Hotel service is something that we all expect when travelling. It is at the core of any hospitality organization and understanding what good customer service is will define how well your brand is perceived and how great your customer loyalty is. After understanding the 3 pillars of good customer service, we’ll get into specific examples of ways to provide the best hotel service at your hotel.
1 – Survey your guests
Surveying your guests is a great way to get feedback on how you’re doing. People love sharing their opinions and experiences so offering them a way to be heard is win-win. Instead of the outdated comment cards, there are a few ways you can improve on this process.
An effective and modern way to survey guests is by using digital tools. Automate email surveys or in-app notifications post stay to guests for a quick and easy way to collect feedback. Short and sweet should be the theme so no more than 3 questions, but also offering clients a space for free comments as well. Having a CRM tool to help handle this will be essential.
Try to ask open ended questions that provoke your client to critically think. This will give you more insight than a “yes” or “no” answer. Questions like:
- If there was one area of our customer service that you think we could improve on, what would it be?
- Did anything occur during your stay at our hotel that affected your experience?
- How would you describe your experience at our hotel to a friend?
2 – Empower your employees
Being able to “wow” a guest typically isn’t outlined in your training manual or brand standard guide. Training will give an employee a great foundation to be able to offer great hotel service but when it comes to going above and beyond, it means getting creative. Leading by example to motivate and empower employees to deliver great experiences is the first step.
By creating a culture where employees feel comfortable to express different ideas and approaches to exceed client expectations, that’s when you start seeing employees taking initiative and accountability.
When it comes to impressing guests, sometimes hotels do have to spend a little bit of money, which needs to be approved by senior management. But by giving employees a threshold spend limit, say $100 or less per client, this will give them some freedom to get creative with different ideas to ‘wow’ guests and feel empowered to make these decisions on their own.
3 – Get creative with Lost & Found
We’ve all been there before: with the hustle and bustle of traveling, you’ve just arrived at the airport just in time for your flight to your next destination and *gasp* you look down and realize your wedding ring is gone. That’s a sure fire way to ruin a trip.
Now while a hotel isn’t responsible for a guest’s lost items, turning lost & found into a type of hotel service isn’t typically expected by guests and can definitely turn a horrible experience into a point of loyalty for your hotel.
For example, a client loses something at your hotel and calls in distress. Instead of giving them the typical “we’ll call you if we find it” standard answer. Let them know that you’ll be assigning personnel so help recover the item and review security footage and update you step by step. Yes this will take a little bit of time and effort, but this will go miles when it comes to your client remembering this horrible experience that happened at your hotel (at no fault of your own) into an experience that occurred at your hotel where you were extremely helpful and empathetic about.
4 – Have a sense of humour
People working in hospitality are simply that: people. Being professional and offering great hotel service also doesn’t mean lack of sense of humour. Guests love to be treated like old friends visiting from out of town, not like a training manual exercise. This goes back to empowering your staff. Show your candid side – even the most prestigious world renowned brands can offer the highest level of hotel service and still have their quirks. This is what makes you memorable.
5 – Inspire a culture of collaboration
Big companies and hotels with many staff suffer from a lack of inter-departmental communication and collaboration. When it comes to problem solving, improving in this area could save your tonnes of time and money by coming up with solutions under the same roof.
Perhaps front desk receives a call in regards to an event they have that night and they just found that their dress is torn. Little to their knowledge, there is someone in housekeeping who is also an expert seamstress that can help. By educating employees on what each department does and having managers regularly team build, they can utilize their team’s best skills to their advantage.
6 – Think of something no other hotel is doing…and then do it.
When it comes to providing the best hotel service, differentiating yourself is the name of the game. Customer expectations are always evolving and staying up to date is just the bare minimum.
Going above and beyond isn’t taught in a training guide either. It takes practice to be able to identify these opportunities to exceed and keen attention to detail. Rule of thumb: imagine any scenario when you’ve been traveling and have spoken the words “you know what would be nice right now…”. Answer it for yourself, and appropriately apply it to that individual guest’s preferences that you are caring for.
Maybe your guest is in town for a wild birthday weekend. On the night of their outing, set-up a “hangover-cure” station with advil, gatorade, water and menus from local fast food restaurants. This is going above and beyond and those guests will never forget it.
7 – Build strategic relationships
At many times, your special offerings are coming from outside your hotel. By building partnerships with local businesses, you offer an exclusive way into a local experience that your traveller would have otherwise never even known.
For example, perhaps your town is well known for its breweries. By partnering with a few of the local breweries, you can offer an exclusive brewery tour that isn’t offered to the public. It’s a way for your guests to see, hear and taste the town and offers great exposure to your partnering breweries.
Continuously raising the bar in terms of your hotel service is always ongoing. It starts with your recruitment efforts. Sourcing the best candidates, offering the right training and onboarding, and cultivating an employee culture of genuine hospitality that recognizes going above and beyond for clients. No matter who you have on your team or what kind of budget your hotel has, there are always ways, big or small, to provide the best customer experience at your hotel.