Well, the 'Majors' have done it again. They have rediscovered Hospitality fundamentals by revisiting the guest room.
In print, the internet, our hand-helds, along with television, the consumer is no longer fully influenced by the flash, pizzaz and glitter for their travel dollars. Rather, we are now shown the “glamour” and receptivity of a wonderful, welcoming, warm bed, home-like furnishings and restful color schemes. Quite a turnaround in marketing strategy, but, after all, at the end of the day, we travelers do spend significant time in our guest room, and it should be comfortable, tasteful, clean and safe – a return to Hospitality basics. This is the first building block of that memorable experience.
All Hospitality operators need to pay attention to what leading hotel companies, such as WESTIN, Radisson, Sheraton and Marriott, are doing and demonstrating in the marketplace. They have the marketing clout to research, in-depth, track guest satisfaction and expectations met, gather reliable data, and present to the public what their research has uncovered. The results show that the consumer wants a quality experience in their room. And, you know what, they are right! Really, you can even purchase beds and appropriate linens on their respective Websites, and these products have become a new cottage industry for them. Talk about branding!
What can we, those without the resources of the “Majors”, learn and apply, for the consumer has spoken with specific expectations in mind, and we must deliver.
Firstly, in the parameters of your own guest room, suite, cottage or time share condo, fully reconsider your beds, your furniture, and, especially, your bathrooms. Spend a night, yourself, in one of your guest rooms. Sit upon your couches and chairs; enjoy the queen-sized bed. Use your bathroom and experience what your guests experience anew. If you are not satisfied, neither will be your guests. Take a hard, objective look at the following:
- Is the room absolutely CLEAN with no stains, wear, soil, peeling paper, paint chips, gauges, dents and dings?
- Are the furnishings in excellent shape with no rips, frays, burns or spills?
- What of the ambiance of the room, the lighting you have chosen, the color scheme, the guest room door security, the window privacy, the soundproofing, and ample closet space?
- Is the television in good working order, accessible with remote on hand; are you up to speed with technology; are guest room informational materials present and presentable?
- Are there unsavory odors, or simply the wrong aromas wafting about the room, bath or hall? Do the heat and A/C work satisfactorily?
- Lastly, and probably most importantly, is the bathroom. Housekeeping must be spotless; the tub/shower/jacuzzi in excellent condition; the toilet immaculate; the sink/vanity area commodious; floors, walls and ceiling sparkling; lighting generous; ventilation sufficient; and bathroom supplies and linen abundant.
The “Majors” have given us a heads-up with a clear message to return to the basics. The fundamental, quality Hospitality product is what the consumer demands, and they should. Some have grown lax in their responsibilities to the guest, and we need to recognize our obligation, for this translates directly to guest satisfaction and your bottom line. Get this right and then you can move onto the other aspects of the guest’s stay. But, it does start with the fundamentals - quality basics!
John Hendrie is the author of the LRA blog, focusing on anything and everything about customer experience. LRA Worldwide is the leading global provider of Customer Experience Measurement services for multinational companies with complex customer interactions. For over 30 years, LRA’s innovative brand standards audits, quality assurance inspections, mystery shopping programs, research, and consulting services have helped ensure our clients deliver consistent, memorable, and differentiated experiences to their customers. Many of the world's preeminent global hospitality brands, as well as companies in the gaming, dining, healthcare, sports and entertainment, real estate, retail and travel industries choose LRA to help them measure and improve the customer experience. For more information, visit www.LRAWorldwide.com.
Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.