Five Ways to Add Value with Service

By Marco Albarran Managing Director, Remarkable Hospitality, Inc. | January 09, 2011

Customers perceive value depending on the type of hospitality entity they decide to either work with or patronize. The industry certainly has plenty of traditional ways of adding value with service. However, it is always important to consider different approaches that we do not consider using all the time, and executing these will add value via applying these service concepts to your hospitality operation. Below you will find five ways that you may want to implement in your operations to enhance the value of the services you provide.

Using technology consistently to add value to your guest's service experience

Hospitality services have traditionally been more of a person to person connection. How can we incorporate technology to add value to the guest service experience? Most already understand what opportunities exist with technology, PMS databases and the Internet. For example, when your guest arrives, perhaps we can appoint a staff member to send IM or texts/emails to guests who checked in, and using a small expression like, "how is your room, can we be of further assistance?" or "can we set a wake-up call for you?" Perhaps post check-out, you can wish them well with a "have a nice trip", or similar text/IM message, as a way to thank them and "wow" them, thereby leaving a positive impression on the service received.

Another example comes to mind. Who manages your social media sites for your establishment or company? If you have an appointed staff member, is the employee responsible for thanking guests who take the time to critique your establishment, whether it was a positive or negative (or both) remark? Is this being done in a consistent/timely fashion that you can capture that guest's comment/concern in time? There should be a response time standard that should be able to be implemented and always met. This will show a high level of commitment to the guest, and they will certainly become/continue to be a loyal guest.

Give your staff education opportunities to enhance their value and knowledge of hospitality

As the industry improves and hotels are looking to staff up, the opportunity for employees who are considering a career in hospitality, perhaps in the management company or corporation that they may be working with, will indicate that this individual is worth investing in. This can be part of developing and molding this person for future management positions and perhaps other opportunities within the company. It is worth to invest and consistently prepare this individual as part of the long-term team of the company, as this person will certainly demonstrate loyalty and will show leadership in the position that they embrace, thereby maintaining high service and standard levels. Hotel management companies and restaurant management companies depend on human resources to reduce turnover and try to retain the best talent that they hire. What better way to do so than by offering them the opportunity for adding education to their resume? There are several ways that this can be done. For instance, one option could be to offer tuition reimbursement for local universities, either in local (on-ground) community colleges or private universities, online education, or perhaps courses that may be offered by other education entities, where they may acquire diverse hospitality certificates. Now, the next idea may also work, but it is up to the employee/student to verify this with a local college/university or online university. The American Hotel and Lodging Association, for example, offers employees in the hospitality industry self paces courses online. This may present great benefit with certificates, which perhaps may be used for college/university credits (again, always verify this before making the decision). They also offer these courses as a package to get certified as a department head, general manager or even a trainer/educator. However, there may be other ways of doing so. Perhaps you can gather a group of staff members you know would benefit from these types of certifications or courses, and hire a consultant to facilitate these courses for you. Upon finishing a course, staff can take a certificate test, which would be of great value and be used as professional development.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.