
Paul Roden, owner and manager of Losehill House Hotel since 2007. The property has been hosting guests for the past 90 years and has a great history dating back to the Saxon times.
The hotel grows most of the food they use at their restaurant and produces local, organic beeswax soap.
Flora: Hi Paul, tell us about your background first!
Paul: We purchased Losehill House 14 years ago, before that I was a chartered accountant. I am very dedicated to the Leisure and Hospitality industry. What I love most about using various hotel tech is that cloud-based technology allows you to manage your business 24/7 which is wonderful for workaholics like me.
Flora: We can imagine that this past year has been a challenge, what kind of changes were implemented at your property? How did your operations and work change?
Paul: The change started for us in 2019, when we embarked upon a complete upgrade of our Hotel systems. We moved to a cloud-based PMS with HotelTime as the first step. We then were able to select integrations with best-in-class third-party providers that allowed us to create an extensive and fully integrated solution to the hotel systems needs. That is how we stumbled upon GuestJoy.
Technology should not be difficult
Technology can be very easy to implement, your team might not be on board with it in the first place, but quieter times are perfect to make these changes that will eventually pay off. Especially if you are switching to products that are more concise, that cover multiple functionalities and are cloud-based. After all modern guests require modern solutions!
We know that this past year was financially straining, so keep in mind:
💰 How much the products that you use cost?
⬇️ Can you try new solutions at your hotel that are cheaper?
🎁 How can you create deals for your guests?
⬆️ Can you upscale for those who can finally spend?
Flora: So you have started using some new technologies. How did that work out?
Paul: The pandemic really accelerated the implementation of a whole new suite of software. Moving to cloud-based was just the first step. The role of Guestjoy in being able to communicate accurately and in a rapidly changing environment in terms of Covid 19 was invaluable. The pre-stay email and announcements, in addition to the post-stay feedback email, the engagement data really helped us assess the response of guests to our Covid safe strategy as well as other enjoyment factors.
I believe it is crucial from now on to have a guest communication tool that keeps everyone assured and feeling safe. It’s not just about any virus, but your deals, offers, and hotel policy too. The fact that GuestJoy does this so smoothly made my life so much easier.
Flora: What we have been seeing technology-wise is that online check-in and guest communication tools are extremely important. Reduced staff, guests wanting more distance than before, it can all be difficult to manage. Is there any technology that you think is a necessity for any property these days?
Paul: Technology has been critical in allowing the business to continue to operate whilst we are closed – online bookings – changes in reservations, refunds and moving to future dates have all been possible with the cloud-based remote operating.
Flora: Finally, what do you think, what are the trends for this summer?
Paul: We are hopeful! I think there will be a large influx of bookings for this summer – staycations – or for later in 2021, as the UK is planning to re-open in May. The strong rates and occupancy are very encouraging. Guests are also looking to upgrade in terms of quality and experience – higher quality rooms, spa treatments etc because they weren’t able to travel in 2020 and in the first half of 2021. The motto for this summer is definitely “treat yourself”.
Keep in mind the trends 2021 brought
There are a few things new travellers and new generations definitely don’t need anymore. The minibar and car rentals are a thing of the past; Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z are more about instagrammable cocktails with a nice view and ordering ridesharing services. But what else has changed?
Sustainability & Slow travel: People want memorable experiences, but most of us are aware of the impact we cause. Unique experiences that give back to local communities in meaningful ways are in demand, as are niche properties, adventurous holidays and relaxation retreats. This could be local goods, bike trips, or nature hikes with local restaurant outings, possibly in places where they serve organic food – that’s another key trend to watch.
Finally, stating the obvious, smooth, fast and easy guest experiences, processes that are automated and require minimal effort from the guest. Such as online check-in, ordering extras or communicating with the hotel via a chat bot or email. Would you like to learn how to implement any of these? Click on the button below.
Our Marketing Manager Flora spoke with Fanny Chapel from Emerald Stay, Switzerland.
Flora: Hi Fanny, it’s lovely to have a customer reach out to chat about GuestJoy. I also know that a colleague of yours has done an interview with Mews, and we were mentioned. How nice of you!
Fanny: We found GuestJoy in the Mews Marketplace and as we are very satisfied with it, I’m more than happy to share our testimonial. Emerald Stay is the first prop-tech company to manage premium homes in non-urban destinations. We are an innovative hospitality company constantly looking for the best tech tools out there. The short-term rentals industry is quite a new segment within hospitality so it is not always easy to find the systems that completely fulfill our needs and adapt to all specificities of the market. We were looking for an online check-in solution and we are glad to have found GuestJoy! We would definitely recommend it to any hospitality company.
