13 Messages on the Experiential Tourism Management from BCA College students, Greece.
By Alexia Charoupa, Creator of The Storytelling Hotel
Lewis once called stories love gifts and indeed they are as when we narrate a story we devote time of our lives to a person whom we find important to spend time with. Story is what we do everyday on Facebook and on Instagram and story is also what we do in the business of dating.
Hospitality is a story.
In hotels we sell experiences and as I believe in "The Storytelling Hotel": Selling an experience means selling a memory, a narratable memory, namely a story.
Each hotelier needs to create a story for his guests to elicit and preserve their attention.
Creating such stories, I use a specific family of notions: Tangible Innovation, Signature Stories, Memories, Emotional Connection, Locality, Service Innovation and Personalization.
People want things that are special for them and that they can tell stories about.
On Wednesday the 30rd of November I was honored to deliver a speech to the students of BCA Hotel and Tourism Management Department on the "Storytelling Hotel and the experiential tourism/ hospitality management. The guest lecture took place in the frame of the modules Marketing for Hospitality and Tourism and International Hospitality & Tourism Management & Marketing; taught in the 2nd year of the BA (Hons) Hospitality and Tourism Management Programme and the MA International Hospitality and Tourism Management Programme respectively, both of them facilitated and managed by Dr. Antonios Giannopoulos.
I accentuated the role that the empathy and the magnetic connections assume. These are the basic vehicles to respond to guests' need to feel and be unique through their symbolic and emotional connection with the brand. Today, guests want relationships and emotional connections and as one of my favorite people and tourism professionals state, Mrs. Elena Gkika, HR Director at Costa Navarino: "The emotional connection differentiates the great experience from the exceptional experience."
Perhaps the most important part of hospitality is the relationship between its people. And such an ideal relationship is a continuous, personalized relationship. Lastly, the most prestigious hotels around the world introduce to their vocabulary and, more basically, to their practices the concept of 'relationship customers'.
In this vein, Rosewood has coined the term of "Relationship Hospitality" which is similar to what Ritz Carlton states: "Legendary customer service is memorable. It comes from the heart of the giver, and it stays in the heart of the receiver."
Eventually, empathy in hospitality is the way to add personal value to the guest experience.
The most interesting part of this guest lecture was when the students wrote for me their views about experiential tourism management. Given the fact that they will be the next Hoteliers and the next generation of GMs, it is really insightful to listen to them:
13 Messages on the Experiential Tourism Management from BCA College students, Greece:
"At the end of the day, feelings are the ones, which add to the experience this essential sense of life!"
"The best thing is when the guest appreciates your work for him/her!"
"Our goal is to create memories!"
"Take the next step with your customer, make him/her your friend!"
"Hospitality is the creation of memorable experiences. A memorable experience starts from the heart of the one that creates it and ends to the heart of the one that receives it. The most important is how many moments of life and joy you created for your guest!"
"You have to respect them as humans in order to serve them as guests!"
"Every single one of us wants to feel special and be taken care of the best way possible!Your personal touch will make the difference, so make the effort of selling a memory, an experience!"
"Think positively and give people good energy, because it is all about it in our life if you want to attract good things!"
"Sharing stories and emotions is a gift for the guest, more important than the existing conditions of your hotel!"
"I would like to own a hotel here in Greece in which all employees, employers, guests will have the most deep and sweet smile on their face. Empathy will be based only on this particular emotion: Happiness!"
"In every personal communication, make your partner feel special!"
At the very beginning of the lecture, Makis N. Fokas, Senior Consultant at BCA, characteristically mentioned:
"the art of listening can actually shape unique hospitality offerings; that's what must ring with the voices of your guests"
Dr. Sofoklis Skoultsos, Professor of the Programme, who also attended the session, stated: "Focusing on the needs of others is important in everyday life. As a key-hospitality essential, empathy may create an inspirational story, and then, can build memorable experiences and relationships"
Last but not least, their Professor, Dr. Antonios Giannopoulos, Programme Manager of the BA and MA Programmes at Hotel & Tourism Management Department, BCA [www.bca.edu.gr/en], Adjunct Lecturer at the Athens University of Economics and Business and Founder & Editor of the voyager voice [www.thevoyagervoice.com] asserts:
"In the world of services, it is the hospitality and tourism that incorporate a people-centric approach to this extent, based on not-to-miss and must-share experiences. The ritual of educational discovery comes with the best hospitality practices. And then, the new age ambassadors of the industry are well equipped to have visitors' and guests' best interests at heart"