April FOCUS: Guest Service

April, 2023

Guest Service: Exceeding Expectations

When guests check into a hotel, they have expectations of quality customer service. They expect to have their needs met in a professional manner, they desire a certain level of comfort, and possibly even made to feel a little special. This is important because satisfied guests are more likely to return and to become true brand ambassadors. But what if instead of merely meeting expectations, hotels created a culture of service that was intent on exceeding expectations in every conceivable way? What if frontline staff were trained and empowered to provide guest services that demonstrate a willingness to always go the extra mile in order to please their guests? This culture is exactly what some hotels are creating in their operations. From helpful, smiling, welcoming staff to the quality of  a room's comfort and conveniences. From discovering a guest's special needs and enthusiastically fulfilling them, to making some amenities free of charge and offering random upgrades. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to enhance and enrich their guest services. 

This month's feature articles...

Ken Lanigan

As the Hotel General Manager for the four-star, Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia, Ken Lanigan shares his insights and human-first approach on how to exceed guest expectations. From putting trust in your team members to the importance of consistency, Ken shares what has worked for him and his team and helped make Live! Philadelphia one of the top-rated hotels in Philadelphia. READ MORE

Diarmuid Dwyer

Learning to anticipate guests' needs is key when striving to create a culture of service. Hotel team members that make an effort prior and during a guest's stay to understand the individual and enhance their experience without the guest having to ask often results in exceeding the guest's expectations. As a result, travelers who have had unforgettable experiences at a hotel usually tend to return in the future. READ MORE

Stan Kennedy

The pandemic has pushed hospitality into a new era. Today, the needs and expectations of guests have changed; they no longer accept reduced service levels and amenities. Instead, they want staff, services, and experiences that go above and beyond, and it is up to hotel management companies to deliver just that. READ MORE

Jill Rigsbee

Hoteliers continue to seek opportunities to enhance wellness for their guests and suppliers are leveraging technology to support wellness opportunities. From product development to innovative thinking and technical equipment, these suppliers are providing solutions that enhance guest experiences and save labor for hotel operators. Learn how to evaluate technology opportunities and find the best supplier solutions for your properties. READ MORE

Matthew Garrett

Military service members, their families, and other government travelers came to expect comfort and camaraderie when staying in hotels on Army installations. Yet, those expectations were disrupted by pandemic restrictions. How can services be adjusted to maintain lasting guest satisfaction and make these brave men and women continue to feel at home in temporary lodging? READ MORE

Mike Shaff

Celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year, Outrigger Resorts & Hotels has grown from regional hotel company into a global hospitality brand with footprints on the world's most iconic beaches. In an ever-changing industry, Outrigger remains consistent in prioritizing authentic experiences and local culture alongside respect for guests and hosts alike with the brand's core values as a guide. READ MORE

Nadav Solomon

With today's fully integrated technology ecosystems, hotel operators can do a lot more with fewer staff. Simultaneously, they can provide guests a next-generation hospitality and payment experience that delivers the security, simplicity, and data-driven personalization they expect. Hotels must catch up to the guest experience of the future. Modern, cloud-based technology platforms can make it happen. READ MORE

Hazel Hagans

Throughout the history of hospitality and hoteliers, guest services has always been the main priority for the hospitality industry. Foundational guest service is not only expected, but required at hotels, and The Madison Hotel strives for associate-to-guest interactions that exceed the expectations of standard customer service. After 60 years of service, the team still asks the question: how can we go the extra mile to make the guest feel appreciated? READ MORE

Marc Vaughn

Today's hotels are always on the search for new technologies that can enhance guest experiences. However, the underlying key to success with many of these platforms and still ranking high on guest priorities is the need for a robust WiFi network. Only by tackling this issue first can hoteliers ensure their ability to deliver a stay experience that's truly exceptional. READ MORE

Stefan Múhle

Stefan Muhle, VP and Regional Managing Director at Noble House Hotels & Resorts-a collection of over 20 experience-driven hotels across North America-shares his insights on the travel industry's evolving amenity landscape. He taps into guest expectations in a Covid recovery marketplace, shares examples of industry leaders making an impact, and the tenets of creating amenity programs that authentically connect with guests. READ MORE