Flora: So what made you choose GuestJoy?
Fanny: Flexibility was a key decision driver. In GuestJoy, everything is completely customizable which is great. We have some very specific check-in procedures. For example, you may know that in Morocco, you are not allowed to host a Moroccan citizen in the same room as a person of the opposite gender if they are not married. So for legal reasons, we need to collect a wedding certificate in such situations. We needed a system that is able to integrate such specific requirements.
Another requirement for us was the scalability of the tool. GuestJoy allows us to grow. We are ambitious and we need solutions that can scale with our quick growth.
Furthermore, the price-quality ratio was one of the key things we looked at obviously. There are countless products on the market at a higher price compared to GuestJoy even though they offer the same features.
Last but not least, I would like to highlight the quality of the service we have received from Andrew and Kristin at GuestJoy – it is nice that you are a small, human company, open to considering new developments and very reactive. It is always easy to talk to someone.
Flora: We are really trying our best to provide creative and independent players. And of course we are proud of being fast both in replies and in implementation.
Fanny: Indeed and cloud tools are a must for us – we work with Mews Systems (a cloud PMS) and tools that easily allow us to work remotely whenever necessary.
Flora: On that note, what do you think about the daily job of a hotelier, how does GuestJoy help?
Fanny: The automation part is just great. The less time we spend manually collecting check-in information from guests, the more we can spend on actual human interactions such as tailoring the services for their stay. We do not want our team members to complete repetitive tasks and/or something that technology would do better – we want them to be valued as human beings, completing tasks that cannot be automated essentially.
With the GuestJoy automated emails, we can ensure check-ins are completed and guests receive their property access code by email and by text message 24 hours prior to arrival. This way, they can let themselves in whenever they would like after 4 pm. They do not need to let us know if they wish to stop at a restaurant on the road or if they are late for whatever reason. Within 24 hours post-arrival, our team members will visit them, answer any questions they may have and share some local tips.
Flora: This is very smart. I have been on skiing trips with my family, and traveling with a child can really be a slower experience. We never arrived at the hotel/apartment on time, and this way your staff does not have to do overtime to wait for guests.
Fanny: We like to challenge the status quo and do things differently if need be. We do things because they make sense for our owners and our guests, not because that’s the way they have always been done in the market. For example, we do not force the guests to stay at our properties from Saturday to Saturday throughout the winter season like some other players do because that’s not what they ask for.
Flora: What is the biggest change GuestJoy has brought to your property?
Fanny: Our operations team is divided into two parts. One is on-site in our destinations. They are the ears and eyes of Emerald Stay on the ground. They make sure that everything is seamless at the properties, they visit guests and they coordinate local operations. And then we have the centralized operations team in our main office in Barcelona. Before implementing GuestJoy, this team had to make sure we had all the right documents and information prior to each arrival. It took us a tremendous amount of time to manually contact each guest as you can imagine. Now it is a simple verification process!
Flora: What do you think the key trends are? What do you provide on the market that’s new?
Fanny: I can not mention Covid-19. It obviously had a huge effect on the hospitality industry. We have noticed several trends which I believe will stay, not just in the short term. Overall people want flexibility and functionality. They seek flexible cancellation policies and often book at the last minute. They are looking for fully equipped properties so they can be independent during their entire stay. They may want to work remotely and need high-speed internet and screens (which we provide) – there is definitely a digital nomad trend.
Flora: I love to hear this. We are all for innovation, convenience and seamless guest experiences! As for my last question, can you tell us your story in hospitality and how did you end up at Emerald Stay?
Fanny: I studied International Hospitality Management and graduated in 2013. I have been working in short-term rentals ever since and have seen major changes in this industry. After spending 2 years in Brazil and 2 years in Spain working for an urban short-term rentals player, I joined Emerald Stay in Switzerland in January 2018. Prior to and throughout my studies, I worked at traditional hospitality companies such as The Ritz-Carlton hotels and smaller independent 4* hotels. But I must say I am fascinated by startups and growth. I was convinced by the model of Emerald Stay right off the bat and was their first employee. It’s been a very interesting ride so far!
This post was written by Andrew Martin, GuestJoy’s Customer Experience Manager
It started with an email from one customer.
“Andrew, four of our properties have been awarded Travellers’ Choice 2021 from Tripadvisor; they have provided us with some graphics to use in our marketing. Can you suggest how we could incorporate these into our pre-arrival emails?”
Next, there was a post by a customer on LinkedIn: “Honored and proud! Apotek Hotel has been chosen as the “Travellers’ Choice” Winner for 2021.”
“Well that’s really good!”, I remember thinking to myself at the time. It was nice to see a some customers earn this recognition.
