We live in a world today where 90 percent of companies compete solely based on the customer experience. This certainly includes organizations in hospitality, where delivering a memorable guest experience has never been more crucial. In today’s ultra-competitive market, managers are quick to adopt newer technologies and bolder service strategies to create out-of-the-box experiences that guests will always remember. For many leaders in this industry, it’s all about pushing the envelope.
While I agree that innovation is key within every industry for it to grow, adapt and thrive, I also believe that the only way to deliver a truly unmatched guest experience is to understand where guests’ priorities lie. If your investments and efforts aren’t in perfect alignment with what your guests truly value, then you’re missing the mark.
So, in today’s ever-evolving world, just how much have guest expectations really changed? Research shows that:
-Most common among online guest reviews is that guests love when staff members remember their name during their stay (especially when names are remembered from a previous stay)
-A common complaint among guest reviews involves the hours and availability of complimentary breakfasts
-Bed, bathroom and general location are the most mentioned factors when it comes to the overall guest experience
-The No. 1 must-have amenity for guests today is a comfortable bed
-Price still tops amenities as the biggest influencer of guests’ choice of hotel
Breakfast, a comfy bed, room cleanliness…perhaps delivering an amazing guest experience isn’t as complicated as it’s made out to be.
For hotel managers (i.e. front desk managers, housekeeping supervisors, general managers), here are 15 ideas for transforming the guest experience that are just as impactful today as they were decades ago:
1. Arrange to have a personalized welcome letter in guests’ rooms upon their arrival; include information about the local area, as well as unique activities to get their experience started.
2. Take time to bid a warm farewell when guests leave; ask how their experience was, verses asking them about their stay.
3. Have each of your associates pick five hotel guests to write a personal welcome note to; go above and beyond by including a small gift with each note.
4. Promote a warm and welcome check-in for guests with complimentary water, candies or themed food and beverage offerings.
5. Offer special perks that you know guests will appreciate; for example, a complimentary morning newspaper at their doors or personalized pillow services. Inquire also about special requests if your guests have them, and do your best to accommodate.
6. Do something new every morning to promote a friendly, professional and energetic environment for your staff; get creative, think outside of the box and personalize your efforts to your associates.
7. Design an incentive program that effectively captures room inspections and guest comments; be sure to consistently reward your team for a job well done.
8. For long-term stays, send guests a handwritten note offering a microwave or any other amenity they may want but don’t have to ensure they are comfortable.
9. Keep your team motivated and show them that you care; something as simple as offering ice cold water bottles on a hot day can make a world of a difference.
10. Always celebrate staff successes, opportunities and moments of learning.
11. Be out with your team in the action by walking the property; try not to bury yourself in the office, as tempting as it may sometimes be.
12. Greet guests at peak times so that they can see you are accessible and want to hear from them.
13. Paint a clear picture for your team of expectations they can reach and exceed; reward positive behaviors monthly (again, consistency here is key!)
14. Celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries to show your team you are thinking of them and are appreciative of their work.
15. Empower, train and promote from within; there is nothing more exciting than mentoring your next leader(s).
Remember: classic never gets old. It seems most guests today understand this fact. The question is: how many of today’s hotel managers embrace this in their service strategies?