In an interview with CustomerService.ae Philip Jones, General Manager at Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach, speaks about their guest-centric approach by having the right people on the team and empowering them. He further highlights how daily formal training sessions with staff benefits in building and maintaining a lasting relationship with their customers. He also mentions how the hotel is integrating technology to create customer service excellence.
Q: In terms of service, what factors set you apart from other hotels and resorts in the region?
PJ: Let’s be very clear, every hotel strives the finest level of personalized service. In a business where things are increasingly the same, based on similar service standards, we set ourselves apart by making sure we have the right individuals on our team. We expect every employee to harbor certain natural talents and abilities which helps ensure the care and comfort of our guests. We also stay away from prescriptive service and empower our employees, through our philosophy of natural enjoyment, to create unique moments for each of our guests.
Q: How do you define exceptional customer experience?
PJ: As the world is made up of unique individuals, therefore exceptional customer service must be flexible enough to accommodate each of those individual needs. However, just meeting needs is not enough, exceptional customer service should go the extra mile and anticipate the needs of the guest, before they even ask.
Q: How often do you conduct trainings for your frontline staff and what are the key areas that you focus on?
PJ: We conduct trainings every day at the Movenpick JBR. We expect our heads of department during their daily briefings to take a few moments to cover at least one priority topic. As we conduct ongoing analysis of common mistakes/defects, we are able to identify trends and these trends typically become a focus of the day for refresher training. Aside from functional training, our Director of Learning and Development conducts a formal training session every day on a variety of topics ranging from, health and safety, to natural enjoyment as well as empowerment and complaint handling, to name but a few.
Q: How are you using social media to create brand awareness and to engage your online customers?
PJ: As the world we live in nowadays is on its way to become fully digital, we are extremely aware of this transformation and have set a bigger focus on our social media presence, which allows us to better understand and communicate with all ofour guests. The viral communication we create on a daily basis through our posts and from their comments, allows us tobuild andmaintain a relationship with existing and future guests. We also closely monitor our social media platforms through tools such as Local Measures and TrustYou.
Q: How do you gather customer feedback and how does it help you improve the service you offer to guests?
PJ: We gather guest feedback in a number of ways, from traditional comments cards, to an online survey which is sent to every guest with an email address within 24 hours of their departure, as well as through social media and other online platforms and of course through actually speaking with our guests on a daily basis. We take this information, whether it is good or constructive and conduct trend analysis. This allows us to identify the areas where we perform with excellence, as well as those areas where we have room for improvement. We share this information both at our daily briefing and more formally at our quality meetings. This allows us to establish actions and targets which are monitored in follow up meetings.
Q: How are you integrating technology to improve the guest experience at your hotel?
PJ: In the past year, our brand has embarked on several initiatives to help capitalize on new technology available in the market. For example, we are the first hotel company in the world to deploy the Cloud based version of Opera-our property management system. Additionally, we have also migrated to a Cloud based Point of Sale System – Simphony. In the coming year, we will also be working to implement a new customer relationship management system, as well as a web based check-in service.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your online customer support processes and is this available 24/7 in real time?
PJ: Currently we still believe in the philosophy of personal service and have not migrated to any online support process. While our guests are in the hotel we prefer them to interact with individuals, versus an online attendant.
Q: Do you offer any loyalty programs or special offers to your guests?
PJ: Yes, we have a membership programme called “Circle M” which offers our guests discounts on food and beverage as well as accommodation. Please stop by to your nearest Movenpick hotel to find out more.
Q: What are your plans to ensure a luxurious and memorable guest experience in the future?
PJ: We will continue to build on the platforms that have led us this far. That said, our senior leadership recently hosted a three day guest experience workshop, which identified four key areas to drive higher levels of guest engagement. Following the workshop four teams were created to develop these concepts further. I was very fortunate to lead one of these teams and while I cannot give details of these initiatives as this time, I can say that they are all very unique and will add considerable value to our brand and our guests. Watch this space…
About Philip Jones
Philip Jones, General Manager of Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach joined Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts in 2012 bringing with him a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry gained during 20 years spent in the business working with different international hotel chains.
Jones worked with The Ritz Carlton for 11 years where he started as an Assistant Director of Housekeeping, got promoted to the position of Director of Housekeeping, and then took over the position of Executive Assistant Manager, Rooms Division. After spending 10 years in various hotels in the US, Jones relocated to Dubai in 2008 as Hotel Manager. He then moved to Jumeirah Hotels where he spent 2 years before joining Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts.
In January 2012, Jones joined the Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi in Vietnam as General Manager. Two years later, he seized the opportunity to manage the Mövenpick Heritage Hotel Sentosa Singapore in the same capacity.
In January 2016, Jones was appointed to the post of General Manager of Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah. In his current role, Jones oversees the management team at the Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach and sets strategic plans to continue achieving the hotel’s revenue, operating and environmental goals.