Guest Experience is More than a Pretty Lobby | By Joshua M. Evans
While aesthetics play a large role in a guest’s impression, their overall experience is much deeper. It goes beyond a receptionist’s smile or the bellhop’s effciency. Every moment, down to the most miniscule interaction plays a part in the overall experience. It goes all the way to momentary encounters with maintenance, cleaning staff, and even other guests.
How can you control everything?
The answer is culture. If you develop and promote a specifc culture for your entire staff, you can create an inviting, consistent experience for every guest. Have 'rules of engagement' for ALL staff. This can create a common foundation for how guests are treated and create increased feelings of team membership among employees.
One example is a small hotel in the suburbs of Atlanta. They have set specifc expectations for how to interact with guests and it is quite simple. If a guest is within 20 feet, smile. If a guest is within 10 feet, greet them with a "Hello", "Good morning", or "Good Evening".
As simple as it may sound, this procedure has created a new culture within this small hotel. Everyone has a common operating schema on how to interact with their guests. The single goal is to make the guests feel welcomed and this is achieved by all employees, at all levels.
Another great example of changing the guests experience is with a lovely resort in the Florida Keys (name withheld). While many hotels and restaurants discourage cleaning and maintenance staff from 'interfering with the guests' stay', this particular resort takes a different approach. Instead of trying to act as if these staff members do not exist, they encourage interaction.
While this is counter to traditional hospitality procedures, guest satisfaction is much higher. This can be attributed to the fact that the barrier between the guests and support staff has been eliminated. Now when a guest needs new towels it no longer requires a call down stairs, they feel comfortable approaching housekeeping in the hallways. It reduces the time between requests and fulfllment of the guests' needs.
It is also worth mentioning that many housekeeping staff members have reported a substantial increase in tips once this policy was enacted.
Here are a few tips that can help craft the right guest experience: 1. Maintain consistent culture and core values at all levels 2. Encourage all staff to be cordial and interactive 3. Help guests feel welcome to approach any employee with their needs or requests 4. Reward team member's Enthusiasm. When staff feel free to show their passion and excitement it directly translates to guest satisfaction
It's not enough to serve your guests. You must serve them joyfully if you truly want them to have a extraordinary stay.
Maybe it’s time more hospitality organizations redefine customer experience?