What Is The Guest Life Cycle?

IQware Hospitality 101

comfortable bedIf you’re brand new to hospitality you may have heard the term “guest life cycle” thrown around a fair bit…but what exactly is the guest life cycle?

Read on to find out.

You can think of the guest life cycle as the four stages a guest goes through when lodging at a property – before they arrive in the hotel, when they arrive, while they’re staying, and after they’ve departed.

Comprehensively, the guest life cycle involves the following stages:

  • Research
  • Booking
  • Pre-stay
  • Arrival
  • Occupancy
  • Check-out
  • Post-stay

In each of these stages you have an opportunity to provide excellent customer service, delighting your guest.

The Stages

During the pre-arrival stage the guest is choosing the hotel and making their reservation. Here you want to provide valuable information to the guest, convincing them that staying with you is the best decision. Ensure the reservation process is easy.

When the guest arrives, the front office staff will check them in and ensure they get to their room smoothly. If you’re familiar with the service blueprint, this is where so many of them focus because the arrival stage is both an easy time to delight a guest and an easy time to disappoint them. Removing service failure points in this stage is essential.

When a guest is staying with you that’s the occupancy part of the guest life cycle. Here the guest is physically on your property. They may make guest requests, they may not. They may post charges to their room (telephone, internet, etc.) or take advantage of your facilities.

Finally, the guest will check-out. As they depart your hotel the experience should be smooth and very easy. The front desk should collect guest feedback and use that to improve operations. Once the guest has left there is an opportunity to stay in touch, hoping to entice the guest to come back, give referrals, or perhaps even buy something from the gift shop. There is a lot of opportunity here for earning additional revenue.

Using the Guest Life Cycle

Mapping out the guest life cycle as we have can seem rather self-evident. It’s not a trite exercise however, as the next step is to detail each and every action a guest has to take (and that your staff have to take) during each stage.

Once you have a list you can eliminate failure points and add in activities that should be happening. As you fill in these gaps you increase your own revenue by doing a better job and additionally provide superior levels of guest satisfaction. If something is notably difficult for a guest – say using your booking engine – then take the time to simplify the process.

The guest life cycle is a powerful model which is why it’s so commonly used in hospitality management.