5 Ways to Shift Your Guest Interactions into Future Sales

By John Ely Senior Vice President of Marketing, Signature Worldwide | November 07, 2010

Every interaction with a guest is an opportunity - an opportunity to exceed expectations, an opportunity to guarantee he or she returns in the future and an opportunity to build consumer loyalty. Loyalty leads to more sales, more referrals, and also more leniency when things don't go perfectly.

I've read that a full-service hotel with 300 rooms averages 5,000 staff–guest interactions every day! That is 5,000 opportunities to stumble, or on the other hand, opportunities to shine and demonstrate why your property should be the hotel of choice when a guest is in the area. Here are five ways to ensure you're building loyalty and generating future sales.

1. Know Your Hotel

This is the most basic, and sometimes the least demonstrated, attribute of all hotel employees. Knowing everything about your property is essential to developing new sales. Every staff member should know your property and amenities by heart. They should all be walking, talking brochures for the hotel.

Say you're a golf resort and a guest conversation is taking place in the hallway about lessons. The housekeeper a few feet away overhears this and mentions that the resident pro, Roger, teaches Thursday through Monday and to dial extension 2303 for an appointment. Far-fetched you say? I'd say it's almost a guaranteed sale and most interactions don't require that much specialization.

I stayed at a big-city hotel a few years back, and I arrived around 7 p.m. to check in. I asked about local restaurants within walking distance and the front desk agent sprung into a description of the steakhouse on property. She mentioned that there were a lot of great eating establishments nearby, but the hotel restaurant specialized in dry-aged cuts of steak prepared in a special aging room. That's all I needed to make my decision. Not only did she know about the restaurant (anyone on property should know that), she was able to describe what made that restaurant unique!

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.