3 Reasons Why Focusing On Guest Satisfaction Is A Losing Battle

Here's What You Should to Do Instead...

By Justin Effron Co-Founder & CEO, ALICE | January 28, 2018

In the world of retail, knowing what your customer wants, when they want it, how much, and how frequently can be the difference between a booming business and going out of business. In the service industry however, getting to know your customer's preferences isn't quite as clear-cut. 

Trying to understand the capricious whims and complex emotions of human beings you're hoping to please is an exercise in futility at best and can actually harm your relationships at worst. Why? Because pretending to know someone you don't really have a deep relationship with can come across as presumptuous and insensitive. And should your guesses actually be correct, you can inadvertently come across even worse because no one likes to think of themselves as being that predictable.

So what's a GM to do to make their guests feel right at home? The solution is to not make their stay anything like home. Make your guests feel like guests! In this regard, we've listed three common pitfalls of trying to placate clients that hotels often fall into, and their respective solutions. By putting the focus on a winning culture instead of winning over customers, you'll be more effective in getting the desired result: satisfied guests who'll want to return again and again.

1. If You're Trying To Guess What Guests Want, You're Probably Getting It Wrong 

The same guest doesn't necessarily behave the same way from one visit to the next. For starters, that guest could be on a business trip, family vacation, romantic getaway, or girls' night out. Even if it's always a business trip, what's the nature of the business this time around? Is it pitching a new client, trying to keep from losing a client, or being wooed as a client by another business? Is it an easygoing trip or a stressful one where everything is on the line-including his or her job? What's his mood like now? What's the season? What's going on in her life?

If your hotel bases its services and amenities on what a particular guest wanted the last time they stayed with you, you're probably not going to get it right. So why even try? No one expects you to. What guests expect is great service, convenient amenities, comfortable accommodations, and the preferences they'd requested for this visit. Just do that and do a spectacular job of it, without trying to know what your guest will want before they do.

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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.