Creating memorable hotel customer experiences is more challenging than ever. Guest preferences and behaviors are perpetually evolving, and companies must continuously strive to keep up and stay ahead of the changes. And, with all consumers willing to pay as much as a 16 percent premium for a “great customer experience” (source: PricewaterhouseCoopers), it’s understandable why company decision-makers are increasingly honing in on how to create an experience that drives success.
What can be learned from some of the top-rated hotel brands when it comes to customer experience? Actually, a great deal! The following are three examples of how you can drive brand loyalty with hotel guests by delivering exceptional customer experiences.
The most successful hotels understand that guests value localized characteristics, such as décor, cuisine and activities. Even for business travelers, offering local culture can be a defining point of the experience.
In the case of Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, the company keeps its eye on the individual guest experience while providing a local flavor at each of its worldwide locations. For example, the Grand Hyatt in San Francisco displays art from local artists on their walls that convey the spirit of the city. In Hyatt’s Andaz luxury hotel in Tokyo, they have woven elements of Japanese culture throughout the customer experience to help guests feel truly connected to the heart and soul of Tokyo.
Delivering a taste of local culture may not be relevant for every hotel chain. Yet, with multiple customer-facing locations, it provides the opportunity to differentiate by customizing the experience at each property while at the same time maintaining fundamental values.
2. PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS
It’s a well-known fact that satisfying guests is not just a good idea. It’s essential for success. When hotels go above and beyond this threshold, guests notice. And, there are endless ways to provide extras that propel them to book again and again.
Doubletree by Hilton provides guests with a warm, signature chocolate chip cookie upon arrival. It’s a small, yet memorable gesture that propels many to share their experience with others. Likewise, Holiday Inn Express does more than simply offer the standard hotel breakfast for their guests. They greet guests each morning with their signature cinnamon rolls that keep them coming back for more.
3. ENGAGE EMPLOYEES
Whether a company sells a widget or a hotel room, every transaction boils down to one thing – people. People, not brands, make experiences exceptional. That’s why exemplary businesses invest in employee training programs and empower all employees to service customers.
Marriot trains every employee – from maintenance and housekeeping to concierge and front-desk managers. Like any business Marriott wants positive and authentic interactions between staff and customers. How do they make that happen? Marriott HR executive Gary Dodds says the company pays close attention to employee satisfaction scores, making necessary improvements to maintain a high level of employee happiness. It’s all part of the winning culture established by founder J. Willard Marriott, who said, “You’ve got to make your employees happy. If the employees are happy, they are going to make the customers happy.”
As business and technology continue to advance, let’s remember that delivering on human needs and desires is fundamental. It’s not just the customer experience. It’s the human experience.