Here's how to improve hotel guest satisfaction and get 5-star reviews

Are you looking for original ways to improve the hotel guest experience?

Do you want to learn how successful hotels solve guest problems?

Have you noticed a drop in your hotel reviews but have no idea why?

Let’s get you back on track - find out what hotel guests REALLY want and how to improve hotel guest satisfaction. Discover invaluable business tips that will have far-reaching impacts on guest loyalty and your profits.

What do hotel guests really want?

Let’s get the hard truth out of the way first. Your beds may have the softest pillows, and your delicious breakfasts may be deserving of a Michelin star. But even if you created heaven on Earth, none of it matters to your guests…


…unless your hotel is spotless. It’s true. 

Room cleanliness is a key driver of hotel guest satisfaction. It really is that simple:

Better room cleanliness = higher guest satisfaction and hotel reviews 

The single most common mistake we see among hoteliers is treating cleanliness as nothing more than a generic daily task, even though research shows that room cleanliness has the power to make or break your business. 

So, how can you upgrade your housekeeping game?

Enter housekeeping SOPs. Simply told, standard operating procedures⁠ are step-by-step instructions on how to complete each housekeeping task. 

If you have no standards in place, then it's impossible to manage and track your housekeeping department's performance. Things are much more likely to be missed - and you guessed it - guest satisfaction can quickly drop, resulting in bad reviews.

We want your business to thrive, so we prepared downloadable checklists that cover the most essential hotel SOPs. 

Here's how to improve hotel guest satisfaction and get 5-star reviews 1

Want to take it a step further? Flexkeeping lets you set up all your SOP checklists digitally, implement changes in real-time, and track the time it takes for housekeepers to complete each task.

Consider the main benefits of switching from pen and paper to interactive software:

  • Your knowledge and experience will be organized
  • Work processes will be clear to everyone
  • Training new staff members will be faster 
  • Staff will be held accountable for maintaining the standards you've put in place, which will directly benefit your hotel guest experience

Build guest trust with pre-stay communications

Don’t wait until your hotel guests check in to start communicating with them.

Before they arrive, inform your guests about the current cleaning and sanitization protocols. This simple effort goes a long way in making your guests feel comfortable during Corona times.

Be upfront about hotel limitations too. It is essential to communicate any restrictions regarding dining areas/restaurants, spas and public pools, fitness centers, etc. J.D. Power surveys* have shown that hotel guests now value direct, honest communication more than ever before.

So, what else can property managers do to meet the needs and preferences of their guests?

How to solve 4 most common problems faced by hotel guests

Ready to jump into solving the 4 most common problems faced by hotel guests? Let’s look at real-life guest complaints and how to solve them.

#1 Poor value for money

Hotel guest problem:I don’t feel like I’m getting my money’s worth here.”

A real-world example: Mini bars and room service are awesome, right? Well, according to hotel guests, not so much. 


Are you surprised that most guests don’t want to pay high prices for minibar drinks? Even from a business perspective, the cost of stocking a minibar is becoming unsustainable.

Solution: Provide your guests with a small fridge that they can stock themselves and watch your hotel make money. How so? Because happy, returning guests who had their needs met make you more money than guests who never come back. It’s all about tuning into and anticipating their needs

What about room service? 48% of hotel guests would sacrifice room service for lower hotel rates. Read that again: nearly half of hotel guests have little to no interest in room service! 

What you should do instead is provide great local recommendations to your guests. Our friends from JourneyMakr help busy hoteliers do just that with epic sustainable experiences inspired by insider local tips.

Which one would you choose: having a lonely cup of coffee in your hotel room or hanging out at the cozy neighborhood café owned by friendly locals? Exactly. Direct your guests to authentic spots that deliver unique experiences and watch your hotel reviews and revenue go through the roof!

Now repeat that exercise with valet parking, robes, and guest room radios. Research has shown that they are likely to share the fate of the dodo, so start working on alternative ideas for retaining guests now.

