7 Signs You Need Help With Your Business Guest Experience
When you’re in the hospitality business, you can’t afford to allow even one guest to have a poor guest experience. If you recognize any of these seven red flags, they are signs you need help with guest services.
By Pierre Verbeke, Director Hospitality Advisory Services at EHL Advisory Services
When you're in the hospitality business, you can't afford to allow even one guest to have a poor guest experience. As savvy business owners know, one bad review can cascade into a waterfall of negative online commentary about your business. Once the word gets out that your staff doesn't know how to treat guests, business guests will begin to dwindle until you find yourself struggling to rebuild a solid reputation as hospitality experts. Don't let this happen to your hospitality business. Whether you're running a hotel, convention center or any other kind of guest services company, it pays to recognize the signs you need help with your business guest experience so you can be proactive in correcting errors. Here are things you need to look out for.
1. Bookings Are Consistently Down With Each Passing Year
Sometimes guests won't tell you outright that they are displeased with the service they've received. In fact, many people who are traveling for business purposes don't have the time to lodge formal complaints with management. They have meetings to prepare for and attend, and they may be in and out of your establishment in the span of 24 hours. But that doesn't mean lapses in hospitality go unnoticed. What often happens is, when they get back to their company, they'll simply tell their travel agency to book them elsewhere next time. You may never know the exact reason why the guest isn't returning, but you'll see the results in the form of fewer reservations. Over time, this downward cycle becomes more than a glitch; it becomes a trend that indicates there is a serious problem with your business guest hospitality services.
2. Comps Are Up
As a member of management, are you noticing that the number of comps has dramatically risen? Comps are frequently given out when a guest has a complaint of some sort. Of course, they're also handed out to valued guests as an incentive for them to return. In fact, comps can be a valuable way to enhance hospitable treatment of your VIP guests. It's important to track comps so you can view a record of reasons behind each comp. If you're seeing a sharp increase in comps, it's worth investigating why this might be occurring. Comps can indicate dissatisfaction among your business guests. If this turns out to be the case, it's a strong sign that you could use help improving your hospitality practices.
3. You Have High Employee Turnover Rates
In the hospitality industries, staff recognition is a positive factor. Weary business travelers take heart that they won't have to re-explain their needs every time they visit an establishment. It's a joy for them to be seated at their favorite restaurant and be presented with their signature cocktail without having to ask for it. Or to be recognized and addressed by name as soon as they enter the members-only lounge. Hotel guests who always ask for an extra pillow appreciate not having to ask when they check in. But when you have a high employee turnover rate, it's impossible for these kinds of scenarios to occur. Your newer employees won't recognize the regular guests and so it's impossible for them to provide that exceptional level of hospitality that could make your establishment stand out.
4. You Struggle to Think of Ways to Provide Extra Service
Hospitality doesn't come naturally to everyone. If you're a manager or a business owner in a hospitality industry, it's crucial to always have some special offering available to valued guests. This requires creative thinking as well as an understanding of what your business guests would most appreciate. It's not easy to come up with ways to provide those special "somethings" that will make visits to your establishment positively memorable. When you hire hospitality experts, you and your employees will be provided with a plethora of ways to drive hospitality and make it the forefront of your service offerings.
5. Your Employees Don't Really Seem to Understand How to Give VIP Service
Do you often wish that you could send your employees to some kind of VIP service training academy? Have you ever secretly longed for the days of butler schools? If so, it's likely that you're experiencing frustration with getting your employees to understand how to give VIP service. If this scenario sounds all too familiar, you likely need help. You can't be everywhere at once, micromanaging your front facing employees. At some point, they need to develop an innate understanding of how to interact with business guests and what behaviors and services are appropriate for high-end guests. But if they don't yet understand, this is a red flag that you need help with your business guest hospitality experiences.
6. You Aren't Equipped to Train or Educate New Employees
Often, businesses in the hospitality industries need new employees to hit the ground running. Not every company has the resources to send new hires through an extensive training program. Yet, you do need employees to know the ropes from day one. So how can you possible accomplish this feat? By seeking help from hospitality experts who can send you trained employees ready to pamper your VIP guests with the highest standard in business guest services. It takes a special kind of person to understand how individual business guests need to be treated; when you hire a hospitality expert to help deliver hospitality-educated employees, you can be sure to have staff that are ready to roll as soon as they enter through your doors.
7. You Don't Have Standard Operating Procedures in Place
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are essential for many businesses, but in particular businesses that are in the hospitality industries. Hotels, clubs, convention centers, restaurants and more are all in need of SOPs in order to operate effectively and efficiently. SOPs not only give your hospitality services structure; they also inform staff and management as to the best course of action in almost any circumstance. SOPs provide the opportunity to provide uniform service, which is integral to high-level business guest experience, no matter what particular business you are engaged in. If you don't have SOPs in place, this is another sign that you need help with business guest experiences.
If you recognize these signs occurring in your company, it's imperative that you be proactive and take steps to correct the issues. But you don't have to do it alone. A company that is skilled in hospitality can help your business and staff members to rise to the needs of your most discerning business guests. Why not take action today? For more information about how you can take your hospitality services to the next level, please contact us today.