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If you operate a hotel, resort, inn or bed and breakfast your number one priority for success is offering great customer service along with an unforgettable guest experience.

Here are some basics to help reach this goal along with some wonderful examples.

Welcome to another edition of Hospitality Property School.

I am your instructor, Gerry MacPherson

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Introduction

If you operate any type of hospitality property, your number one priority for success is great customer service.

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Great customer service is an essential aspect of the hospitality industry. The level of service you offer can make or break your hotel, resort, inn or bed & breakfast, so it is imperative that you fine-tune your policies until you hit near-perfection.

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If you don’t, you will lose potential and repeat guests.

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“Social media raises the stakes for customer service”.

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In the old days, if a guest or customer was happy with your service they would tell 3 people. If not, they would tell eleven people. Today, with the advent of social media. If someone is not happy with an aspect of your service, within a day tens or even hundreds of thousands could see this on their timeline.

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Hospitality property owners/managers need to instil best practices for their employees to follow.

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By understanding the following best practices, you and your employees will ensure your customer service reaches a standard that’s not only acceptable to the general public but will also confirm your status as a quality establishment.

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Begin with a warm welcome

First impressions are everything.

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The first step you need to master and to teach your employees is the appropriate customer greeting. This will be your guest’s first face-to-face contact and could set the tone for their overall experience. A good welcome needs to be warm, polite and informed but not fake. If the greeting is overbearing or suffocating it could make a guest feel uncomfortable. It is really important to find a healthy balance, so your guests walk away from the check-in more content and happier than when they arrived.

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Keep your employees happy

I have seen way too often hospitality property owners/managers focus on the little things and disregard their staff. A guest can easily determine if your staff are not happy and this will most often reflect on their desire to return. By keeping your staff happy, it will help generate a better atmosphere make them feel more at ease and at home, thereby giving them a better experience.

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Ways this can be accomplished is by ongoing training, rewarding great work and empowering them to make frontline decisions.

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Surpass your guest’s wants and expectations

We all know that the hospitality property industry can be very competitive and meeting your guest’s needs is not always enough. In order to stay ahead of your competition, you must strive to give your guests the WOW factor.

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You must exceed their expectations with little touches that will elevate you to a higher level of customer service

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Constantly take feedback

A hospitality property that is willing to accept feedback & criticism and then use these remarks to improve is definitely serious about maintaining great customer satisfaction. This to work, you have to make available ways for your guests to speak to you either through, online reviews, surveys or questionnaires. You have to be able to look at any criticism objectively and be willing to implement changes as necessary.

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Conclude your guest’s stay with a warm send-off

‘All good things must come to the end’ – that is what your guest to be thinking when it comes to leaving. And what better way to say goodbye is than with a fond farewell? A sincere goodbye will last in the minds of your departing guests and if done right, will only leave a positive impression of your property. Use your guest name, offered in your hand and treat them as if it was your family that was leaving.

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Undoubtedly, customer service is of fundamental importance to the hospitality industry and should be specific to your hospitality property.

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The level of service your guests receive could make or break your business and cannot be ignored.

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How to Give Customer Service Your Guests Will Treasure | Ep. #217

Books with Tips & Strategies for

Your Hotel, Resort, Inn,

Bed and Breakfast How to Give Customer Service Your Guests Will Treasure | Ep. #217

 

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  1. Amazing Customer Service at the Auberge Giseles Inn

In my past life, I spent many years on the road as a tour director for some of the largest tour operators in the world.

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A number of years back, I was leading the tour group through New England and Eastern Canada. I have done a number of trips in the row and when I arrived to one of my most favourite destinations, Auberge Giseles Inn, Cape Breton Island, I was not feeling a hundred percent.

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The owner, Helen, saw immediately I was not up to par and told me to go lie down while the luggage was being delivered to the rooms. She then told me that I was not expected down for dinner but instead at 6 PM, soup would be brought to my room. At 8 PM, there would be a light knock on the door and if I was awake a “Hot Toddy” (a warm whiskey) would be there for me. If not, they would know I was asleep and not disturb me. I slept for 12 hours.

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The next morning I woke up feeling like $1 million.

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My headache was gone, I was full of energy and I had my appetite back.

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I have known Helen for many years and have seen her offer this type of service over and over without giving it a second thought.

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To me, however, it meant the world.

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Are these making sense? Let me know in the comments.

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Dina Yuen – Asian Fusion Girl

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  1. Fairmont Hotels

How should we react when an entire hotel staff greets us by name (when not all of them have even met us face to face) with a smile and rushes to stand to the side to let us walk through first? Well, at Fairmont Hotels this kind of treatment is natural and normal so get used to it. At the Fairmont San Francisco, I was flabbergasted to find out that many of the staff members had been with the hotel for longer than I’ve been alive- that’s over 30 years! When the executive management team is on a friendly, first-name basis with every staff member all the way to waiters, busboys and housekeeping, you know they’re doing it right and that translates to an overall exceptional experience for guests.