#2 Bad Internet access

Hotel guest problem: I’m never coming back to a hotel where WI-FI isn’t available 24/7.”

Amen. Keeping your guests separated from friends, families, and Instagram is a BAD idea. Guests want unlimited Internet access, and you shouldn’t treat it as an item from Beyonce’s rider. 

The connection should be smooth and available throughout the property. Remember, it’s not Pokémon GO - your guests shouldn’t be expected to scout the hotel to catch the Wi-Fi signal.

Solution: Make connecting to Wi-Fi easy. No questionnaires, no limitations - just post the password or a QR code in a visible place. 

Go the extra mile: Let the customers do the marketing for you! Nothing makes potential guests go “OMG, I want to stay there!” more than seeing genuine guest photos and videos of your hotel on social media. 

Develop your personal hashtag and entice your guests to post about their stay by giving them small incentives (chocolates go a looong way). Our partners from Selina took their IG to the next level by letting guest photos and captions do the talking.

Get inspired by their posts and don’t forget to check out what your competitors are doing too! 

#3 Lack of independence 

Hotel guest problem:I’ve been to job interviews that went smoother than your check-in.”

One of the biggest demands of guests today is checking in and out on their own, especially since the onset of COVID-19. Wave goodbye to an antiquated, admin-heavy check-in process and make your hotel guests happier by making your property smarter. 

Solution: Digitize bookings, check-ins, and check-outs. Instead of wasting their time and patience forcing your guests to wait in line, switch to a contactless guest journey. Our friends from Goki have revolutionized hospitality by automating the often tedious check-in and check-out process.

Remember: Eliminating repetitive tasks directly affects hotel guest satisfaction and opens space to increase revenue opportunities!

Here's how to improve hotel guest satisfaction and get 5-star reviews 2

#4 Outdated technology

Hotel guest problem: “I’m a millennial - please don’t make me use the phone.”

Unless you run a hotel that focuses on time traveling, there probably shouldn’t be a rotary phone in your room. Contacting the reception or booking a spa appointment should be 2 swipes or clicks away.

Solution: Back home, your guests are using apps and websites to order food, watch their favorite shows and even organize the entire vacation. Make them feel at home by providing smart devices or enabling them to use their own devices for easy access to hotel services. 

How to deal with negative hotel reviews and get 5-star reviews

We’ve talked about anticipating and solving the most common hotel guest problems.

But what about bad reviews? Can you turn negative comments into 5-star reviews?

Short answer: yes. Long answer:

The tips you’re about to read apply to ALL hotel sizes - from family-owned service apartments to legendary hotel chains.

Negative hotel reviews can be awesome…

…if you know how to deal with them.

Negative guest reviews should never be ignored or deleted.

Furthermore, NEVER react in a way that may be perceived as hurtful or humiliating for the guest. 

Think about the benefits of handling negative feedback in a professional manner:

  •  Both the disappointed guest, as well as future guests, can see that you’re open to criticism 
  •  It shows that guest satisfaction is important to you and that you continuously work on improving
  •  It humanizes you

Don’t stop at niceties; really commit to improving. Address the issues mentioned in critical reviews to create a relationship of trust between you and your guests. 

Once we trust someone and feel that our needs have been adequately met, we’re ready to take that little extra step, such as leaving fabulous reviews of our favorite hotel!

Do what the experts do: Really start using data

Last but not least: Harness the power of technology and the data it provides. There is a whole new world of possibilities for improving hotel guest experience and satisfaction. 

Just look at all the beautiful data you have access to as a hotel manager:

So much valuable information! Take it a step further by implementing preventive maintenance procedures to ensure everything is working like clockwork and guests have nothing to complain about. 

Focusing on hotel guest satisfaction inevitably leads to guest retention. You want your guests to return and recommend your property to friends and family as a great place to stay. 

Let us know how these tips are working out for you!

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