Which particular elements best define a hotel? Most people have their unique perception of what constitutes a luxurious hotel experience. For some guests, it’s the gourmet chocolate on the pillow while for others its the 24/7 room service facility. Similarly, every company in the hospitality industry has its own special way of providing their guests with a pleasant stay. There are certain hotels that take great pride in offering customer-centric services, while others make the city or region they belong to the hotel’s reigning theme. Hotels, by virtue of their industry, are distinctly positioned to continually redefine the term true customer service.Guests no longer experience only one part of the hotel. Instead, they look for the entire package comprising of comfort and entertainment. The modern-day hotel guest is more informed and more selective about where they will spend their hard-earned money. Most hotels are now entire destinations on their own. A superior hotel must do more than merely keep up with its immediate competition. They must keep innovating and through that innovation, keep exceeding their guests’ expectations.
DECISIONS, DECISIONS: DESIGN & LOCATION
A hotel cannot be built just anywhere. Hotel develop requires the input and coordination of many qualified professionals. The first impression any potential guest has of a hotel depends upon its physical location. While the specifics may vary, from city to city and region to region, guest pay close attention to the luxury hotel ’sproximity to key city attractions as well as the ease of access to public and private transportation.
The notion of contemporary luxury is constantly evolving, however, it begins with an aesthetically-pleasing space paired with undeniable comfort. All of that can be ‘designed’ into the hotel – even at the blueprint stage. This can mean plush carpets, wider aisles to accommodate wheelchairs, silk sheets with higher-than-usual thread counts, and numerous ways to communicate with customer support.
DIGITAL STOREFRONT: ONLINE PRESENCE
Now, more than ever, potential guests expect speed, efficiency and comfort from their hotel. Everything is now just a tap away; one can do their research, go through reviews, and make bookings from the comfort of their own home. Social media and live chat are outpacing all traditional means of communication with the customer. With a uniform online presence, be it an official hotel website or an actively managed social media profile, hotels can offer round-the-clock assistance with minimal delay. Hotels must make the reservation, check-in, and check-out processes as smooth as possible.
A-TEAM: CREATING SYNERGY
Hotels with higher levels of employee satisfaction will see that reflected in positive feedback from their guests. Whether it is through online reviews or the guestbook, happily-engaged staff members are bound to work harder to achieve true customer satisfaction. Each and every member of the staff, from the front desk manager to the bellboy, plays a vital role in securing the best possible guest experience. Experienced hoteliers make sure to invest in customer service training for their teams on a regular basis. For example, game-based training programs are fun and extremely effective in enhancing soft skills. Your staff will learn how to work in teams, deal with difficult customers and take ownership when it comes to solving problems. A well-trained staff will also reduce turnover.
ONLY THE BEST: QUALITY OF SERVICE
The hallmark of a global hotel chain is the consistency in service provided by the staff, from Cape Town to New York. From the way the pillows are fluffed to how the lobby is designed, these hotel chains strive to maintain the same service culture and aesthetic at all of their locations. In 2019, hotels are being designed (and in some cases, re-designed) around the user experience. This is evident in cleaner, more functional layouts which contrast the congested, grandiose room designs of the recent past. The contemporary hotel guest more likely to queue up a movie on their personal electronic device rather than rely on the hotel’s own television-cum-cable set-up. So, now the priority is in providing high-speed wifi connection over a large-scale, wall-mounted television.
As hoteliers, one must honour the guest’s trust when they commit to staying at your hotel. From the pre-booking stage to the post-stay stage, hotel management should strive towards service excellence.
True luxury lies in providing the guests with exceptional customer service – day or night!
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