Emergence of New Trends in Guest Services

By Adrian Kurre Global Head, Homewood Suites & Home2 Suites by Hilton | March 09, 2014

Earlier in my career, I spent some time on the food and beverage side of the hospitality business. A former manager once told me the golden rule of food and beverage: "Serve hot food hot. Serve cold food cold. And do it with a smile."

It is a simple notion that makes a big difference for guests. But its straightforwardness belies a deeper complexity – applicable beyond food and beverage – that we need to continually address across the hospitality industry: delivering on our promises and creating an excellent experience for guests at every step. The reality, as we all know, is the research, the testing, and the partnership with all the stakeholders that create that experience is far from simple.

When it comes to fulfilling our promise to our stakeholders, every hotel brand goes through the usual motions – every few years, we make an upgrade to a property here or there. We switch up the shampoo and conditioner offering; strike a partnership deal with a relevant brand; update our logo. We make incremental changes. The true opportunity is to ensure each change, no matter how small, connects with the entire experience we aim to create for our customers.

Incrementalism is no longer enough. Guests expect more, and rightly so. Their preferences are changing. As choices expand, brand loyalty is more important than ever and harder to win (and keep winning every time).

To meet the moment, hotel brands must think and act for the long term, embracing the complexity and uncertainty of our category.

At Hilton Garden Inn, we've adopted a roadmap, called 'Flourish', that's as much brand strategy as it is a mindset that provides direction and context for everything we do. We use it as a filter to help us make decisions about what's right for guests and to help our general managers, owners, and our entire hotel teams deliver a highly relevant, highly memorable experience and, most importantly, deliver on our promises.

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Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.