Creating Customer Loyalty Through In-room Offerings

By Michael S. Wasik Chairman, CEO, Interim CFO, Roomlinx Inc. | July 12, 2010

LOYALTY: a sense of duty or devoted attachment to something or someone.
Most of us can think of at least a couple things and people to which we feel a sense of loyalty. Maybe you love your car and consistently purchase the same brand; you might have a local coffee shop that you support with your daily patronage; we feel loyal to our significant others, family and friends; we see loyalty demonstrated to us by our dogs, hopefully by our children, and by our customers.

Do you question whether your customers are loyal to your brand? Bringing customers back should be a top priority. Your hotel has already won your current guests over your competition for one reason or another. Hotels compete on price, location, amenities, service, and more. You can't change the location of your hotel, your prices have to stay competitive, your amenities and features are dependent on the demographic you are targeting, and high quality service is a must in the hospitality industry. What can you do to impress your guests and keep them coming back to you?

The Guestroom: An Untapped Source for Differentiation

The majority of your guests, while on-site at your property, spend most of their time in their guestroom. There are several ways you can enhance the guest experience, in a unique way, to make the most of their time in their room and get them to come back to your property the next time.

1. The Television: Take control of the most powerful in-room focal point

The television is the most powerful in-room focal point in the guestroom. 90% of guests turn on the TV throughout their stay, so take control and give guests what they want. Rather than blaring a series of ads and promotional messages, why not greet the guest with nice graphics, a welcome message and peaceful music? If you had complete control of the images the guest first sees when they turn on the TV, what would they be?

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.