What matters most to hotel guests is a topic that has increasingly been grabbing the headlines of newspapers, business articles and blogs as guest review sites and industry studies claim to have the answers.
Some of what is written can be misleading when comparing guest reviews for hotels that do not share the same standards, after all it’s important to compare apples with apples. Add to that the very subjective nature of what each individual guest is looking for and the process becomes ever more challenging.
Making a positive impression is essential for hotels that want to encourage repeat business as well as attract new clients that haven’t stayed before, but establishing a definitive list of guest wishes can be a tough ask. The reality is, every guest is different.
At Rufflets, we stay close to our guests – we think it’s the best way to gain insight. We gather information pre- and post-visit as well as asking for direct feedback during their stay. We think we have a pretty good idea of what our guests are looking for.
Knowing you are in safe hands
When we ask our guests what the most important aspect of their stay is at Rufflets, most say that they know exactly what to expect from their visit and that we never disappoint on service and quality. Between the months of May and September, 2018 – 31% of our guests had stayed with us previously and in the Winter months this increased to just over 41%. That’s a pretty remarkable percentage of our guests returning. Many of our guests also tell us that they have recommended Rufflets and referred us to other friends and family.
A comfortable room and bed
Hotels around the world continue to push boundaries in design in a rapidly changing industry that places similar value on technology as authenticity and experience. No matter how much hotels innovate, there are still some “basic” requirements that all properties should meet. A comfortable room and bed are non-negotiable. At Rufflets, every one of our rooms are unique in shape and size which adds to their individual character and charm. And our beds are selected from top manufacturers to ensure comfort (and a good night’s sleep)!
Having a story to tell
Places with interesting stories to tell that have played host to fascinating guests can make staying there a much more enchanting experience. Soaking up the history and learning more about its past can make for a much more memorable visit. Our own history dates back to 1924 when Rufflets was first built as a private home for Mrs Anne Brydon Gilroy, the widow of a prominent Dundee jute baron. There are reminders of its rich and colourful history throughout the hotel. In fact, Stephen our General Manager has had contact with the Gilroy Family over the last few years, and continues to learn more and more about the family, and the positive impact of their tenure on the property.
It’s all about the staff
Service is the next most important. At the end of the day, hotels are about two groups of people – guests and staff. Having a team that make guests feel immediately comfortable and at ease is essential. A sense of priority, plus a sense of humour helps in this business. Our team are the face of the hotel, many of who have been with Rufflets for many years. They are local and have a great knowledge of the hotel’s surroundings, how to get around and what to recommend to hotel guests. Our team are selected for their experience, but more importantly their personalities!
Making the restaurant stand out
Food can be a deciding factor for some guests. Not only is breakfast the most important meal of the day, for some guests it is the most important factor when staying at a hotel so it’s important to get it right. Instead of just providing a practical option for guest dining, we wanted to give our restaurant its own personality and make it a much more memorable experience for our guests. At the beginning of 2018 we launched Seasons where guests can dine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Making the space even more unique is our own Kitchen Garden – that we see many of our guests spending time in chatting to the gardeners.
Technology is so powerful, for many of our guests it is in their DNA. To address the growing need for reliable WiFi, we think outside our guests rooms. Of course WiFi is free for all of our guests staying at Rufflets. As well as being available in guest rooms, WiFi is also available in the all the public rooms so that no-one ever feels ‘disconnected’!
Our website www.rufflets.co.uk is available in mobile and desktop versions and it’s easy to book accommodation on-line. We are also working on a new platform to make booking Seasons at Rufflets or Afternoon Tea on line possible.
Like every hotel, our goal is to create a memorable experience which guests will want to repeat—and tell their friends and family about. Getting the combination of what they are looking for right is essential. Of course international travellers are a big part of our guest mix at Rufflets and we are careful to ensure that we do not overlook how important cultural differences can also be to the guest experience we provide.