Customer Experience

Is This a Hospital or a Hotel? - By John Hendrie

No matter the business, differentiation and distinction count! In that big tent 'Retail', we all know it is about the Customer Experience – what we deliver that makes that experience meaningful and memorable.
Hospital Staff Standing Outside A Hospital
Is This a Hospital or a Hotel?

LRA Worldwide We also know that we need to be distinct and understand how to market that differentiation, while maintaining a high level of service, product and facility. Some other industrial sectors have tentatively applied hospitality to their operations, and several have understood the value as well as enhanced their brand, specifically Health Care and Senior Living.

In our hospitals and medical centers, they, much like a hotel, have beds to fill and meals to serve. However, most of their guests would rather not be there. In the senior living arena, housing choices adapt to further continuum of care and living requirements – accommodations, if you will (independent living, assisted living, rehab, etc.), and some dining options. Once again, there are similarities to hospitality operations. What can set these experiences apart? Namely, attention to detail, heightened amenities and emphasis on guest services. These work, and they will boost your brand!

An Op-Ed piece in the New York Times on September 22, 2013, laid out the premise very well in “Is This a Hospital or a Hotel?” Not dismissing the diagnostic aspect of a hospital stay, Dr. John Romley, a research professor, stated, “We found that patient demand correlates much better to amenities than quality of care”. In relating to the senses, deluxe accommodations, big screen TV’s, nail salons and superb food might just assist the healing process. I feel better already!

The article further related the 2006 hiring of an experienced hotel executive to run a major hospital in the Michigan Henry Ford Health System. Within this very competitive medical market, CEO Nancy Schlichting thought the decision was a very good one. “The idea was to take care of patient’s needs…clinical and otherwise”. Who better than a hotelier to direct the effort?

Senior living has competitive choices as well, moving from the Medicare subsisted to the sublime community. As you research the differences (and pricing), amenities and guest attention flow – from a Concierge to fine dining and beyond. This is much like moving from a budget stay to a five star hotel.

Hospitality companies are beset with speedy customer reviews. Health Care facilities and Senior Living are receiving attention, too. Good and bad news travels so swiftly. If there is a chance to stand out, it must be taken. A hospitality orientation does just that. Francoise, a jello for Mr. Phelps, just out of surgery, s’il vous plait!

LRA LogoJohn 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

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