A few more popped up over the next couple of days – but this trickle soon turned into a flood 🌊
I decided that I needed to find out just how many of our customers had won. Cue a lot of manual work, but work that turned out to be well worth it.
In total, a staggering 70% of our customers earned this award across 23 countries. This. Is. HUGE.
2 of our customers were even listed in the top 25 hotels in Europe. Wow. WOW.
What is the Travellers’ Choice designation?
To begin with, in Tripadvisor’s own words:
Travel in 2020 looked different, to say the least. We stayed a little closer to home, hit the open road, took to the great outdoors, and saw our own hometowns in a new light. And millions of travellers everywhere shared reviews and opinions based on those places and moments that left an impression.
Our Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best list is drawn from the experiences of the best experts possible: Real travellers who’ve been there before.
From family resorts to boutique charmers: the highest-rated stays around the world.Tripadvisor
So in every market, Tripadvisor digs through all of their reviews. Only the properties with happiest guests, posting the best reviews, will earn the designation of Travellers’ Choice.
What it means to be a Travellers’ Choice winner after 2020
Tripadvisor said it well: “Travel in 2020 looked different, to say the least”. Hotels needed to pivot and fundamentally adjust how they operate if they were to survive. Sadly, not everyone made it. We lost a few long-term customers to closure and bankruptcy.
“…the first guests to return became messengers. They were the barometer to all other potential guests as to whether they felt the hotel had “got it right” via the reviews they would leave.”
But for those who managed to keep trading, getting it right was going to make or break their business. Travellers would decide if they felt comfortable; if the measures put in place at a property gave them confidence, and that they were still able to enjoy their stay. And this would be reflected in the reviews that they posted on Tripadvisor.
Enter: GuestJoy, and the complete guest experience
Staff are wearing masks. There’s a perspex panel at the reception desk between guests and staff. Cleaning regimes have changed. All these changes are vital – but equally so is the guest experience, and GuestJoy proved itself pivotal for our customers and their guests.
Throughout 2020, timely, effective guest communication became absolutely crucial as situations changed and evolved from day to day. Hoteliers using GuestJoy had complete control of how they kept their guests informed – and it all happens automatically – as soon as a reservation is made.
Prior to arrival
The moment guests make their booking, they receive a confirmation email which is able to be customised with the content the hotelier wants them to see. This is a big step up from boring, plain-text emails, or emails where hotels can’t customise the content (or worse – both!), usually sent by the PMS.
Guests choose hotels over short-stay accommodation for a reason – the opportunity to take advantage of little luxuries and experiences they might not have access to in their day-to-day life. But with the onset of the pandemic, a lot of the offers hotels might have presented their guests were often no longer possible. Hoteliers needed to innovate and provide guests with unique ways that they could enhance their stay.
And innovate they did! In 2020, we saw so many hotels coming up with new upsell and cross-sell possibilities for their guests, despite most of them needing to adhere to strict rules and guidelines. Through GuestJoy, guests were able to customise their stay with ultra-personalised offers and upgrades presented by their hotel. Almost ironically, many hotels using GuestJoy had some of their best upsell figures ever.
One of the biggest changes to hospitality in 2020 was the increased adoption of contactless check-in solutions. GuestJoy had offered online check-in for over a year by that point, but the pandemic was the catalyst the hospitality sector needed to finally move forward, and most hotels will not be going back.
Needless to say, guests have loved checking in online as well. A fast, safe arrival, without needing to stand in (now socially-distanced) queues is no longer just a nice thing – it’s an expectation. After all, we’ve been checking in online for our flights for years now; why shouldn’t it be the same at hotels?
Hoteliers discovered they too loved the efficiency of online check-in. The average guest spends 8 minutes at reception completing their check-in – and this doesn’t include time spent standing in lines. This meant that over the course of a day, many labour hours were saved.
GuestJoy’s check-in form is completely customisable, so that hoteliers can collect any information they need. Passport/ID scans, digital signature, data for accompanying guests, credit card details, terms and conditions, and any question they could think of – this endless flexibility is now so popular, that submitting check-in data is now the number one action completed on the GuestJoy platform 😮
I’ve seen so many ways that hotels have adapted to the changing conditions over the past 15 months. One of the most impressive were hotels who used GuestJoy to provide a digital guest compendium.
Understandably, the guest compendium is a complex cleaning touch point. It would take a lot of time to effectively disinfect; and guests might not even be confident that the compendium was clean, and avoid using it. Again, another example of hospitality adopting technology for the good of everyone, and many of our hotels will not be switching back.
