HOTEL BUSINESS REVIEW

April FOCUS: Guest Service

 
April, 2021

Guest Service: Health and Safety First

Though expectations are that hotels will return to some semblance of normalcy in 2021, their highest priority must continue to be the health and safety of guests and employees. To that end, hotels are training their guest service personnel in enhanced cleaning routines, which include the following practices - bathrooms, elevator buttons, remote controls and other high-touch items, are disinfected and cleaned with a higher frequency; all tables, chairs and menus in restaurants are cleaned at a much higher frequency, and after each seating; floor markers in public areas to remind guests and team members to maintain physical distance; hand alcohol stations and disposable gloves in lobbies and restaurants; loose items such as pens, note pads and information material removed from rooms and meeting rooms; limiting the number of seats in restaurants and public areas; and revised food & beverage offerings. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will review how guest service personnel are being trained to maintain health and safety protocols in their operations.



This month's feature articles...

Shayne Paddock

Establishing connections across your property(s) or brand is more than just shuttle service to the airport. Connections can be an apt metaphor for person-to-person interaction, the guest experience as a whole, and even the way technology can support lasting guest relationships. In fact, the argument could be made that hospitality is an entire industry of connections. READ MORE

Katie Davin

As travelers return to the road and the skies, they have new and traditional expectations for hotel service. They are worried about their safety and health and therefore expect options for low-touch and no-touch service. However, they still expect personalized, attentive service. This article offers six ways for hotel leaders to meet and exceed the expectations of the post-pandemic traveler. READ MORE

Mark Johnson

Most hotel marketers agree that if a consumer has a "connection" with a brand, they will buy more from that brand over their lifetime. Mark Johnson, CEO of Loyalty360, the trade association for customer engagement and loyalty programs, says the benefits of these relationships are obvious: those with high levels of emotional loyalty do not easily switch to other brands. READ MORE

Rick Garlick

The pandemic has accelerated an existing trend to remove human contact from the hotel experience. While this offers quite a few advantages to both hotels and their guests, there is a danger that reducing face-to-face interaction puts the hospitality aspect of travel at risk. There is also a concern that taking people out the equation reduces the emotional bonds that guests experience with their favorite hotels. READ MORE

Robert Reitknecht

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only challenged hotels to stay afloat in a year that decimated their businesses but has asked that they begin to think outside the box to provide stellar guest experiences. This blog offers six ways hotels can embrace the paradigm shift that has rocked hospitality by creatively maintaining safety for guests while still providing memorable experiences. READ MORE

Herbert Laubichler-Pichler

A smile, a handshake and even a hug are touchstones of good, old-fashioned hospitality but can these gestures even exist in the hotel industry or can we enact that goodwill in other ways? Alma Resort's general manager Herbert Laubichler-Pichler delves into where guest service is headed and what we can do to 'connect' with our guests as best we can. READ MORE

Michael Kasavana

Hotel operators are investing in unique ways to replace lost pandemic revenue arising from vacant guestrooms and restricted dining areas. Among candidate creative strategies is implementation of a hotel ghost kitchen and/or virtual branding partnership that supports and extends a property's food and beverage offerings. Successful operational relationships, coupled with advances in multi-brand technology, are moving the industry toward enhanced profitability. READ MORE

Peter McAlpine

Covid-19 has caused the hotel industry to make contactless service the New Normal. This article discusses the dire effects this will have on hospitality, and makes the point that the virus has actually provided a golden opportunity for the hotel industry to reset itself in order to move on from the old-style, mechanical guest experience concept of SOP-Customer Satisfaction and embrace energetic and spiritual Heart-Based Hospitality in which unconditional love is the focus. READ MORE

Natasa Christodoulidou

The global pandemic forced one of the greatest evolutions in the hotel industry's history. With a light at the end of the tunnel, everyone is eager to return to normal, but what will new normal look like for an industry has been forever changed? This article shares best practices hoteliers should embrace to thrive in post-pandemic times that will undoubtedly bring about more change and industry transformation. READ MORE

Ahmad Ouri

Our industry has a chance to redefine the hospitality experience. We can exceed guests' expectations, streamline operations and elevate the roles of our staff with thoughtful changes to how technology is incorporated in the hospitality continuum. Embracing the idea of digital hospitality means rethinking service delivery and upgrading the hospitality operations model altogether. And now is the time to do it. READ MORE

