News for the Hospitality Executive
Through the Eyes of a Hotel Butler: Achieving Guest Satisfaction
|by Osvaldo Torres Cruz, June 3, 2009
When Ellsworth Statler opened the Buffalo Statler Hotel in 1908, he initiated differentiation within the hospitality industry by offering for the first time a private bathroom for each room, a light at the door, a pitcher of water for each guest and the morning paper.
After the Second World War, the Hotel industry accompanied the expansion of tourism by increasing the number and quality of the services offered. Howard Johnson and Kemmom Wilson stand out as the creators of one of the first hotel chains -the Holiday Inn-, which offered, among other services, air conditioning, private bathroom, and in-room phone. The first differentiation strategies were related to the development hotel facilities and the creation of new and innovative services.
During the 90s, Hotels were faced with a new challenge: globalization made it increasingly difficult to offer exclusive products within an already huge Hospitality industry. Services which at one time had been exclusively offered by a few hotels became regular services at a great number of establishments.
Then, Hotels began to establish differentiation in connection with their retention and loyalty strategies, aimed at achieving guest satisfaction by determining guests’ needs and offering services adapted to such needs, giving rise to a new type of service: customized services. This new kind of service attracted a large number of guests and set standards within the market regarding differentiation. However, at the beginning of the XXI century, increasingly more hotels offer customized services, taking us back to the initial question: how is it possible to make a difference?
It is worth mentioning that the analysis of the elements that make up hotel services is made by guests according to their own criteria and experience, and this is the basis for their opinion and image regarding such services. Therefore, it is not only necessary to offer personalized services , but also to determine the criteria applied by guests regarding each service: how they perceive it and how it affects their physical and emotional wellbeing, according to my experience while I have been butlering, a good way to achieve this is to think of PERSONALISED SERVICES as PERSONALISED RELATIONAL SERVICE ( PRS).
Establishing Hotel-Guest relations is essential for differentiation
within the market. Relational strategies strengthen and secure these relations.
Hotel Butler Services is a priceless relational tool, providing what
we can call “moments of truth”: the direct interaction between the
provider and the receiver of the service , where it is possible to get
to know the guest, determine both, rational and emotional guest needs
and satisfy them in a personal way, so it makes possible to have an impact
on their sensory and spiritual world, generating positive feelings and
emotions that trigger unique enduring experiences. If you know what guests
want and you offer it just as they want it, they shall not look for it
Eliciting positive emotions through the customized services rendered
Creating an experience does not mean coming up with particularly attractive or flamboyant things, but focusing on what the guest feels. It entails conceiving the guest as an emotional being rather than a functional one. In short, it is a question of eliciting positive emotions and feelings. It is necessary to get inside the skin of the guest and understand that he/she is constantly perceiving colors, shapes, and faces and receiving information through the senses of hearing, smell and touch, as human interaction is basically emotional.
How do we elicit emotions?
According to experts, emotions are usually a response to external and internal events or stimuli. They can even outlast the stimulus. Therefore, providing customized services to our guests allows us to identify internal and external stimuli that can evoke positive emotions in them. Once identified, these stimuli can be reproduced and thus influence guests’ behavior during their stay.
A person, whether consciously or unconsciously, regards an event as relevant when it is related to a personal goal that is considered important. An emotion is positive when the event represents a move forward toward achieving that goal, and negative when it is experienced as an obstacle. Therefore, emotions can be positive or negative depending on whether the event is in line with our personal goals or not. Daily contact with guests through customized service allows the gradual identification of the events and stimuli that trigger emotions in them.
Generating positive experiences in our guests is closely related to the feeling of moving forward toward an individual goal which, in turn, depends on the level of satisfaction of individual expectations. When the service provided exceeds our expectations, it is felt as a positive move toward an individual goal, and even more so when the “wow” effect is achieved, I would like to share with you some ways to generate positive emotions and feelings while butlering:
Which are the advantages of generating positive experiences for our guests? By regarding the stay as a positive experience, one of the most significant positive emotions is evoked: WELLBEING, which in turn triggers another positive emotion – SATISFACTION- which generates the feelings of MOTIVATION and GRATITUDE.
The motivated guest is eager to be assisted: more receptive, accessible
and even helpful. The guest is more confident regarding the services
offered and thus demands more services, generating greater interaction
with hotel employees. This increased interaction allows obtaining more
information that can be used to provide increasingly customized services.
Consequently, the guest becomes a priceless Hotel ally, as confidence translates
Osvaldo Torres Cruz
|Also See:||Through the Eyes of a Hotel Butler: Mastering Guests' Information / Osvaldo Torres Cruz / May 2009|