During-stay feedback became more important than ever during 2020. Being able to reach out to guests throughout their stay to check if everything is going well provides hoteliers with an opportunity to potentially resolve issues while the guest is still at the property. Naturally, this is much better than finding out about said issues in the form of a bad review once the guest has left.
This is the stage of the guest journey that became far more important last year.
Many hotels closed for a period, either due to government-mandated shutdowns, or such had low occupancy that it made no sense to trade at all.
Once hotels began to reopen, the first guests to return became messengers. They were the barometer to all other potential guests as to whether they felt the hotel had “got it right” via the reviews they would leave. These reviews in turn heavily influenced the choice that subsequent guests would make when choosing which property they would book.
This is where GuestJoy’s post-stay feedback emails proved invaluable.
It’s one thing to have a happy guest – but will they let others know about it? Thanking guests for their stay, and then inviting them to complete the Tripadvisor review right out of the GuestJoy email made it simple for guests to leave their opinions.
And remember, that’s how Travellers’ Choice is awarded – a high number of positive reviews posted. And almost all of GuestJoy’s customers collect more Tripadvisor reviews via GuestJoy than submitted to Tripadvisor directly!
70% of our customers being designated as Travellers’ Choice is absolutely amazing to hear, but at the same time, we cannot say we are shocked about it. The reason is because GuestJoy truly covers the entire guest experience.
Having separate systems in place at a hotel to cover everything that GuestJoy does will inevitably lead a poor guest experience; one that is jarring and frustrating.
Picture it yourself: You book your hotel stay and receive a bland email confirming your reservation. The hotel has already missed its chance to make a good first impression.
Next, you are prompted to enhance your stay with another email – one that looks completely different from the first. You’re taken into a new environment that you need to learn in order to customise your stay.
You get notified that you can check-in online, which is great; but once again, the notification you receive bears no resemblance to the others you’ve previously received. You may even start to question which of these are genuinely from the hotel you’re staying at.
Finally, you start the check-in process, only to be presented with another new environment to figure out how to navigate.
Once your stay is complete, yet another email – different from the previous ones, of course – asks how your stay was.
Do you want to force that upon your guest?
I’d hazard a guess and say no.
And that’s not even taking into consideration the time involved to set up, train staff, and maintain each of those separate systems, let alone pay for them.
Finally, any system that only serves one purpose in this day and age is going to be redundant very soon. It just makes good sense to cover everything in one comprehensive platform.
An expected outcome
I mentioned earlier how I was happy but not at all shocked that so many of our hotels earned the Travellers’ Choice 2021 designation.
To me, it is a sign that GuestJoy is merely doing what it says on the box. It’s helping hoteliers around the world to provide their guests with a complete experience. One that isn’t over-the-top with tech gimmickry, yet makes everything so easy and accessible.
To our customers who earned this accolade, I’d like to congratulate you all. You’re doing exactly what you should be doing, and your guests have recognised you for that.
Some companies claim – rather baselessly – to be the number 1 in their field.
We’d rather just let the numbers speak for themselves 🙂📈
Latvian hospitality isn’t worldwide famous (even though it should be!) but Dace and Romans at Riga Lux Apartments are definitely bringing you the best of the best. Located in the heart of Riga, walking distance from all the main attractions it’s truly a home you have on your holiday.
Now that GuestJoy and Cloudbeds have two-way integration the hotel managers have an even easier job. All visitors can check-in online, and the two platforms work harmoniously together in the background.
GuestJoy: What was the concept behind the Riga Lux Apartments?
Romans: 6 years ago we had an idea; let’s try to invest in short-term rentals but in a different way, somewhere between a hotel and a home. We wanted our guests to be able to submerge in local culture yet feel at home. To be able to explore the city easily and provide them with all the comfort and amenities that their own house would have. This is our ideal vacation style. We tried this for a summer and saw immediately that there is a need for this.
All of us like to be with our guests, we put effort into engaging with them. After all these years we have 37 apartments and we are very proud that the customer service is still top quality.
“…now that we have GuestJoy we can send out automated emails with all kinds of information and upselling to our guests. We feel strongly that the guests should have a perfect stay and personalized offers can enhance that. “
Dace: I joined in because I was searching for a new challenge. I worked as a real estate property developer and when Romans invited me to help him develop his business I was very excited. We share a passion for hospitality. In Latvia, the guest always gets the best place at the table, the best slice of pie, and the best room to sleep in. It’s a tradition.
GuestJoy: How do you deal with challenges in the industry? What is your advice to hospitality professionals?
Romans: We don’t have one big challenge I could point out, it’s rather about constant learning and adapting. Besides reading hospitality news and getting the best technology out there I keep very informed about our guests and talk to them regularly. We are constantly improving ourselves.