Darrell Schuurman

The LGTB+ community is poised and ready to travel, representing a $200 billion global tourism opportunity. When your property starts the process of understanding your LGBT+ guests, it quickly becomes apparent the value they can provide to your business. In this article, we examine best practices for making your hotel LGBT+ friendly and speak to experts about why it's so important. READ MORE

Robert  O'Halloran

Guest service has evolved into more than amenities and pleasantries. In the time of the pandemic, service needs to also offer productivity and efficiency. Additionally, guest service needs to reflect business knowledge, empathy for guest perspectives and, also focus on guest safety. This discussion provides a context for the lodging industry creating a blueprint for guest service going forward. READ MORE

Fred Lounsberry

Who could have predicted that the most desirable hotel amenity of 2021 would be a complimentary COVID-19 test? As the tourism industry bounces back, hotels and resorts across The Bahamas are reinventing the guest and guest service experience through innovation and adaptability, writes Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board CEO Fred Lounsberry. READ MORE

Rachel Hodgdon

As hotels assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the biggest challenges they face is how to transition properties back to mainstream operation, while guarding the health of guests and staff alike. What if we commit to these learnings going forward and invest in the interventions that prioritize well-being for all? READ MORE

Laurence Bernstein

Luxury hotels are quite rightly very concerned about the first impression the guest gets on arrival and the importance of every "touchpoint" or experience-moment. Both of these strategies are probably misplaced: the arrival experience is less important in terms of influencing memories than the departure experience; and it is not necessary to focus on every touchpoint. READ MORE

Robert Reitknecht

Guests today aren't flocking to hotels in droves, but that doesn't mean the power of hospitality brands on social media is any lessened. In this blog, we dive into how to leverage social media to keep your hotel front-and-center with guests, connect with them on a unique level, and cement your brand with them to build a stronger image and customer retention. READ MORE

Geoffrey Ryskamp

Hotels still have plenty of customers, even if they aren't checking in as often. Properties have even more kinds of customers than ever before. Here's how to meet your new customers' needs for maximum booking potential, according to Geoffrey Rsykamp, Global Head of Hospitality, Travel & Leisure at Medallia. READ MORE

Jenny Lucas

Jenny Lucas, Senior Vice President of Operations with Loews Hotels & Co – New York City based Hospitality Company, rooted in deep heritage and excellence in service – shares how Loews Hotels stayed true to their brand DNA and embraced the constant change, while still delivering exceptional experiences for both guests and team members alike. READ MORE

Nathan Goff

Positive emotional engagement with guests is more critical than ever before as guests need reassurance that their stay will be safe and problem free. Will the hotel concierge be viewed as more a necessity and less an amenity in today's new world? Nathan Goff, Chef Concierge at Boston Harbor Hotel shows that with their depth of knowledge and world of connections, your professional concierge might just be your greatest asset at this time to gain guest loyalty. READ MORE

Adrienne Scribner

Since the beginning of March 2020 when the pandemic began, hotel cleanliness has been a trending topic. This article explores the three levels of environmental cleanliness – clean, sanitize, and disinfect – and discusses how these different standards impact design strategies for hotel guestrooms. Learn about best practices for cleaning protocols and other recommendations to provide guests with the utmost peace of mind. READ MORE

Justin Taillon

COVID has forced many of us to work from home while limiting social interactions and travel. To fill social and travel voids many people have welcomed pets to their homes. These new pet owners will return to travel. Hotels are projected to experience an enormous growth in pet travel post-COVID, with the pet owners having limited or no experience traveling with their pet. Hotels should be pro-active in preparing themselves for an onslaught of potential pet policy problems. READ MORE

Jack Chang

In pre-COVID times, ask anyone what constituted good hospitality, and chances are they'd recount a thoughtful in-person human interaction. Herein lies the opportunity. Guests want safe, contactless interactions but still expect exceptional service experiences. So how do we marry the two for a differentiated experience? Here we'll share three ways you can win the hearts and minds battle. READ MORE

Richard Takach, Jr.

