Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
Ben Jost
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • The Evolution of the Review
  • While it’s unlikely that Joseph and Mary left a scathing TripAdvisor review after being turned away at the Inn in Bethlehem, hotel reviews have been around, in various forms, since the first hotel opened its doors. As with many other human activities (relationships, journalism/information sharing, etc), “reviews” have become digital. And like those other activities, entire ecosystems have sprung up to support this new channel. Read on...

Scott Hale
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Intuitive Guest Service: A Whole New Level of Guest Expectation
  • Home sweet home. Your dog recognizes the sound of your car pulling in the drive and waits anxiously for you at the front door. Your thermostat knows the temperature that you expect the kitchen to be as you prepare dinner. Your stereo knows what playlist works best with tonight’s recipe. Your television has your preferred programming all cued up when you’re done with your meal. The list goes on. Home sweet home. What if you could make your guests’ next experience at your hotel just like home – but better? You can. Read on...

Roberta Nedry
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Take the Service Elevator to the Top Floor
  • United Airlines’ recent ‘episodes’ and other news headlines SHOUT the need for rereading the article below. Customer, Employee and Employer Emotions are all over the place. Leaders need to reassess and reassign priorities, especially on the behaviors essential to delivering respectful as well as exceptional service and experiences. Procedures are important but without proactive personal and perceptual attention, fiascos and unsatisfying results and emotions usually take place. This month Hotel Business Review focused on all aspects of Guest Service and Emerging Growth Markets in this constantly evolving arena. Read on...

Adele Gutman
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • How the Aria Hotel Budapest Became the Number One Hotel in the World
  • Before the first shovel was in the ground, we knew Aria Hotel Budapest would be an extraordinary hotel. For the Library Hotel Collection and our founder, Henry Kallan, creating a hotel that is beyond ordinary is everything. We think about each detail of the design and experience to create wow factors for our guests. These elements generate rave reviews, and rave reviews are the cornerstone of our marketing program. This is how we became the #1 Hotel in the World in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards. Read on...

Megan Wenzl
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Creating Customer Engagement in a Customer-Focused Company
  • A personalized guest experience is important in today’s hospitality industry. Guests can voice their opinion about a hotel in seconds because of the Internet, and their feedback is contained in sources like social media sites and online reviews. Potential guests read this information when they are looking for where to stay on their next summer vacation. Guests will post online reviews about their experiences. According to research by ReviewTrackers, 45 percent of hotel guests are likely to leave to a review after a negative experience, while 37.6 percent of hotel guests are likely to leave a review after a positive experience Read on...

Shayne Paddock
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Authentic Personalized Guest Engagement in an Automated World
  • In the past year I’ve traveled to New York City on several business trips usually staying at the same hotel every time. I did that in part to learn how the hotel would interact with me on each repeat stay. Would they treat me differently? Would they recognize me on my fourth stay? Would they remember my name? Each time the reservation staff warmly greeted me but always asked “Have you stayed with us before”. Upon arriving in my room there would always be a hand written letter from the GM welcoming me to the hotel. Read on...

Adrian Kurre
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Promoting the Value of Personal Interaction in the Hotel Digital Age
  • Today’s hotel guests have embraced the convenience of mobile and digital technology that facilitates everything from booking specific rooms online to checking in and using Digital Key on their smartphones. This proliferation of technology combined with excellent hospitality ensures that guests’ needs continue to be met or exceeded. At the end of the day, like we say at Hilton, we are a business of people serving people. The key is to offer guests the technological innovations they want – and some they haven’t even imagined yet – while utilizing these advances to automate basic transactions. This process allows our Team Members to focus more time on delivering exceptional experiences at every hotel to every guest. Read on...

Robert  Habeeb
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Quasi-Service Hotels Carving Out a New Niche
  • There are growing numbers of quasi-service hotels that are carving out a new niche between select-service and full-service properties. Select-service hotels have been a hot hotel industry segment for several years now. From new concepts to new developments, it has established itself as a clear front-runner in the hotel category horse race. That being said, a recent uptick in full service hotel development clearly shows that segment remains vibrant, as well. Read on...

Gary Isenberg
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • TripAdvisor Data: Not Just for Guests Anymore
  • By now, nearly every type of traveler prepping for a journey scans TripAdvisor for reviews of hotels in their destination city prior to securing a reservation. By perusing prior guest comments, consumers receive unfiltered and unbiased perceptions of specific properties. Travelers want to know before they book for instance if: Are the rooms clean? Is the service top-notch? Most importantly, does a hotel deliver value for the price? Read on...

Doug Kennedy
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Use New Technology to Deliver Authentic Hospitality
  • When I started my first hotel training company as a 20 something entrepreneur in 1989, many hoteliers were already anticipating that automation would soon take over most of the frontline jobs in the hotel industry. My original concept was to train the frontline colleagues who worked at the front desk, in reservations or PBX. When I reached to some of the brightest minds in the business for advice on my business plan, most told me these jobs would be the first to go, as even back then airlines were starting to push callers to automated phone systems to “press 1 for flight status,” and to print their boarding pass at a kiosk. Read on...