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At the Fairmont Singapore, staff members remember you by name and face upon your return after just one stay. It seems as if Fairmont has cornered the market on hiring people with a photographic memory. Every single time I’m at a Fairmont, I am made to feel like royalty without any stuffiness or pretentiousness and that’s just priceless.

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The next group of examples were compiled by Josiah Mackenzie

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  1. Service Personalization with Facebook Feedback at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples

The Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples asked Facebook fans how they like their coffee. If you answered, then stayed with them, your coffee would arrive perfectly sugared—without having to ask. It’s a little detail that can be used in other ways, as we see in our next example….

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  1. Social Media Increases Loyalty at Accor

According to Nancy Trejos at USA Today, Accor Hotels tried something cool at its Sofitel and Novotel properties in Philadelphia, Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. – identifying loyalty members checking into the hotels that month and then checking (public) social media profiles to identify the guests’ interests. A gift was then selected to “Take guest recognition to the next level, to a more powerful level,” said Magali Jimenez Bervillé, director of e-commerce North America for Accor.

Some examples?

  • For the guest who likes fine dining, an all-day behind-the-scenes tour of Tru in Chicago along with a night at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower.

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  • For the guest who likes fishing, an eco-friendly fishing trip in the San Diego Bay.

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  • For the guest who likes luxury cars, a certificate to drive a Ferrari and Lamborghini.

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  • For the guest who likes lounging in spas, a day at the Hela spa in Washington, D.C., plus an overnight stay at the Sofitel.

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  • And for the guest who likes sports, VIP tickets to a hockey game between the San Jose Sharks and the Red Wings.

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What do you think so far? Let me know in the comments.

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  1. Sleep Menu at Conrad Chicago

A number of hotels offer pillow menus, but the Conrad Chicago takes this to another level, offering a full pillow menu, herbal sleep elixirs & nightcaps, ‘sleep chocolate,’ h20 hydrating treatments, thermal aqua masks, sleep sound machines – among other amenities.

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They even created a separate website: ConradChicagoSleepMenu.com

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  1. Concierge Videos from InterContinental Hotels

Back in 2007, InterContinental Hotels began creating videos featuring hotel concierges offering destination advice.

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InterContinental has also tested providing concierge service through live video chat on Skype or Apple’s Facetime to provide a higher level of service through digital channels.

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  1. Scavenger Hunt Contest at Palomar San Diego

Helping their guests explore the city of San Diego, the Palomar, a Kimpton Hotel, created a scavenger hunt that doubled as a social media contest. Participants used clues provided through the Scavenger Hunt with Friends mobile application, and then took and shared photos as they found the items.

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“We think this is a perfect way for participants to have fun and experience the nooks and crannies of San Diego while having a chance of winning some great prizes. We see it as a creative take on our ‘Live Like a Local’ programme, which provides guests with an authentic local San Diego experience,” said Mark Van Cooney, general manager of Hotel Palomar San Diego.

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  1. Free Mountaintop Photos for Facebook at Vail Resorts

Every winter sports fan wants a photo on top of the mountain, and professional photographers have exploited this for years, charging exorbitant rates. Vail Resorts offered an alternative – taking mountaintop photos that were free to post on Facebook and Twitter.  It’s a powerful way to serve your guests – and increase your brand visibility at the same time.

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As you can tell from these examples, you do not have to break the bank or hurt your back bending over backwards to fulfill some of the services. Common courtesy, common sense and the appreciation for a job well done will quite often be enough to put you ahead of your competition.

 

In Conclusion

When we turn the corner with the pandemic, your guests will not only want but will need an amazing experience at your property. Brainstorm ways you can not only astound your guests but have them rave about their stay with you.

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If you have any interesting stories about great customer service, leave them in the comments.

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You will have access to this post for six weeks before it gets locked in the “vault” for Hospitality Property School Group members only. When you see that we have something new, don’t mark it “Unread” or file it away in the belief you’ll read it later because you might miss your chance.

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To see all the other valuable material you’d have access to as a member of the Hospitality Property School Group, check out the short video in the episode post-show notes.

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.How to Give Customer Service Your Guests Will Treasure | Ep. #217

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In the next episode, I will talk about upselling.

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That’s it for today’s episode,

Until next time, have a fun day.

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PS. Have you signed up for INNsider Tips? Make sure you do. You can find the link in the show notes.

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TO READ OR LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE ON KEYSTONE HOSPITALITY PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT:

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