Engage Your Guest: The Best Practice in Guest Services
By Tom Conran Principal, Greenwood Hospitality Group | July 27, 2014
The word "engage" has several definitions. However the one that best fits our objective as hotel owners is ""to get and keep someone's attention or interest." In order to do this we must create experiences that first gain our guests' attention. We then must also implement them successfully. If we do these things effectively we draw our guests back time and again. At the same time, we can build a network of advocates. These supporters can become our fans and will attest to the fact that our hotel is much more than a merely a place to stay.
This all starts with the execution of the basics. As hotel owners and operators we acknowledge that an efficient check-in process, a clean room and a quality staff are "must haves". They are the things a guest expects to experience when they walk through the front door. Without them the chances of a return visit are greatly diminished. Social media is also becoming a crucial factor in guest interaction and I will address that later in the article.
In order to successfully engage the guest once he or she is there, we must move beyond the basis. Beyond the fundamental guest deliverables there remain a number of service and property related offerings that can distinguish your hotel. The collective nature of these can and will enhance the guest experience and increase the likelihood that your hotel is the preferred choice for their next trip to town.
A number of these actions are not deemed to be complicated. They are a multitude of small activities that add up to a lot. They do however require a strict focus and consistent execution.
A key part of this plan must focus on personally interacting with the guest. A recent study conducted by J.D. Power found that the number of times a hotel staff member interacts with guests has a significant impact on guest satisfaction. Overall satisfaction is highest among guests who interact with four or more staff associates.
This means that you should start by thinking of each member of your visible staff as a point of interaction with the chance to promote positive or negative changes in a customer's state of mind. Put yourself in a guest's shoes and look at all the instances where errors might arise.