Brenda Fields

Looking for a cost-effective way to build business? Look no further than delivering excellent customer service. Think of customer service as a way of doing business as opposed to thinking of it as a program. Developing a guest-centric approach perspective will ensure guest loyalty and generate demand from good reviews. This article will address what great customer service is and how it will positively impact financial results. READ MORE

Lucille Yokell

Several years ago I decided to change from the London Kensington hotel I had been using to one in Mayfair. I shipped a box to the new hotel and a few days later I received a phone call: "Hi Ms. Yokell, this is Michael from the M Hotel in London calling to let you know that your package has arrived". I almost dropped the phone. And I stayed at this hotel for the next ten years. I tell you this because when I read the topic to be covered this month, that memory popped right up. Read on to see what hotels are doing now to entice guests to stay with them. READ MORE

Holly Stiel

The world and especially the hospitality industry needs LOVE right now. We need to lead with LOVE! In order for this to happen we must Listen with love, take Opportunities, define our Values and bring the 528 hertz LOVE Energy in every interaction. We can deliver Service LOVE once we serve LOVE to ourselves first. Please join us in the Service LOVE movement! READ MORE

Jacques-Olivier Chauvin

So many hotels today are using labor shortages and COVID cutbacks as an excuse for maintaining reduced guest services. But is this wise? From an operational point of view, we need to focus on a general redirection of services and amenities, explore new ways to connect with guests, and adapt an overall "smart service" management mentality in order to set our properties apart. READ MORE

Robert  O'Halloran

Guest service is an amazing product. You cannot see it, and it may be difficult to decide on one specific definition. You can't take it home as anything; it's just a good experience and memory. This article will focus on guest service and how the hospitality industry -- and more specifically the lodging sector -- are adapting and changing guest service expectations. READ MORE

Steve Curtin

The hospitality industry has been in survival mode since the onset of the pandemic. Even now, three years removed from March 2020, hoteliers grapple with staffing issues and the ability to maintain brand standards for product and service quality. It's time to transition from surviving to thriving. Don't just give employees tasks to work on, give them a purpose to work toward. READ MORE

Gary Patrick

Advances in online connectivity and IoT technologies are finally providing hoteliers with the means to connect the dots that guarantee an exceptional stay for each and every guest. With today's travelers valuing speed and personalized service more than ever, such advances are proving to be the key that unlocks a hotel's potential in delivering an experience that always exceeds expectations. READ MORE

Robert Reitknecht

Pandemic-era restrictions have lifted, but that doesn't mean hotel amenities should look the same as they did in 2019. Guests are expecting the return of conveniences to which they were accustomed such as a complimentary hot breakfast, health and wellness facilities, and turndown service. Hotels have a major opportunity to not only reinstate these COVID-cut services but uplevel them to increase customer lifetime value and create new revenue streams. Here are 12 ways to bring unexpected value to expected guest services. READ MORE

Peter McAlpine

In this article I am going to explain why I think that the relentless increase in contactless technology will weaken hugely the spirit of hospitality in hotels. New technology and amenities will improve guest convenience and maybe exceed the expectations of many guests, but the service experience will be detached more and more from the essence of hospitality. READ MORE

Yaniv Holzer

Recent years have seen a substantial increase in the number of digital solutions being integrated into various aspects and sectors of our lives; travel, banks, retails, food ordering, and more. How has the hospitality industry leveraged these technologies, and what are the key points to look out for and consider when implementing digital solutions to assist and improve your hotel's operations? READ MORE

Giuliana Torres

As the desire for "revenge travel" increases, Solaz Los Cabos, a reimagined resort where the Pacific Ocean meets the Baja Desert walks us through the life cycle of going above and beyond, exceeding expectations, and elevating the traditional hotel guest experience through epicurean dining, artisan butler service, rich art and history and beyond to deliver an exemplarily hospitality experience. READ MORE