Informing guests can be challenging, but we are very grateful that we have GuestJoy as a platform for communication. And also for all the statistics, tips and advice. Now we know how to best engage with the customer pre-arrival, and market our services effectively. It’s especially important for late arrivals because people can just easily look up the information and they don’t have to be at the reception for an hour.
Dace: I believe that hospitality will not yet recover from the times we are experiencing now, but we can all use this time to slow down and reflect. Not just on ourselves, but to reconsider how we do our jobs and how can we do even more, how can we give the best to our visitors. I have a lot of ideas for development.
GuestJoy: What do you enjoy most about your job?
Romans: Personally, I like to engage with the guest, and I am very proud of the ‘product’ and service we created. Riga Lux Apartments is truly special, it’s your home when on vacation.
Dace: There are so many things, I don’t know where to start! Firstly, just like Romans, I love the brand we created. We are all passionate hospitality professionals, and the whole crew believes in the product. We are truly like a family here.
How does GuestJoy help you in your daily work?
Romans: The pre and post-stay emails are lifesavers! Before we would have done this manually, but now that we have GuestJoy we can send out automated emails with all kinds of information and upsell to our guests. We feel strongly that the guests should have a perfect stay and personalized offers can enhance that.
Dace: We are grateful for your support team. Even though the system works once we set it up we still get a lot of input from you all. We love the email function, enabling us to get in touch with every guest. And it’s great that they read it. We also get statistics from you and that’s wonderful because we can learn from it and improve further.
An interview with Sandra Dis, Interior Designer and Marketing Manager of Hotel Umi
Here at GuestJoy we work with world-class excellence daily. We decided to feature some of our hotels in blog articles so you can learn more about local hospitality and GuestJoy’s finest all around the world.
Iceland is one of GuestJoy’s biggest markets. The first customer we interviewed is Sandra from Hotel UMI. This wonderful hotel is located on the southern coast of Iceland surrounded by beautiful nature with views of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Designed, built and maintained by Sandra’s family, the hotel received a World Luxury Hotel Award in 2019.
Hi Sandra! Would you like to introduce yourself and the Hotel Umi?
My family owned a patch of land in Southern Iceland where my father used to spend summers as a child. The idea of opening a hotel came to us because we were thinking we would like to share the beauty of this area with the world. The hotel is owned by my parents, they are my bosses and my family manages everything around UMI. It’s a small hotel, we have 28 rooms. We wanted to keep it small, so guests can get to know each other or the staff, learn their stories and make new friends. Before this, we had little to no experience in hospitality, I am actually an interior designer.
What an amazing story! So did you get a chance to add your personal touch?
Indeed! I designed the insides, I wanted to make it very comfortable to all guests. My idea was to create common spaces where people can relax. Our area is full of natural wonders so people come here to hike and explore, after a busy day outside we would like to provide an opportunity for them to unwind.
That is why we have an excellent bar and restaurant. As we are not in a town, there aren’t many places to go out to so we put a great emphasize on having a excellent restaurant and bar.
Another thing we are very proud of is that all our windows look to wonderful nature. On one side is Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano that erupted in 2010 and stopped European traffic for a while and on the other side is beautiful grassfields leading down to the ocean.
And what is your personal experience in hospitality, what do you love about it?
It is one of the most versatile jobs. I get to do so many different things and meet all kinds of new people. Not just our guests but our staff also, who comes from all around Europe.
I guess the Icelandic market is interesting in a sense that people come here to see nature, to have an adventurous holiday and there are often these large groups of American or Asian travellers coming to see our country. However we are not a big hotel so we mostly get couples or families. Also the Icelandic market is not big since we are such a small population that live her in Iceland so between 5-10% of our guest are Icelandic.
What are the daily challenges you face at your hotel?
It has nothing to do with guests, or online reputation, we have amazing scores online. Our biggest challenge is staffing, since we are not located in a city it is hard to find valuable pastime besides nature. I think this is a big problem in the hotel industry here in Iceland. Most of the staff in the hotel industry here in Iceland are foreigners and they often come to Iceland to work for a few months to save up money or to experience and adventure. People work with us for a couple of months or half a year, so it is challenging because we constantly need to train new staff. However we are very grateful that we have some staff that have been with us for a long time now and other ones that are coming back to us after their travels.
The other issue we usually deal with is local weather. We often experience closed roads due to snowstorm which can be difficult to communicate to our guests. However we are thinking of using GuestJoy’s announcement feature to send out up-to-date weather info to our guests.
Let’s talk a bit about your experiences with GuestJoy
As far as the implementation goes GuestJoy is an easy program. I got a training in the very beginning and have managed to do everything independently since. Our Assistant Manager didn’t even get a training and she still manages to use it easily every day.