Meeting and exceeding guest expectations through insightful guest service has always been the name of the game in hospitality and it can only be achieved through meaningful, strategic investments. This article looks at key factors in guest service today and how guests are defining and driving many service expectations, which, in turn, impacts our hiring and training practices, our use of technology and our operating philosophies. READ MORE

Adria Levtchenko

Artificial intelligence drives surveillance systems that can issue traffic violations; image recognition programs that can help doctors diagnose diseases and suggest therapies. We now see its steady integration into the world of hospitality. Importantly, artificial intelligence can not only help us better engage guests, but also empower and expand the capabilities of our staff at a time of intense labor pressures as we emerge from the pandemic. READ MORE

Jeff Greenwald

The lodging sector has been devastated by the pandemic. Is there light at the end of the tunnel as vaccine rollout continues? Will demand increase by second quarter of this year? Does IRR anticipate a return to pre-pandemic metrics? As the U.S. exits the current pandemic, major mergers and acquisitions activity is anticipated among the "Big 6" hotel companies. Let's take a closer look at the trends and data behind this sector. READ MORE

Emily Brannen

With an influx of leisure travelers expected for the summer 2021 season, there is an opportunity to start anew and re-focus on important aspects of guest service. Revitalizing the art of conversation, working on non-verbal cues, and ensuring excellent follow through are guest service skills that should be in the forefront of hospitality professionals' minds. READ MORE

David Brower

High-quality guest service is a hallmark of the hospitality industry, and can often make or break a lodging organization. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have become a game changer for the hotel guest service. This article looks at five important managerial elements and best practices that may be followed to establish an environment where exemplary service may be delivered. READ MORE

Julie Brakenbury

Meeting planners are starting to book events at hotels again. But everything has changed-from registration to meals to floor plans. Hotel events will look quite different based on best practices learned during the first 12 months of the pandemic. However, more technology, shifting state-based restrictions and overall uncertainly will create an opportunity for hotel CSMs to build more valuable relationships with their clientele. READ MORE

Martha  Weidmann

Immersive art experiences that are hand selected and incorporate a brand's mission and core values tell a visually stunning story and create community connection. Further, it supports a hotel with differentiating themselves from the competition. Instead of viewing art as a plain picture to hang on the wall, consider art to be a key resource in your growth. Here's how to view your hotel's artwork as more than just a pretty picture. READ MORE

Scott Hale

2020 prepared you to take a swing at the proverbial piñata. Face covered, head down, spinning in circles. You paused from time to time to sorta straighten-up. A little unsteady and a lot uncertain. You were searching for your target. You knew it was out there, but you couldn't see it. Stand up straight this year: embrace pandemic-prompted opportunities and disruptive innovations. READ MORE

Roberta Nedry

Superheroes capture our imaginations and our hearts with their adventures and special gifts but what about the rest of us? What, if anything, do our hospitality workers have that catapults them to Superhero status?? Could it be…their Mask?? The mask may be an unexpected new excuse and superhero "gift" for hospitality teams to become more empathetic. What if, we transform when we put it on? READ MORE

Holly Stiel

As we begin to recover, it is a good time to rethink and refresh our offerings especially by reaching out to a previously marginalized market. The premise that seniors can save hospitality may sound far flung, but since they are the group with the vaccine dosage completed, they can and will go out. The question is will they spend their time and money with you? READ MORE

Ed Burke

Ed Burke, Vice President of Rooms and Engineering with Aimbridge Hospitality shares his insights on the impact of COVID-19 on hotel operations. He discusses how he led his team to establish best practices, including a three-point training program called AIMClean, how to boost staff morale and engage teams, and what the future, post-pandemic world will look like as more consumers start traveling again. READ MORE

Coming up in November 2021...

Architecture & Design: Wellness is Key


Like every other facet of hotel operations, architecture and design firms are adapting their work to ensure the safety and well-being of both guests and staff. New ways to bring Wellness into hotel spaces are being explored and these solutions are taking on many forms. Hotel designs are incorporating more open floor plans, open air spaces, high ceilings, outdoor areas and operable walls into their spaces. Guests no longer want to be packed into tight areas. More "biophilic" elements are also being incorporated, offering guests the sense of being outdoors. Another trend is the reimagining of guest rooms to support remote work capabilities. Some hotels are converting empty guest rooms into office spaces, complete with effective lighting and suitable backgrounds for video conferencing. Dedicated Zoom Rooms are also becoming increasingly popular. The main goal is to provide guests with a positive experience in a space that feels safe and comfortable. These are some of the architecture and design subjects that will be covered in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.