Designing The Guest Experience

Territoriality and Its Noxious Effect on the Holistic Character of Experience Design in Hotels - By Osvaldo Torres Cruz

It is common knowledge that a hotel is made up by different departments in charge of offering products and associated services under specific norms, procedures, costs and standards. However, these specifications sometimes allow for territorial boundaries which are often impossible for the other departments to cross over, thus creating dysfunctional boundaries in terms of the final satisfaction of the guest.

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The Segis, after having planned their trip for over a year, finally arrived to the place they had dreamed about so much and where, as they had read and been told about, they would fulfill all their desires.

Upon arrival at the hotel, they were welcomed by a smiling and kind bellhop who invited them to a refreshing welcoming drink and some delicious local hors d´oeuvre.

At the reception, they were surprised when the receptionist addressed them by their name. They looked at each other and thought:

¨What a good choice we made, and this is just the beginning¨.

When they arrived to their room, their butler was waiting for them and the room was made according to their request, and so the Segis felt as if they were the most important people in the universe.

The following day, when coming out of the room, they asked the butler to change the beers for some lighter ones and to make their room before 13:00 for they wanted to have a siesta, something they had not enjoyed for a long time.

In spite of the efforts made by the butler, when the Segis returned to their room they found it was not yet made, and the beers arrived when they were about to leave for dinner. The couple did not know they were unfortunately suffering the effects of ¨territoriality¨ in the hotel industry.

It is common knowledge that a hotel is made up by different departments in charge of offering products and associated services under specific norms, procedures, costs and standards. However, these specifications sometimes allow for territorial boundaries which are often impossible for the other departments to cross over, thus creating dysfunctional boundaries in terms of the final satisfaction of the guest.

Many a time, the demands of guests cannot be satisfied on the time and in the way requested, because they are stuck by boundaries that require a lot of bureaucratic operations to be sorted out which in turn slow down or lead away the original service.

Some examples that set territoriality in a hotel are:

1-When the requests involve other areas and they have to wait for the authorization of certain people who are either not present or take too long to respond to them, without considering the priority of a request made by a guest.

2-The inability to ease up the standards and the operational flow of a department, thus forcing the guest to abide by them and not quite the contrary.

3-Setting the boundaries of an area or territory by not allowing the staff from other areas to access them.

4-Setting of a dysfunctional emotional ecology between the areas due to the inaccessibility of those in charge.

5-The excessive control and protection of the particular costs of each department without considering that the guest´s consumption expenditure will be reflected in the revenues of the company.

Territoriality is opposed to the establishment of a systemic thinking of the hotel as a company which can help to establish synergies through team work. The latter is contrary to minimizing efforts and favors a more efficient and effective use of the working tools, as well as developing the necessary creativity to offer different services.

Making the stay of a guest into great experiences is, no doubt, the key to success in differentiating and positioning a hotel in the growing and fierce hotel market. However, to make a guest live a unique experience this has to be a holistic one, which implies the integrality and linearity per se of all sectors of a hotel towards the same goal: guest satisfaction.

If we are able to eliminate the ¨territories¨ in a hotel, we will open the doors to the ideal world all guests are expecting, with no boundaries, to make their wishes and dreams come true.

Osvaldo Torres Cruz

Experiential Hospitality Consultancy
www.hotelguestexperience.com
hotelps@gmail.com



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