How to Make the Hotel Experience Special with James Gardiner
By Mihaela Lica Butler , Reporter for Hospitality Net
Since March 2017, James Gardiner is the General Manager of Joining the Hyatt Place London Heathrow Airport, and he is already making a difference. Airport hotels have the reputation of catering more to business travelers, and this is the vision behind the seven brand new high-tech meeting rooms planned for the hotel in the immediate future. These set the hotel apart from similar venues in the area, but the service is also a priority.
The secret, according to Gardiner, is that the management of the hotel promotes genuine engagement between staff and guests which in turn boosts guest loyalty. To achieve their goals, the team function according to the motto: "Our job isn't over until we get a smile."
And it seems to work:
"Stayed here for one night after an exhausting two weeks," says Chris S from Auckland Region, New Zealand. "Queen Bed was super comfortable, room super clean and the service was fantastic. Props to Andrew for being so helpful. Free transport to Heathrow also efficient."
Other TripAdvisor reviews read similar, with props for different staff members, which proves that motivated staff can make even an airport hotel stand out.
Garnier is well aware of the challenges faced by airport hotels.
"A challenge that most airport hotels encounter is how to make a connection with a guest when the average length of stay is just over one night," he explained. "However, we focus on every stage of the guest journey seeking out preferences to deliver everything just as our guests would like on arrival and throughout their stay."
But after the connection, keeping the guest loyal to the brand is another challenge that needs to be addressed.
"We inspire loyalty throughout the guest's experience by delivering consistent and outstanding customer service. This ensures repeat business and leads to greater understanding and positive relations in the future," Gardiner told us.
Large hotels often need to stay open while refurbishing, and this was a challenge for Hyatt Place London Heathrow Airport too. The hotel management and staff learned a lot from this experience, and Gardiner shares his views with Hospitality Net:
"We have learned a positive attitude can turn a storm into a sprinkle. We have kept our staff and guests in high spirits by regularly updating them on the progress of the works and the promise of positive things to come.
By keeping our team happy, we have kept our guests satisfied. We find that the little things count. We focus on everything from special events specifically organized for the team, recognition and rewards, joint team celebrations and thanking everyone for their input.
Working with our new Cycas Culture team every member of staff receives support throughout their career journey. Our innovative approach to HR has provided the team with strength and encouragement during trying times such as this refurbishment.
Another way to keep big smiles during a refurbishment is maintaining the same level of service. We find that creating a cheerful atmosphere back of house reflects the quality of the guests' stay."
After its recent renovation, the Hyatt Place London Heathrow Airport boasts many interesting features, with outstanding bedrooms, which Gardiner seems to favor especially for the "sumptuously plush Hyatt spec beds" and triple glazing, which ensures that there is no noise from the airport to spoil a peaceful night's rest for the guests.
"Couldn't hear any noise from the airport and slept wonderfully on the very huge bed," according to a guest from Leeds who signs her review as Kaitlinemilyy on TripAdvisor.
"The biggest challenge has been the journey to becoming an exceptional hotel," Gardiner acknowledged. "We took all that was good from the outstanding service we delivered before our rebrand and added this to the best hotel product in the area. It took a little bit of blood, sweat, and tears but we are a stronger team for it, and now we have well-performing Hyatt Place hotel where staff looks forward to coming to work."
As the journey shows, judging from the stellar reviews on TripAdvisor and Booking.com, facing the hurdles of refurbishment was well worth it. Hyatt Place London Heathrow Airport is now better and stands out through exceptional accommodation and world-class guest relations.
About Cycas Hospitality
Cycas Hospitality is a hotel management company specialising in extended-stay hotels. It combines real world, first-hand experience of hotel management with expertise in real estate investment and development.
The company recently partnered with Starwood Capital Group to manage its four extended-stay hotels in Earls Court/Kensington, London Bridge, Bermondsey and Tower Bridge making them second largest operator of serviced apartment/apart-hotels in London.
Cycas Hospitality also manages Staybridge Suites Hotels in Liverpool, Vauxhall, London, London Stratford City and the Holiday Inn in Stratford City, London and The Heathrow Hotel on Bath Road, London. Two new projects, comprising four hotels, are under construction. These include a Crowne Plaza/Staybridge Suites in Manchester and a Moxy/Residence Inn in Amsterdam. Several other projects are currently under development and further announcements can be expected in the coming months.