Great Customer Service Drives Great Experiences

By Shayne Paddock Vice President of Product Development & Innovation, TravelClick | April 21, 2019

"Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do." – Walt Disney

"We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It's our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better." – Jeff Bezos, Amazon

Disney and Amazon: two of the best performing and most profitable businesses in the world, founded in different eras, each point to customer service and the customer experience as being critical to who they are and how they got there. I don't think this is a coincidence. The customer is ultimately at the heart of every business. With hospitality in particular, customer service is even more essential.

For hospitality, customer service has been a perpetual focus. From concierges who help guests with their individual needs to doormen that open front doors to bellhops that ensure your bags arrive unimpeded into your room, the modern hotelier can offer every conceivable service to impact the customer experience. Is this enough? Do these tactics positively impact the customer?

To find out, on virtually every hotel stay, hoteliers ask, "On a scale of zero to 10, how likely are you to recommend our business to a friend or colleague?" as part of their Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey. I would never try to argue that measuring customer loyalty and satisfaction is not important, because understanding customer satisfaction is vitally important. Hoteliers need to know how their property is trending and whether or not their guests will be advocates (or detractors). Benchmarking their experience is the easiest way to do this.

But, I would argue, that ancient philosopher Aristotle captured it best when he said, "Well begun is half done."

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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.