Hospitality providers in this experience era must recalibrate how they frame their product and service for the Guest in a sensory fashion. Starbucks is not about coffee. Lexus and Harley Davidson are not about their 'wheels'. Some hoteliers lead the way, as do a number of restaurants.
An engaging Guest Experience is in the reach of everyone. It does not cost an “arm and a leg”. It will require, though, a different approach to conducting business - emphasize a “holistic” shift, where you promote and deliver a balance for the body, mind, spirit and emotions of our Guests.
A key component to the Guest Experience is the relationship. In hotels, management has effectively created numerous barriers; there is little human interaction with the Guest. Management is a prisoner of the office where their time is directed by the numbers – budgets, forecasts, labor. They may walk the property, say hello to the Guest – they are visible, and that is important. Yet, the interaction is cursory at best and does not construct a relationship.
The promissory outreach is further diminished for the Guest through the vital “first impressions”: an automated hotel telephone system, an artificial, cold welcome at the door, formerly hosted by Guest Services, and the further affront at Reception, where dialogue and eye contact are dictated by the computer. This is how we say: “Welcome to our Hospitality. We care for you, value your patronage, will attend to your needs, and create a memorable Experience!” We can do much better with our execution and sincerity!
It is about the relationship, your personal touch. How do we bring that back and better showcase our passion, our story, our brand excellence? Leadership sets the tone on this strategy, but your executive team should become involved and attain ownership with their ideas and input. Talk about an opportunity for Brainstorming the Guest Experience!
Hospitality is unique. The landscape is ever changing and challenging. Yet, it is the Experience which counts, and what makes the Guest Experience memorable is the relationship.
John Hendrie is the author of the LRA blog 'A Guy Walks In'. LRA is a leading research and consulting company in the emerging discipline of Customer Experience Management (CEM). We work with our clients to help them design and deliver consistently exceptional customer experiences in order to drive customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy, and company growth and profitability. We have built a range of quality assurance, mystery shopping, research, training and consulting solutions to help them do so.
Today, we are a growing company operating in more than 120 countries throughout the world, servicing our clients from offices and resources in the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific regions and helping clients such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, the National Football League, Avis Budget Group, Madison Square Garden, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group deliver exceptional customer experiences. Every touch. Every time. For more information, visit www.LRAworldwide.com.
Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.