6 Methods Successful Hotels Use to Empower Staff and Improve Guest Service

By Mike Benjamin Co-Founder & Vice President, Guestware | April 15, 2018

Compensation is still a common way to satisfy an unhappy guest but does it resolve the underlying problems? Guest compensation is the most common way to satisfy an unhappy guest but is far from a panacea.

Can money buy happiness? When it comes to buying guest satisfaction for a hotel guest the answer might be similar to the life question: 'It can certainly help but doesn't guarantee happiness.'

There are times when compensating a guest to offset a bad experience can resolve the immediate problem. Most customers understand that problems are inevitable, and they are usually willing to forgive a minor issue. Nearly everyone agrees, "Stuff happens." Resolving the immediate problem goes a long way toward driving guest satisfaction. And a guest who experienced a problem is more likely to return if they are satisfied with the resolution.

But as with life, the frequency and severity of problems are more important than the resolution. Will a free room and extra points make up for walking a guest late night after a long flight? What will it take to compensate for having to change a guest's room because of noise or some other issue? In reality, nothing will completely erase the memory of a severe problem.

How would you feel if you were "comped" a free meal after a minor comment about how it was prepared? You might be satisfied or even impressed with the generous offer and apology. This is a great example where compensation can go a long way for a minor complaint. If everything else was good, this gesture would probably drive your decision to return.

Hotels that train their staff and empower them with the authority to satisfy an unhappy guest can absolutely elevate guest satisfaction. This is an essential part of building a service oriented culture. Many properties and brands invest in the human aspects of problem resolution. Most guest facing hoteliers have been taught in workshops to listen, empathize, apologize, respond, and follow-up.

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Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.