The Essence of Effective Guest Experience

October 21, 2020 at 5:00 AM
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Managing guest experience used to be a lot simpler, it started with guests walking through the front door and ended with them walking out. However, today’s consumers want more than just a place for their stay: they expect a blend of great customer services, good lodging facilities, delicious food, and class apart hospitality served by their hosts on a platter of luxury. Hoteliers now need to turbocharge the guest experience they offer by tuning into their guest’s needs in order to drive loyalty, so that it will bring in more business. Harvard Business Review argues that this principle is true for any type of business: we should view the customer experience not as something that happens in respect to a single function of a business, but how a customer feels after having interacted with a business across a range of situations.

Hospitality Management

Imagine a job where keeping guests feeling welcomed, happy, valued, and appreciated is the core of your responsibilities, all while sporting a pleasant smile on your face: fulfilling the duties of a lodging manager takes more than just effort and completing assignments-- after all keeping others happy is not an easy task.

“Lodging managers ensure that guests on vacation or business travel have a pleasant experience at a hotel, motel, or other types of establishment with accommodations,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “They also ensure that the establishment is run efficiently and profitably.”

There are multiple departments a hotel manager or a guest experience manager has to overlook and manage including:

  • Front Desk
  • Housekeeping
  • Concierges
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Budgeting & Finances
  • Spa services
  • Maintenance services
  • Conferences, and other guest services

The customer experience begins when a customer walks in through the front door and ends when they pay the bill and exit. During this process, how you treat your guests/customers will define whether they liked staying with you, at your business, or not. There are absolutely no shortcuts here as those responsible for taking care of guests must be proficient in skills like, Motivation, Communication, and Decisiveness. Your ability to stay motivated, your top-notch communication skills and your decision making abilities define the course of a great customer service experience.

Customers connect with businesses wherever they go, creating touch points. This means that whenever a customer reaches out to a service provider, either in person or through digital platforms, they create multiple touchpoints. These touchpoints also include going through reviews of other customers. Businesses associated with guest experience must manage this complex experience space effectively, as it is a deciding factor for the choices a customer makes-- failure to manage these patterns will negatively affect the brand.

McKinsey’s Kevin Neher has identified the critical elements of successful customer experience transformations. In this Harvard Business Review video webinar, Neher shares the keys to customer experience transformation success.

Let’s talk about fundamentals of improving Guest/Customer Experience

Customer expectations: It would be unfair to compare past with present, as factors such as changing technology, environment, and the overall digitalization of society has impacted customer expectations. It would not be an exaggeration to say that customers today want more of everything: their expectations have grown exponentially and keeping up with these expectations are not easy. It becomes complicated to understand how a customer would respond to your offered services: some may find it beneficial and others may not.

Luckily, thanks to DT’s Intuitive Interface it becomes easier to capture feedback along the customer journey, both digitally and in person. Getting to know how your customer feels about your services can be determined by having them fill out feedback surveys designed to help them express their thoughts. To further decipher the rest, there are other features such as text analysis and NPS that help gather crucial information to better understand customer signals that would be otherwise overlooked. After all, it’s all in the details! This brings us to our next fundamental point.

Paying attention to details makes a huge difference: Most obviously, it is important to pay attention to details such as being sure to call customers by their correct names, being sure they have access to basic amenities, clean rooms, quick responses, and attending to their needs as and when needed-- prompting resolution defines the course of their experience. It is impossible to attain it all, but it is the effort that matters! If you show your guests that you care, that you are doing your best to assist and provide them comfort, it is likely to win you some extra points and potentially some good reviews and referrals.

Finding the pain points and providing a smooth guest experience: With platforms like DT, the process of figuring out pain points becomes effortless. Using NPS snapshots, you can easily figure out your Promoters or Detractors: promoters, the people who love your services and will remain loyal to you or detractors, customers who you have failed to please and end up giving you bad reviews which directly means loss. Pain points indicate issues faced by customers during their current stay or in the past, so that you can figure out what went wrong in time to potentially avert the damage by offering them comfort to ease out of the situation. You may offer them discounts, complimentary services, free food or vouchers with a promise to take their feedback to heart and make their next stay better.

At DT, we believe that to build a sustainable relationship with a customer, we must value their feedback. We believe in building a situation based on a feedback centric client engagement plan that will not only help businesses to leverage the data collected abundantly, but can also turn into a long-lasting opportunity to keep your customers intact and keep the revenue bar up and running. Your customers can express their opinions through the surveys and provide suggestions for further improvements.

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