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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Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.