"Room the Guest"
|By John R. Hendrie, February 2006
We are in the Experience Era. Hospitality businesses, a vibrant segment of Retail, must reconsider how they frame their product and service for the Guest in a sensory fashion. Starbucks is not about coffee. Lexus and Harley Davidson are not about their “wheels”. Some hoteliers lead the way, as do a number of restaurants. Consider Kimpton and W. But, an engaging Experience is in the reach of everyone. It does not cost an appendage. It will require, though, a different approach to business, embracing Remarkable Hospitality and emphasizing a “holistic” shift, where you promote and deliver a balance for the body, mind, spirit and emotions of our guests.
Certainly, one key ingredient to the Guest Experience is the relationship. In hotels, management has erected numerous barriers; there is little human interaction with the Guest. Management is chained to their desks, their time dictated by the numbers – budgets, forecasts, labor. They may walk the property, say hello to the Guest – they are visible, and that is important. But, the interaction is cursory at best and does not build a relationship. Their poor outreach is further manifested for the Guest through the vital “first impressions”: an automated hotel telephone system, an artificial, cold welcome at the door, formerly manned by Guest Services, and the further affront at “Reception”, where dialogue and eye contact are conflicted by the computer. Welcome to our Hospitality. We care for you, value your patronage, will attend to your needs, and create a memorable Experience. Yikes, that is some dedication! We can do much better.
It is about the relationship, the personal touch. How do we bring that back and better showcase our passion, our story, our Brand excellence. It is not that difficult, if you personally “Room the Guest”. Let’s call it FRONT!
Consider. Once a week on alternate days, the General Manager and each member of the Management Team take a two (2) hour shift at the Front Desk during heavy check-in times (between 4pm and 8pm). After Registration, where you now know the Guest’s name and the room number, you offer to escort the Guest to their accommodations. You have ample time to engage in a conversation and discuss all the Hotel amenities and events. Additionally, you will welcome them to their room, turn on lights, open curtains, explain how everything works, hand them a business card, wish them a comfortable stay, and thank them for their business. Is this powerful, or what? Upon your return to the Front Desk, you “room” the next Guest, and so forth throughout your “shift”. As a final indication of your Hospitality, you hand write a note to each of your new acquaintances upon their departure, for you have their contact information (and E-mail address, too) from the Registration Card.
Imagine what you have accomplished.
John R. Hendrie, CEO
|Also See:||Human Capital Crisis in Hospitality / John R Hendrie / January 2006|
|The Decline of Service and the Devaluation of Product in the Hospitality Industry; Who's in Charge and Who Will Lead the Way? / John R Hendrie / January 2006|