We have been using GJ for almost a year, we are happy and have a great experience with the product. We sell more services and offers than before, guests are booking tables, restaurant offers and it is great to know the bookings in advance because our kitchen and hotel staff can schedule their tasks accordingly.
The upselling feature is the one we are keen on, we sell a lot of lunchboxes and dinners in advance. Another thing I appreciate is the dashboard where you can see the revenues and orders and the special requests feature. That is really smart because if the guests have any special wishes we can set it up for them pre-arrival.
We really like the survey feature too, it allows us to ask exactly what were the guests unhappy with if they have something to complain about.
Property: Salvator Hotels & Apartments, Prague, Czech Republic • Website
Key contact: Martin Votřel, Sales manager
About the property: Hotel Salvator is situated among Prague’s listed historical buildings and is located directly in the historical city center. It was awarded Hotel of the Year *** in 2014. Thanks to its location, Hotel Salvator is a great starting point to set out and discover Prague. The building has retained its original character, including the rustic La Boca restaurant, which offers an attractive alternative to the modern, high-capacity hotels (owned by international corporations) in the center of Prague.
Martin and his team had been communicating with their guests manually, and even back then in 2017, they understood how important it is to welcome the guests before their arrival, showing what they can purchase to make their stay more pleasant. So they were searching for a system that would ease up the work of the receptionist and make it even more productive.
The only thing that we needed was the reports, that we now receive from GuestJoy.
Martin did not engage in the setup process, which was handled by his colleague, but now he is in charge of all the systems they are using in their hotel. He thinks that the GuestJoy system is easily understandable and clear. Whenever Martin has had any questions, he received assistance immediately.
He thinks that the GuestJoy system is easily understandable and clear. Whenever Martin has had any questions, he received assistance immediately.
For Martin, one of the most useful features of GuestJoy is that he is notified by email of any new reviews, which means he doesn’t need to check the system on a daily basis.
He is in charge of 3 locations, so it would be really hard to go through GuestJoy and every other partner, like OTAs and websites, that they use every day. So for this matter, the weekly reports are really helpful. He only uses the system if he has to update the Concierge offers, but now with the new segmentation improvements, it will save him even more time and streamline the process. “We constantly change the offers that are being shown in the mail and the “Most popular” offers, as well, but at least once a month, I do visit the app and go through it more thoroughly.” – said Martin.
What did GuestJoy achieve for Salvator Hotels & Apartments?
Martin is really glad that GuestJoy eased up the work of the reception, which was the most important thing for them. Martin and his team are glad about the outcome of the pre-stay emails, as guests do order transfers and parking through the mobile concierge a lot. Discounts are being offered through GuestJoy as well, especially during the off-season. This helps them maintain the number of orders placed by guests, to keep their upsell revenue high, not to mention a large number of positive reviews they receive through GuestJoy.
Salvator Hotels & Apartments’ message to other hoteliers
We are happy with GuestJoy and are not planning to change it, as we like the fact that we communicate with all guests automatically via email, irrespective of how the reservation came to us. Then they get redirected to our Concierge page, which is well organized, even if you open it on your mobile phone. In my opinion, GuestJoy is perfect for hotels similar to ours, with around 40-50 rooms. I haven’t had enough experience with managing big hotels and am not familiar with the processes, this is why I cannot say something more, but I think every hotel should at least try it, in order to understand the benefits.
Property: Hotel Cosmopolitan Bobycentrum, Brno, Czech Republic • Website Key contact: Olesya Oleynyk, Front Office Manager About the property: Hotel Cosmopolitan Bobycentrum is a 4* hotel which has been reconstructed last year. It was built back in 1993. It is located in Královo Pole, which is the northern area of Brno. We started our cooperation not so far ago, 3 months, to be exact, but already now Olesya Oleynyk and her team are confident and happy with the results. Upsell was only possible directly at the reception, as they haven’t been using any system before GuestJoy.
It takes only a couple of hours, for my colleagues, to understand how to work with the system.
“The set up went really fast and smooth, as GuestJoy is user-friendly and it was very easy to accomplish, as the customer support was always friendly and did their best to help if we needed it”, said Olesya.
“The set up went really fast and smooth, as GuestJoy is user-friendly and it was very easy to accomplish, as the customer support was always friendly and did their best to help if we needed it”
Olesya finds the system and functions to be intuitive. If somebody is afraid of the innovations and the changes that will have to be made, then they shouldn’t be worried about this at all, as GuestJoy will only make your life happier and easier.
