Author: Marijana Brdovnik - Date: 15/01/2018
Hoteliers are getting more and more obsessed with numbers, spreadsheets, tracing, tracking, maximizing and ROI overall. If something is not highly guaranteed then they will not spend their dollar. Here we come to the point of the hotel’s story and service itself. In the battle of chasing the profit hoteliers sometimes completely forget about hospitality itself, they forget fun, warmth, kindness. They don’t care enough about the guest experience, and they don’t even care what guests are telling them when they leave their property. The most important feature of hospitality – “service itself” is unfortunately often out of the service these days.
You can’t put the service into the spreadsheet, you can’t measure it but that doesn’t mean that its high quality is not important in hotelier’s everyday business. All parts of the hotel’s story matters! You have to be smart with all the technical innovations and modern standards. But you must not forget the feeling, the experience, and that extra comfort for your guest. Because one thing is sure, when traveler visits any property, he/she is not looking for technical specifications, and all the services that are specified on the webpage or at the searching engine.
Guest expects those services to be found no matter what. Instead of that guest is expecting full range of positivity; he/she expects to be valued, to feel honored, to find that extra commodity that he/she is not finding in everyday’s life.
As hotelier you must not forget that only one nice gesture, only one tiny extra service or mindful step towards guest commodity will bring them back to your property. What is even better they will become your ambassadors. Nowadays when social media, traveler’s forums are a really powerful tool in deciding which property to book you must put an extra attention towards guest relations and their satisfaction. Not to mention the power of word of mouth which can be a great benefit to your business. But at the same time it can also bring you a lot of negative publicity if you just don’t care and follow arrogant way of doing business. People do care, and they like when someone is taking care. In hospitality world care and love must be common words if you really appreciate your guests.
Did you “implemented gastro journeys” in your restaurant’s offer? Is your mini club working properly and is really of help for parents? Did you think about organizing some fan clubs in hotel? Nowadays people also travel because their hobbies and aspirations to be with like-minded people… Is your wellness truly extraordinary as it is written in your hotel description? Is your reception stuff educated enough to tell the story of the destination, and give quality recommendations? Is your food and beverage manager allowed to give some free surprise when he/she feels guest’s displeasure about service? How does your stuff manage disappointed guests? How helpful your staff really is?
What is your PR strategy? Do you put efforts in storytelling about your hotel? Do you connect with your guests through social media? Do you give answers to reviews at TripAdvisor? Do you have a loyalty program for your guests? Do you inform your guests regularly about your offer? Do you think of your guests during the whole year sending them congratulations cards?
What is your story? Do you have any feature that you are proud of and make the story of it? Maybe it is history and tradition of the place or person connected to the hotel,?Maybe food or your own interior brand? Maybe a holistic approach? Maybe some activity that makes you extraordinary in your destination or maybe just fashion outlook? Whatever it is make sure you make story of it! Also make sure that you attract publicity to your unique story. And don’t forget to pay attention on photo and video materials of your hotel. It has to be inspirational!
It is true that the design of the hotel and all the features that are part of the hotel service should be told through a storytelling process. But what is even more important is that your storytelling process and PR efforts take care of the story of experience. To take care for that special “X factor” that you find as a guest’s special benefit. Your story has to be down to earth. It has to be truthful and authentic, and it should make a potential client to dream and to imagine him or herself in your wonderful hotel.
The important thing to remember when we talk about PR process of any hotel is that there is no quality of PR without quality internal communication. There is no point if the PR strategy is done by someone who never had any guest relations experience. If PR department doesn’t communicate with other departments starting from housekeeping, reception and barmen to sales team there is also no point in PR strategy. PR department can try to implement it but nobody in-house would really understand what their part of the responsibility is.
Another disappointing fact is that some hotels don’t even have a PR strategy, and sometimes it just happens that higher management thinks that it is not necessary to have it. In other words they think that the sales department can actually act as a marketing department, and can do all the necessary activities to promote the hotel. That would be perfect if possible. But although sometimes it is possible for the sales team to implement the right marketing activities, you can’t really expect that they can continuously think about marketing and PR process. Without whole year PR and marketing strategy your brand image can very easily weaken. In the long term it will not be clear who you really are, or you will remain just one of the search places in the online booking systems.
Is the hotel staff prepared to deliver the quality service no matter what part of the day it is? Is the hotel concierge ready to put any extra efforts to the guest wishes?
Reviews are important, they make you think about your service, show you the direction, and suggest you the next steps in improving your business in any aspect. If you read the reviews carefully you can also notice some priorities that should be done and services you have to implement that you didn’t even think about in previous business process.
Detailed database is also the key to the excellent guest experience. It helps to uncover lots of hidden patterns and definitely opens new possibilities for hoteliers. When you listen carefully to your clients you can easily come up with a new service and product. It also plays a key role in a better and faster decision-making process.
Trust, care, individual and professional attitude to the guests should be the basis of quality hospitality business. Fresh infusions of positivity will always attract guests so make sure that your staff is helpful and smiling. Make sure they notice every guest and make them feel special!
You must also never forget how important the mutual communication within all the departments of the hotel is. Without understanding and solving problem on one side of the hotel you can’t expect that the other side will function properly.
And lastly, don’t forget that the word of mouth is more powerful than you ever think!
All the acts of kindness to your guests, and all that extra services will be noticed and appreciated when giving recommendations, especially nowadays when social media has the extreme power to spread the words.
Photo credits in order: Clark Tibbs/Unsplash, Shangri_La Hotels & Resorts, Sasha/Unsplash, Crew/Unsplash, Nordwood/Unsplash, Shangri_La Hotels & Resorts, Mark Adriane/Unsplash, Alina Grubnyak/Unsplash, Simon Maage/Unsplash