I’ve always said that a hotel operation is pretty standard by a lot of different measures. They attract guests on the same websites, have roughly the same rooms and facilities, and offer similar services. Similarities exist whether it’s a luxury or budget hotel and regardless of location.
On the other hand, hotel operations have a lot of complexities as well. You are running a massive business 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You have hundreds and maybe even thousands of guests at any given time. Your property is huge and will often feature many parallel processes (preparing rooms, renovating, food & beverage, parking, events, and much more). Running a hotel is not an easy thing. And each customer demands a different level of service, which you must abide by or get their wrath on the ever-important review sites.
Some hotel operators think it’s enough to just run a good operation. Have nice, clean facilities. Honor guest requests and treat them with a smile. Have adequate room service and meal/drink options. Service rooms with fresh linens and towels. And make sure the property is maintained in all aspects. You can run a profitable business and satisfy customers merely by doing these things.
However, I want to talk about the over-achievers. There are many amazing opportunities to go WAY above and beyond typical expectations. I’ll present a few of these ideas here but keep in mind, I have dozens more. I offer a service that helps innovate hotels and will talk about that at the article’s conclusion.
How can a hotel go above and beyond in today’s world? A few unique ideas…
1 — Management Apps. How useful this would be! Let me explain. We all have mobile apps or maybe you program it into the in-room tv. And this app controls all elements of the guest’s experience. Rather than getting disturbed by housekeeping or having to call the front-desk, you order it at the time of your choosing via this app. Ditto for room service, spa reservations, and more. Same for anything else you need. Check-in and out can be managed with this. The list goes on.
Why is this valuable? From a guest standpoint, you’re listing all the services and making it easy to control their experience. From a management standpoint, you have a digital tool to manage your workflow and then track performance. That’s much better than how many current processes are run.
There will still be many guests not technically savvy enough to use it. But if the majority of guests appreciate it and use it, it’s well worth it.
2 — Customer Profile. A lot of guests are returning to either the property or hotel chain. It’s silly that this isn’t easily recognized. If I go to an Intercontinental in New York and then again in London, they should know who I am (regardless of my loyalty account).
They should have a profile of who I am and what I like. And then to go further, they should target me for the services I’ll appreciate. For example, if I’m a business traveler, I might need certain facilities. That should be noted so reception can point out specific business features of the hotel. A different traveler might have no interest in business features but might have a feather pillow allergy. They shouldn’t have to give this information every single time they check-in.
Hotels can customize their guest experience, marketing, and more by keeping better profiles of customers. I’m not talking about intrusive information. But basic preferences that customers consent to disclosing would be welcomed by both sides. And these days, such data should not be difficult to keep.
3 — Service Menus. This one is another common sense thing to do. Why can’t hotels list all services they’re willing to provide (on a well-printed document)? Some will inevitably be free. And others should be available for a small fee.
This is friendly to the customer because you can highlight all the value you’re offering and give them choices into the experience they want. And for the hotel, you can extract fees the customer wouldn’t ordinarily be giving. The examples here are endless. Here are a few:
- For free, you offer extra towels, soaps, and pillows. You might be able to book restaurant reservations or offer to send/receive mail.
- For a fee, you can talk about all the other services you already deliver. Laundry and dry cleaning. Delivering the newspaper of their choice. Shoe shines. And much more.
- While you’re selling services, you can add atypical things. Airlines sell things on their in-flight magazine. Why can’t hotels? Offer to perform services like delivering food from a local restaurant. Booking private excursions. Selling clothes or other traveler needs. Renting business equipment. The list is long.
4 — So much more… I have so many other ways to differentiate your hotel. Each one helps the hotel generate new revenue or provide a better customer experience. They are innovative and inevitably the things guests will talk about in their online reviews. These things include interesting services, technology, design, and facility uses.
For more details, I’d love to work with you or build it from scratch! Go to my website (link below) and we’ll work on having your hotel go above and beyond using these ideas and all the others in our arsenal!
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