Customer Service in Hotel – Six Tips to Keep Your Promise to Guests
Many hotels are good at marketing. They have the right slogans and advertise in the best places. In fact, with increasingly sophisticated marketing plans, many hotels know how to use social media and the Internet to firmly establish their brand. However, the creation of a brand is more than a marketing ploy. A brand is essentially a promise. The nature of the hotel’s brand will create a certain expectation for customers about the type of experience they will have if they stay there.
In theory, this is a good thing. However, if the experience does not live up to the expectation, customers are likely to feel disappointed and wronged. In essence, the customer feels as though the hotel has broken its promise by failing to live up to its brand.
Unfortunately, this happens more than hotel managers may like to think. Too often, hotels are making promises they cannot keep due to gaps in the daily operation of the hotel. The consequences can be deeply problematic, alienating customers and slowly destroying the carefully created brand. The question is, therefore, how do you prevent such problems?
To start keeping your promises, try following these simple steps.
1. Develop your brand. The first key is to know your brand. After all, you cannot keep promises if you do not know which promises you are actually making. Therefore, think hard about what sort of brand the hotel should have.
Each hotel will answer this question differently, and it is important to establish a brand that is distinctive. Maybe the hotel is a family friendly oasis. Perhaps it is an upscale resort. Maybe it is a budget minded getaway for practical travelers. This question of brand should reflect the amenities, the type of facility, the location and the overall desired clientele.
This brand will not only define a hotel’s marketing but will impact every aspect of its operation and organization. Without a brand, it is impossible to establish the hotel within the marketplace, which can severely inhibit its earning potential.
2. Identify ways to bring your brand to life. A marketing team can do wonders with a brand. However, a brand is only successful when it is brought to life. As the management team establishes the brand, they should not only look at marketing but actionable details in the operation of the hotel. This has wide-reaching applications. Consider the lobby. If the brand is an upscale resort, the amenities in the lobby should be high-end. There should be decadent fixtures and smartly dressed staff members on hand. A more family friendly hotel, however, should have comfortable seating and streamlined check-in procedures for families.
Other details might include the services available. Spa service may be the choice for high-end resorts, but a large pool is often desirable for families. The type of restaurant attached to the hotel or other amenities like an arcade or workout room go a long way. Even the brochures available at the front desk can be a part of the brand.
These may seem like small things, but they help establish the nature of the hotel. These are the things that guests will see and use to determine whether or not the hotel is living up to its promises.
3. Keep management involved. Even the best laid plans do not always ensure that a hotel is living up to its brand. Sometimes problems occur in the daily operation of a hotel, many of which may lead to customer dissatisfaction. While these issues have a variety of causes, many of them go unnoticed due to a lack of management involvement. Simply put, many management teams work hard to develop a brand but do little to ensure that it is actually being executed. In other words, managers may be confident in their brand, but customers are having an entirely different experience.
Often, such problems can be easily addressed but only if the management is aware of such issues. This is why management teams have to be actively engaged in the daily operation of the hotel. Even when they are not on-site, they should have close contact with employees and regular meetings in order to see what issues are developing in the daily routines. Too many management teams are not even aware that they are breaking their promise until profits start to suffer. By that time, it may be too late to fix the problem.
4. Train employees purposefully. Just as managers need to stay involved, every employee should be carefully trained with the brand in mind. This starts with the hiring process itself, ensuring that every member of the staff can be a part of the overall brand. More than that, employees should be directly trained on the brand. In fact, every employee, from the desk staff to housekeeping, should be able to talk about the hotel’s brand with clarity. All operations should be defined and standardized in order to maintain the right level of performance.
5. Invite feedback. It is also a good idea to keep customers involved. There is no better way to know what customers think than to ask them. Leave surveys for customers, and invite them to fill out online questionnaires after their visit. Be sure to include questions about the quality of their experience and whether or not it lived up to their expectations. Look at reviews left on third-party websites, carefully noting both positive and negative comments. This can be the best way to see what customers really think and to see how the brand may be falling short in application.
6. Get help. The truth is, developing a brand and seeing it through is easier said than done. To have the best results, consider hiring a third-party management team such as Hotel Managers Group. Hotel Managers Group is a leader in the hospitality industry, working with hotels to increase profits and improve the customer experience. Hotel Managers Group can help any hotel keep its promises and see dramatic growth.