Mike Benjamin
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Using Technology to Deliver a Personalized Experience
  • Hotel data can be messy and confusing. Traditionally, capturing and utilizing hotel guest data for a personalized experience has been a challenging process for hoteliers. Reservations arrive in the property management system (PMS) from a variety of sources with varying degrees of completeness and quality. This info may not always be reliable which can lead to service liabilities. It is easy for this data to get disorganized, such as duplicate profiles, and often times many hoteliers have more data than they know what to do with. This can be tremendously frustrating, especially in an industry that sees high turnover and long training cycles. Read on...

Jana Love
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • The Four Levels of Service Awareness
  • If you are in hospitality, you already understand the value of what The Ritz-Carlton calls, “surprise and delight,” and other companies call, “the wow factor.” Countless hours of training have been delivered explaining that “wowing” a customer is about exceeding expectations in small and large ways. But what is often overlooked as companies push harder and harder to get to the “wow” are two fundamentals: hiring and supporting employees who have what I call “optimal service awareness,” and truly understanding their customers collectively and individually. If we focus here first, all our other efforts will more naturally fall into place. Read on...

Naomi Stark
Simon Hudson
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • How do You Improve Hospitality in Your Town?
  • When guest satisfaction scores started to slip in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the town made an unprecedented move by offering customer service training to every single resident in town. The program, initially involving four four-hour sessions over the space of a month, taught the very latest in customer service culture using many Disney examples of ‘going the extra mile.’ This article takes a closer look at this initiative and focuses on how service providers in Steamboat both benefited from, and built on this initiative to exceed guest expectations. Read on...

Pamela Barnhill
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Airbnb and the Shared Economy
  • The ability to provide a rich selection of goods and services for potential customers has aided the rapid growth of peer-to-peer platforms. Airbnb, one of the most successful of these, defines itself as “a social website that connects people who have space to share with those who are looking for a place to stay." Because of its rapid growth and popularity since Airbnb’s launch in 2008, hotel industry leaders worldwide have been attempting to answer the Airbnb challenge. With each discussion comes a variety of responses and platforms, some accusing Airbnb of unlawful practices and others praising Airbnb for its innovative platform. Read on...

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MAY: Eco-Friendly Practices: The Value of Sustainability

Eric Ricaurte

In 2011, we visited the 10 hotels contracted in the room block for the Greenbuild conference in Toronto. As part of their award-winning sustainable event program, the conference organizers embedded green practices into the contract language for these hotels, who either had to comply with the requirements, explain their reason why they couldn’t implement them, or pay a $1,000 fine. Part of our consulting work was to gather the data and confirm some of the practices on-site. Read on...

Susan Tinnish

Hotels brands have actively engaged in large-scale efforts to become more environmentally friendly. Individual hotels have made great strides on property. Many significant large-scale eco-initiatives s are most easily built initially into the infrastructure and design of the building and surrounding areas. Given that the adaptation of these large-scale changes into the existing asset base is expensive and disruptive, hotels seek different ways to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices. One way to do so is to shift the focus from large-scale change to “small wins.” Small wins can help a hotel create a culture of sustainability. Read on...

Shannon Sentman

Utility costs are the second largest operating expense for most hotels. Successfully reducing these expenses can be a huge value-add strategy for executives. Doing this effectively requires more than just a one-time investment in efficiency upgrades. It requires ongoing visibility into a building’s performance and effectively leveraging this visibility to take action. Too often, efficiency strategies center on a one-time effort to identify opportunities with little consideration for establishing ongoing practices to better manage a building’s performance ongoing. Read on...

Joshua Zinder, AIA

Discussions of sustainability in the hospitality industry have focused mainly on strategies at the level of energy-efficient and eco-friendly adjustments to operations and maintenance. These "tweaks" can include programs to reduce water usage, updating lighting to LEDs, campaigns to increase guest participation in recycling, and similar innovative industry initiatives. Often overlooked—not only by industry experts but even by hotel operators and designers—are possibilities for hotel design and construction that can make a property truly sustainable from the get-go. Read on...

Coming Up In The June Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Sales & Marketing: Who Owns the Guest?
Hotels and OTAs are, by necessity, joined at the hip and locked in a symbiotic relationship that is uneasy at best. Hotels require the marketing presence that OTAs offer and of course, OTAs guest’s email when it sends guest information to a hotel, effectively allowing OTAs to maintain “ownership” of the guest. Without ready access to guest need hotel product to offer their online customers. But recently, several OTAs have decided to no longer share a data, hotels are severely constrained from marketing directly to a guest which allows them to capture repeat business – the lowest cost and highest value travelers. Hotels also require this data to effectively market to previous guests, so ownership of this data will be a significant factor as hotels and OTAs move forward. Another issue is the increasing shift to mobile travel bookings. Mobile will account for more than half of all online travel bookings next year, and 78.6% of them will use their smartphone to make those reservations. As a result, hotels must have a robust mobile marketing plan in place, which means responsive design, one-click booking, and location technology. Another important mobile marketing element is a “Click-to-Call” feature. According to a recent Google survey, 68% of hotel guests report that it is extremely/very important to be able to call a hotel during the purchase phase, and 58% are very likely to call a hotel if the capability is available in a smartphone search. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.