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 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.