Creating the Guest Experience on a Multi-Sensory Level

By Richard Graham General Manager, The Fontaine | April 15, 2018

Standing out amongst the noisy boutique hotel scene has become a challenge for many hotels in recent years. While our property is no exception, our management company (Pivot Hotels) constantly promotes creativity and strives to create a unique brand that will separate us from the rest. Pivot's core values are built around embracing people's creativity and "celebrating our inner weird," which makes for opportunities to build memorable moments with guests daily, ultimately reminding us of why we joined the hospitality industry in the first place.  

With the experiential travel trend at its peak and here to stay, offering guests more than just a place to rest their head is crucial to prosper as a boutique hotel. Creating personalized guest experiences is an effective way to ensure guests are left with a lasting impression representative of the hotel's brand and identity. From service to hotel culture, the guest's stay needs to be a cohesive, seamless experience from arrival to checkout.

Empowering Guests through Experiences

Travel today is all about experience. Guests are willing to go out of their way, bypass loyalty programs and spend more to have personalized experiences. Most people now expect every touchpoint to offer an interesting and enriching experience, and travel is no exception. The term "experience economy" was first coined by the Harvard Business Review in 1998 when they sought out an explanation for the desire for memories as products. Consumers in general are moving steadily toward experience-based consumption, in which they would rather indulge on life experiences than material things.

The "local" experience is becoming far more important to travelers than being a tourist. Travelers want to do what the locals do and embrace all a destination has to offer, and this includes the hotel. Authenticity is key and allowing the guest to shape their own stay while still providing them with warm hospitality creates a well-received balance by the experiential traveler. Giving the guest a stay that is both memorable and comfortable requires each and every detail to be a step above the rest in order to really stand out and create a lasting impression. Travelers have become much more than tourists and they can expect a hotel that reflects that. Giving them a feeling of comfort while still creating experiences that allow them to step out of their comfort zone is what can harmonize the stay. Many travelers will bypass standard offerings and programs in favor of an experience that propels them forward or enriches them as individuals.

The independent-minded traveler is also looking for a sense of customizability in their travel choices. A personalized hotel experience is far from a new concept but giving guests the chance to feel as if they are in control of their own experience is an invaluable asset in hotel business.

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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.