7 Valuable Tips: Winning Guests Over With the WOW Factor

By Jim Maguire Vice President Guest Services, Vantage Hotels | April 24, 2016

We know that guests always expect the absolute most from us. I would ask you before reading this article to think back to the last time you had a great customer service experience. I would bet it started with a warm and friendly smile that made you feel good. How we can win guests over with a service smile is quite simple in theory, not as easy to execute. It starts with a culture, a service smile, the positive actions that follow - I call this service the WOW Factor. It is all about how we make a guest feel when he/she is staying at the hotel. The end goal is to make your guests feel as though you went above and beyond to exceed their wants and needs.

In this article, I will explain and put into detail the power of a service smile, how to create the 'WOW',"and how to develop a successful service culture that will win guests over with a service smile and keep them coming back to your hotel. If you have created a service culture and are actually delivering Wow service, your guest should be answering yes to the following questions:

  • Did you make me feel welcome?
  • Did you make me feel like you cared about me?
  • Did you make me feel like I belong here?
  • Did you make me feel like I made a good decision to stay here?

And most importantly,

  • Did you make me feel like I want to come back to this hotel?
  • I will tell others about my service experience.

Winning guests over with a service smile is not just about the act of smiling, but more of the actions behind the smile. The 'WOW Factor' is an attitude, it is what you do throughout the day. The goal is to create a service experience that makes a guest say, "Wow that was cool, they cared about me as a guest and they don't just want my money. They made me feel good about my decision to stay at this hotel."

There are two major components in creating Wow service; the first is a service culture and the second is the seven factors that go into WOW services. The great thing about both - they start with you as the leader and they are essentially free; it's all in your team's communication, thoughts and, most importantly, your actions in the guest experience.

Before starting, I want you to consider your own personal uniqueness and where your service system starts and ends, as well as what you expect from your service. This will help to establish goals and areas of improvement. I will discuss creating a service culture a little later in this article.

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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.