There is no need to log in and check every day, as GuestJoy happily works on its own. Hotel Bobycentrum uses the reports at their weekly management meetings, where they go through the statistics of sales, reviews and feedback, and take certain measures if needed.
“GuestJoy will only make your life happier and easier.”
Hotel Cosmopolitan Bobycentrum’s message to other hoteliers.
“If you want to satisfy all guest expectations and want to be ahead of all the customers’ needs, then you should definitely try GuestJoy. Only this will help you understand what are the weak parts of your hotel and what needs improvement. Your guests will be satisfied and you will build up a good relationship with returning customers.”
“If you want to satisfy all guest expectations and want to be ahead of all the customers’ needs, then you should definitely try GuestJoy.”
Get in touch with us and let’s talk about how GuestJoy could help your hotel.
Property: Hotel Keflavik, Iceland • Website
Key contact: Lilja Karen Steinþórsdóttir • LinkedIn
About the property: Hotel Keflavik is positioned on the doorstep of Reykjanes’ Peninsula breath-taking nature and only 15 minutes from the Blue Lagoon.
We interviewed Lilja Karen Steinþórsdóttir, Assistant Manager of Hotel Keflavik and asked about how has GuestJoy improved their guest communication just in the first eight months since they started using GuestJoy.
When you made the decision to start with the GJ platform, how important was the review component to you? Our reviews have always been important to us and to know what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong and hopefully correct the situation as soon as possible if a guest is not satisfied. I think it is probably more important than upselling as this is what our potential guests usually check first before making a reservation.
How has GJ helped with managing those unfortunate situations where a guest didn’t enjoy their stay and left a low (1-3) stay rating? GuestJoy has helped a lot. We immediately get the email notice about unsatisfied guests and then we can contact them directly via email to try to correct the situation and learn from our mistakes. This helps us to have direct contact with the guest as soon as possible which is great for both parties.
“GuestJoy has helped a lot. We immediately get the email notice about unsatisfied guests and then we can contact them directly via email to try to correct the situation and learn from our mistakes. This helps us to have direct contact with the guest as soon as possible which is great for both parties.”
How much of an impact did GuestJoy have on your current TripAdvisor position? For Hotel Keflavik we have around 1.200 reviews and ranked 4.5 stars and have received a certification of excellence. For Diamond Suites, we have ranked 5.0 stars and have also received a certification of excellence. Our restaurant KEF restaurant has a 4.5 ranking and a certificate of excellence.
Any other comments or suggestions? Hotel Keflavik has been in the top 3 overall in Iceland (all reviews on different sites for 4-star hotels ranked together) for weeks on end and taking the top spot now during the summer months and we could not be more pleased. Our staff has been working very hard to make each guest have the most pleasant stay possible with us as we offer a good and friendly service and they have surpassed all our expectations. We are quite proud of our staff and hotel and the services we have to offer. GJ has been helping us with managing reviews very well and sufficiently and we love the concierge site as it is easy to use and professional for our guests. I highly recommend GJ for all hotels and guesthouses. The staff of GJ has been more than helpful and very pleasant to work with and very quick to respond. We are quite happy with our cooperation with GJ.
“I highly recommend GJ for all hotels and guesthouses. The staff of GJ has been more than helpful and very pleasant to work with and very quick to respond. We are quite happy with our cooperation with GJ.”
Talk to us to learn about the difference it could make at your hotel.
Property: Argo Hotel Belgrade, Serbia • Website
Key contact: Filip Maksutović • LinkedIn
About the property: One of the best-located hotels in the city, Argo Hotel Belgrade is a winning choice for business and leisure travelers alike. With a dedicated, welcoming team behind him, we asked hotel manager Filip Maksutović what sort of impact GuestJoy has had since going live in February 2019.
Argo Hotel Belgrade had gone a long time without having a system to streamline guest communication. 4 years ago, they used another very popular application. “But only for a short period of time. After around 3 months, we decided to stop using it”, said Filip. Argo Hotel then started using GuestJoy in February of 2019. Let’s look at what it’s done for them.
More reviews, better guest communication
“GuestJoy has a big impact on our hotel when it comes to reviews”, said Filip. “We now receive more TripAdvisor reviews than before, and 95% of those reviews are ratings of five out of five”.
95% of all TripAdvisor reviews collected via GuestJoy for Argo Hotel are rated 5 out of 5
Easy to set up and use
That wasn’t the only positive experience. According to Filip, just setting up and using the app was also positive: “Setting up the app was really easy. GuestJoy is honestly very user-friendly, and that is important to us”.
