Post-COVID Guest Experience: How Can Hotels Maintain a Personal Touch?
— 5 experts shared their view
The social distancing measures implemented during the height of COVID-19 will linger and impact hospitality well into the future. This panel-viewpoint aims to address how hospitality leaders can think outside the box in the post-COVID era.... by asking "How can hoteliers continue to deliver a personalized experience with a human touch... while ensuring a contactless, sterile environment?"
Hospitality Leader and Guest Experience Expert
My perspective is that an authentic, personalised experience does not require touching the guest. It is true that we are accustomed to shaking hands, speaking in close proximity, and serving the guest items that one touches, but contact and proximity are not what guests remember when they complement the service of a hotel. What they recall was the sincere caring by the service leaders and associates. Leaders need to be able to be empathetic to the guest needs and really work hard on creating a more personalised experience? Service leaders can ensure that the brand promise of the hotel is clearly demonstrated and established not only through contactless service in the hotel right now, but also during the pre-arrival period from initial booking through to arrival, as well as regular follow up after their stay. Many guests may have a short memory of the full, authentic, and memorable experience that hoteliers have provided pre-COVID. Now hotel leaders simply need to think about different ways of channeling their substantial service mindset to other ways of interacting. For example, when greeting a guest, the leader might politely bow in front of the guest (as is done in Japan and become popular now) to welcome them, or give an earnest fond farewell from a reasonable distance instead of a handshake. You will also need to be mindful of guests that want extra social distancing and ask not to have their room serviced during their stay. In addition to all of the new sanitation standards we deploy in our hotels, details like having less letter paper in the room, and more digital options go a long way to ensuring both the perception and reality of a sterile environment. By having captured all the touch points prior to a guest's arrival, you are creating a more intimate and authentic guest experience and hopefully your guests will recognise this and enjoy their stay with you.