Tour Guiding the Guest Experience

By Roberta Nedry President & Founder, Hospitality Excellence, Inc. | July 29, 2018

Sometimes I just can't help myself! I see a darling couple, standing on the restaurant dock, taking photos of each other. I must leave my own meal and partner to offer to take a photo of them together. I just have to jump in and make sure their experience is as wonderful as it can be, even when I am not on duty.  Or, no matter what state or country I am in, I seem to be the person people stop in airports or on the streets to ask directions or to ask for information I don't even know. And, whether it is a tour of my country, my state, my town, my neighborhood, my house or even my kitchen, I must make sure my audience (whether they want to or not) does not miss anything or any moment that might make their day or experience more memorable.

Once a tour guide, always a tour guide and I trained with some of the best. Thanks to the exceptional Guest Relations team at Disneyland and Walt Disney's desire for complete sensory engagement, this proactive experiential model and 'tour guide' standard I experienced from an early age inspires the mission and philosophy of my business today.

As I reflect on the incredible Tour Guide 'Cast" members that I worked with, their personal standards of service delivery and commitment to emotional engagement at every touchpoint are applicable in any industry or business setting today. Going beyond the obvious guided tour, mobilizing a 'guided tour' strategy that zeros in on each step or moment in a customer's journey can be a powerful training concept to deploy at every level of an organization.

Consider how a Guided Tour experience works and how that applies to orienting and training employees. First a tour guide candidate must learn the landscape of the 'tour' they'll be giving. They must not only know the facts and details but why the tour is important. They must learn the history of what they'll be guiding and the stories and nuances that will make the tour come alive.

What are the opportunities for hospitality leaders to take customers on a guided tour of daily business activities?

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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.