Skill Sets Required to Manage the Hotel's (Digital) Customer Touchpoints: Collaboration Necessary

By Leora Halpern Lanz President, LHL Communications | November 18, 2018

Co-authored by Kimberly Kibler, Boston University School of Hospitality Administration

The Increasing Number of Hotel's Customer Touchpoints: The customer's booking and digital connection journey changes rapidly each day as new platforms are introduced and guests continually adjust their method of connecting with brands (as well as their expectations of the hotel companies). Thus, the number of touchpoints a customer uses to contact hotels, for a multitude of actions, continues to expand. From travel agent distribution channels to social media, online travel agencies and chat bots, the guest journey is far from linear. It is no longer a step-by-step process from marketing, to sales, to conversion. The journey has become an interwoven experience that guests expect to be efficient, positive, personalized, and value-driven.

Now more than ever, it is important that hotels maintain a cohesive, clear, and smooth experience for guests as they glide from platform to platform or hotel department to department. The customer's perspective is that all channels of online communication project one voice, whether the guest views content from the marketing team, discusses options with a sales representative, books over the phone, online, or through a distribution channel.

Technical advancements make the booking processes more detailed and personalized and allow hotel companies the opportunity to provide the highest level of customer communication.

In order for external and internal messaging to prove seamless, it is critical now than ever that hotels communicate as one integrated team and singular voice - focused primarily on the valuable guest experiences that lead to overall hotel performance growth.

The Multiple Skill Sets that Oversee these Touchpoints: Revenue management naturally, is an essential contributor to a hotel's performance, and its outcomes see opportunities grow with the number of consumer touchpoints. Unlike other industries, the nature of pricing dynamically allows hoteliers opportunities to provide the most fitting offer to a potential guest, but the trick is determining which offer best fits which guest, based on budgeting and performance goals.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.