Perceptual Sense Essential to Guest Service in 2015 Humans are STILL Needed!!

By Virginia Casale Director, Global Education, Hospitality Excellence, Inc. | February 08, 2015

Co-authored by Roberta Nedry, President & Founder, Hospitality Excellence, Inc.

Understanding how to anticipate, interpret and deliver guest needs and desires in an ever more complex world of choices and communication channels will require humans who can subjectively jump in to any situation to deliver and exceed expectations. And, while guests may want to skip many of the transactional steps like check in and reservations in favor of doing it themselves or using new technology, they will not want to skip getting their needs met or even figured out which well-trained humans can do.

The human touch will always prevail in luxury service because true luxury cannot take place without personalized service. Personalized service involves actions and efforts that lead to emotions like pleasure, happiness, delight and even simple satisfaction. Personalized service means being able to relate to the PERSON on an individual level and determine exactly what they want. Employees who are able to perceive what it will take to deliver that personalized service whether it is face to face, by phone, online, by mail or through social media channels, will be those that create the most memorable experiences and the most loyal guests.

So, what will it take to get that perceptual sense and how do hoteliers find the right employees who have it or how do they train their teams to get it and deliver it in meaningful ways beyond all the wonderful new technologies, products and systems that support and enhance today's hospitality industry?

In a recent conversation with Benedict Cummins, Publisher of HotelExecutive, my colleague Roberta Nedry and I discussed what "humans" are doing to maximize Guest Service impact as well as some of the upcoming trends we are seeing with our work both in and out of the hospitality industry.

Benedict: Virginia, you recently joined the Hospitality Excellence team after 30 years of hotel concierge and guest service roles and having recently served as the International President of Les Clefs d'Or, the leading association of the world's top hotel concierges. What is the most important lesson you learned in Guest Service from your career?

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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.