Kari Randle

With the Rise of AirBNBs and Vacation Rentals, hospitality professionals are getting creative to curate a new kind of guest experience centered on emerging travel trends and authentic service. Lily Hall is a new 15-room boutique lodging house with a restaurant, bar and events venue that just opened in Pensacola, FL. Lily Hall has resurrected the bones of a century-old community church, and offers an innovative fusion of today's rising travel trends. READ MORE

Roland Mouly

After nearly two years of discontinuing hospitality renovations due to the pandemic and supply chain restrictions, a significant increase in demand is expected within the coming years. This surge will apply pressure on the hospitality industry to meet the pent-up demand, encouraging owners and asset managers to carefully coordinate their renovation projects and choose experienced service providers who can deliver high-quality work in a timely manner. READ MORE

Mimi Oliver

Between the ever-increasing demand for high-quality travel experiences and the technological advancements of the hospitality industry, guest services is at the heart of a hotel's operations. How can hoteliers ensure that visitors are experiencing a stay that exceeds expectations? Evaluate the daily connections between hotel staff and customers to grasp the poignancy of positive human interaction in a guest's stay. READ MORE

Danielle Dudai

Human traffickers frequently use hotels to exploit people for labor or sex, and failing to identify and confront this illegal activity can expose your hotel to liability. Here are some best practices for training your staff, including common red flags, reporting suspicious activity, interacting with potential victims, maintaining guest privacy and creating a culture of awareness. READ MORE

Phelim Pekaar

Guests are seeking increasing control over their stay and hotels must invest in their digital capabilities as much as their physical property to provide the choices that will engender loyalty and success. This article details the possibilities for technology to deliver exceptional guest service when guests set foot in hotels. READ MORE

Ken Greger

Given the lesser threat of the global pandemic, travelers' pent-up demand was released and broke a multitude of hotel and resort records in 2022. But in 2023, it's likely that those travelers will be more discerning in their quest for the best service experiences. Will the industry deliver? In this article, that question and today's service challenges are explored by the authors and relevant industry executives. READ MORE

Anne Frye

In 2023, the hotel industry has found itself in uncharted waters. Hoteliers are striving to meet and exceed ever-increasing guest expectations with minimal staff, while finding ways to differentiate their properties and brands in a competitive market, build long-term guest loyalty and keep operating expenses costs down. Fortunately, technology is stepping up to solve all of these challenges in new and exciting ways. READ MORE

Scott Hale

If you're dedicated to crafting off-the-charts guest experiences, you're hyper-focused on internal and external guest reviews. You and your team passionately, and constantly, "drive for five." You understand and appreciate the power of guest reviews, so you do all that you can to exceed guest expectations and deliver on your brand promise. After all, the numbers don't lie, right? READ MORE

Frank Pitsikalis

There is a world of difference between service and hospitality. Having staff capable of delivering guest hospitality is critical to zero disappointment guest stays that earn five-star reviews. Management focused on hospitality must provide staff with the training and tools necessary to exceed guest expectations. This High Return Hospitality not only benefits guests, but also elevates staff experiences, leading to fulfilled staff with a higher intent to stay. With staff shortages across the industry, a property's ability to attract and retain high-performing staff is critical to providing exceptional experiences that delight guests. READ MORE

Coming up in July 2023...

Hotel Spa: Reconnecting With Nature

Hotel spas have never been so popular. The global wellness market is estimated to be in excess of $1.5 trillion with an annual growth rate of 5 to 10 percent. Consequently, spas are continually developing new programs, products, tools, and environments to meet the needs of guests who are seeking total body health and wellness. One trend that spas are embracing is a multiplicity of ways to reconnect with nature. Spas are moving beyond the “garden” model and going deeper into the countryside and forest, providing immersion in a wilder natural setting. Wild swimming, forest bathing, foraging, outdoor massage, and hiking trails are concepts that are being designed into the spa journey. Some hotels have built individual cabins deep in the forest for sauna, bathing and massage treatments, and others are offering bedroom suites which are located in cabins or tree houses away from the main hotel. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these and other developments, and how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.