“GuestJoy is honestly very user-friendly, and that is important to us”
Argo Hotel’s message to other hoteliers
Our first hotel in the Balkans, Argo Hotel and GuestJoy enjoy a very strong partnership. “For sure, we would recommend GuestJoy; especially for hotels that are not part of hotel chains”, Filip said, adding “Also, we have only needed to contact you for support once, and you were very helpful”.
More than ever, your guests expect technology to complement their stay. GuestJoy provides you with a digital guest platform; one that allows you to increase upsell revenue and get better reviews, all while providing your guest with a fantastic experience before, during, and after their stay.
Talk to us to learn about the difference it could make at your hotel.
Property: Hotel Kriunes, Reykjavik, Iceland • Website
Key contact: Sara Björnsdóttir
About the property: Hotel Kríunes is a small slice of paradise located on the outskirts of Reykjavík city. This family-owned hotel was established in 1998 by Björn Ingi Stefánsson and his family.
With special personalized service and a relaxed atmosphere, Hotel Kríunes makes you feel at home.
Sara and her team kicked off their journey with GuestJoy not long before Christmas 2018. Prior to using GuestJoy, Hotel Kriunes didn’t use another system; all guest communication was done manually via email. Even though the system had an immediate impact on upsell revenue and more quality reviews, they feel the best is still to come.
GuestJoy is a “Set and forget” system
Hotel Kriunes was very pleased with how easily GuestJoy became part of their average day, but without requiring constant attention. “GuestJoy is so integrated in our day to day work, that we don’t even notice it. Everything runs well. We only hear about it when people order something!”, said Sara. Further to that, Hotel Kriunes was satisfied with customising the system the way they wanted it. “It was pretty easy to set up GuestJoy.”, Sara commented, “Also, we had good help in being shown how everything works”.
“GuestJoy is so integrated in our day to day work, that we don’t even notice it.”
What did GuestJoy achieve for Hotel Kriunes?
Guests of Hotel Kriunes instantly loved the offers presented to them, with the hotel is averaging around 155,000kr in upsell revenue monthly. Their best month to date saw a tally of just under 220,000kr, however Sara and her team believe they will do even better as they mature their upselling.
On the reputation side of things, the number of TripAdvisor reviews Hotel Kriunes collects instantly increased. “People leave more reviews than before!” Sara happily added. She’s not kidding! GuestJoy now accounts for 1 in every 2 reviews Hotel Kriunes receives on TripAdvisor.
50% of all new reviews for Hotel Kriunes on TripAdvisor are submitted via GuestJoy
Asked whether she would recommend the system to others, Sara had a simple response: “GuestJoy will make your daily work easier. I would recommend it for all hotels.” Thanks, Sara!
“GuestJoy will make your daily work easier. I would recommend it for all hotels.”
We look forward to continuing working together to make sure Hotel Kriunes is able to get as much as possible from GuestJoy. Your guests are quickly moving towards a digital environment. At GuestJoy, we provide your guests with a seamless digital hotel experience. One that streamlines communication, maximises upsell opportunities, and helps your hotel strengthen its reputation by increasing the number of quality reviews it receives. Talk to us today to find out how.
Property: Hotel Haaga Central Park, Helsinki, Finland • Website
Key contact: Osmo Suominen • LinkedIn
About the property: Hotel Haaga Central Park is a wellness hotel offering diverse services in the Haaga district by the Central Park of Helsinki. The hotel has 122 comfortable guest rooms, premises for various sizes of events and a wide range of meeting rooms for up to 240 people.
We asked Osmo Suominen, Operations Manager at the hotel about his thoughts on working with GuestJoy, nine months after the hotel went live with it in July 2018.
What came up continually in his comments was the simplicity of GuestJoy; both in setting it up initially, and also using it from day to day. He also described the setup process as convenient, easy and smooth.
What was the biggest success?
The biggest win for Hotel Haaga since implementing GuestJoy has definitely been with TripAdvisor.
Whereas once, Haaga’s TripAdvisor ranking was 49, it has steadily risen to now be hovering around 13 to 12, thanks to GuestJoy. Add to that, the number of completed reviews on TripAdvisor has increased dramatically. Prior to switching to GuestJoy, their total number of reviews was barely growing:
Importantly, Osmo felt that in his interactions with GuestJoy Support, he always received a “good response”, and once again commented about how simple it was to have questions answered or issues resolved.
Finally, when asked which hotels he would recommend GuestJoy to, Osmo’s tip was that independent hoteliers would benefit the most from the app.
Thanks to Osmo and his team at Hotel Haaga Central Park for our continuing partnership!
If you’d like to find out how GuestJoy can help your hospitality business to stand out more, then we’re just one phone call/email away. Get in touch with us today http://bit.ly/GetGuestJoy