We each try to deal with this chaos in different ways. For me I have quickly passed through the phases of dread, disappointment, anger and mourning for our trashed 2019 season and moved onto building up my resources and planning for next year. One ongoing focus is continual improvements to my digital welcome guide. I let mine slip for a while and came back to see that our provider (we use Touchstay) have been making quite a lot of incremental improvements to the guide over the past 12 months. I will list a few below.
But importantly in these times of uncertainty and the need for clear precise information I have reminded myself on why we use digital guides and what they can bring to help us in our relationships with guests.
Save time, improve efficiency by not having to field guest questions
If people are running leaner operations then having all their guest questions answered in a guide is massive. The trick here is how the content is organised. Just having content somewhere in the guide is not helpful. It's got to be obvious. Avoid putting too many topics inside a section so the guest has to scroll to find what they need. The advice I believe is 2 or 3 (depending on length) topics in a section with the menu clearly labeled so the guest can navigate through the guide quickly and efficiently.
Display your professional organization
Not only are you driving efficiency, you're also serving the guest. In turn you are looking for ways to appear more professional than someone who doesn't take this approach.
With so many processes it's easy to forget that a guest can sometimes end up with multiple emails, docs, PDFs, etc to remember. Could everything the guest might need be found in the guide? - a one stop shop. I am reviewing all my communications with guests to see if I can place everything in my guide and so I can keep referencing to it whenever I am in touch with them.
Look professional by reinforcing brand
Digital guides can now be made to look and feel like your website, from colours and fonts to logo, photos, the way your write (brand voice), etc. Having that consistency with your website and other marketing is important in maintaining your brand. It also demonstrates to the guests that this is integral to your business and not just a bolt-on.
Updating changing content on the fly
There is now an optional COVID-19 section in the guide with suggested Q & As for you to take and amend as necessary. That could include cleaning policies clearly reinforced, refund policies, answering questions like "are restaurants open?", etc.
Here are some of the upgrades that I have implemented in my guide in recent days. Check out your guide and consider giving it a makeover.
- New grid menu with icons
- Progressive Web App (PWA)
- Search bar
- More pre written templated info
- Handle Wistia videos besides YouTube and Vimeo
- Custom meta title and description
- Custom Home Screen icon
- Add to Home Screen instructions pop up
- Optional turning on letting Google index your guidebook