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 We could either recruit more people to deal with these issues and keep the outdated process our guests didn’t enjoy.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