Meaningful Guest Experience: Is Sustainability the Secret Ingredient?
Sustainability in Hospitality — Viewpoint by Maribel Esparcia Pérez
I believe the true definition of a meaningful guest experience is one that drives someone to say, "You just have to go there!" to their family, friends, or followers. In addition, aside from delighting guests, exceeding expectations, and creating "wow" moments, great meaningful experiences can also generate curiosity, open minds to possibility, and become a catalyst for positive behavioural change.
Accommodation providers have a unique educational opportunity. Guests eat, sleep, and shower during a stay at a hotel. They consume resources like they do at home, and they spend time observing how things are done. When meaningful experiences are intentionally designed to be educational too, they have the power to become more than just a fond memory, they can incite us to change the way we do things.
A simple best practice example is from the Hotel Antumalal, Pucón, southern Chile. We all know that busy parents are genuinely grateful when their children are engaged for a while allowing them to enjoy a moment of peace. At the Antumalal, the chef accompanies the children to the vegetable garden where they are invited to pick cherry tomatoes, coriander, red onion, and a handful of herbs of their choice. Back at the hotel, they chop their fresh ingredients to make a small Chilean salad and a fresh herbal tea or herbal infused water. They are then given mini waiters aprons and trays to serve their creations to their parents. Both the children and parents are glowing and proud, and the children often leave wanting to know when they can start growing tomatoes and herbs at home leading some parents to report on return trips that they have indeed joined the home growing community. Simple and effective, this meaningful guest experience ticks all the right boxes, as well as being educational and provoking curiosity.