The Manager of Guest Mentorship
A Reliable Method to Build Quality Relationships with Guests
By Larry Mogelonsky President & Founder, LMA Communications | April 06, 2014
Maybe it's stating the obvious when I say that retaining an existing customer is vastly easier than trying to get a new one. Corroborating statistics aside, if consumers possessing established rapport with your brand are so valuable, then that means your guest relations activities must be paramount to your success. And indeed they are. Every hotel and hoteliers understands – on some level at least – the importance of continuing guest relations or appreciation.
So, if that's the case, and everyone is in on the take, then how can you gain an advantage over your competition?
A key issue with guest relations, in my opinion, is that too few managers and staff members are elevating the rapport beyond small talk and sycophantic 'thank you for your stay' follow-ups. They ask where guests are from, what they do and where they went to school, but never dig down to learn about what motivates a specific guest and what their intrinsic desires are. Although I'd wager there will be a Big Data algorithm capable of accurately predicting these sorts of emotional characteristics in the near future, for now these traits aren't exactly quantifiable. That is, they aren't readily apparent on a guest's personal dossier nor are they something a hotel staffer can fully suss out during a ten or fifteen minute conversation.
And so, by keeping the rapport on a surface level, it in turn keeps a distance between both parties. How many times have you stayed at a hotel only to receive a tepid mail merge letter or email as the sole afterthought? A neutered email like this will likely request your feedback while also neglect to declare anything specific as to who you are as an individual. Word for the wise: distance isn't good for cementing relationships. It makes your property or brand 'droppable' – with no emotional investment on the part of the customer then they can switch providers without batting an eyelash.
But, like I just mentioned, it's hard to drill down to any emotional issues in such a narrow timeframe like a one or two night stay. Moreover, it's also difficult to translate any deep rapport-building onto the next employee via a central computerized guest dossier system – one that is probably oriented more towards precise attributes (for example, a guest that has requested a corner suite the last two times she's stayed with you). What's needed is a surgical method to elevate your guest relations efforts as quickly as possible, and for this I'd like to introduce the idea of guest mentorship.
Introducing Guest Mentorship