The Devil Is In The Details: A Strong Guest Focus Equals Profit
Take time to think about "the details" within your property that could make or break critical elements at each point of guest contact… or when there is no contact at all. The touch points are obvious; just walk through your pre-arrival to post departure process from end to end, beginning with the energy of your sales teams in the field and reservation agents on the phone, a smile and acknowledgement upon encounter, attention, service, creativity and quality of food and beverage provided in restaurants and bars, by housekeeping and by your staff at meetings and special events. Similarly, time spent in preparation before and after guest encounters set the stage for positive lasting impressions.
Standard operating procedures and established processes are critical to the smooth operation of a hotel. But as hoteliers we can't become robotic and desensitized. We must do more. We must take a genuine interest in the welfare, comfort and enjoyment of our guests and truly think about their needs and wants in order to consistently improve in a meaningful way. An effective way to condition yourself this way is for department heads and their teams to conduct a sensory audit.
These sensory perceptions are important and too often overlooked. Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC) is credited with first classifying the five senses that has developed into a science in virtually every other industry. These sensorial experiences can be discovered within each department of your property and can completely transform a guest experience and their perception of your hotel.
As an example, let's look at event catering; prior to the arrival of the first guest, the food presentation has to be beautiful (sight); there should be a hint of the evening's cuisine in the air (smell); the food should of course be delicious (taste); music should be appropriate to the event (sound) and the china, glass, silver and linens should have a nice feel (touch). If one piece is off, it can completely diminish the others.
How does this translate in a department that is not necessarily seen? A reservation at a hotel can be made a number of ways: online, over the phone directly to the hotel, through a travel agent, wholesaler or another provider. All of these are all important avenues to make a reservation and each will reflect on your property.
How can they be improved?
- Sight, make sure your website booking widget, collateral and any other forms of visual representation reflect your property well
- Sound, when the connection is made with an agent, all sounds should be clean and clear
- Touch, Are your guests "touched" by name on arrival or elsewhere during their stay?
Post-visit contact should be considered just as important as the arrival and stay experience. Studies have shown that the initial cost to acquire a guest is more than the cost to retain them. Technology has greatly improved our ability to keep in touch and communication can arrive in their email inbox right after check out. Add a personal thank you email from the property's General Manager, (not the hotel management firm), with a request that they complete a short post-visit evaluation and maybe an incentive to rebook directly. When it is time for their return trip, the cycle kicks in for: pre-arrival correspondence, stay and departure, and post trip follow-up. If the cycle is maintained this will go on for many years to come.
Combining the desires of your guests with your hotels' resolute attention to details will make guests want to return to your hotel where they know you have what they are looking for and TRUST you will take good care of them during their visit.
Phone: (305) 537-7040
Understanding the unique nature of hotels, Trust provides customized solutions that address not only the operational needs, but also the lifestyle character of the property, in the areas of Sales, Marketing, Operations, Finance and Human Resources.