Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
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...

Yvonne Tocguigny
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • How Can Your Hotel Use New Technology to Manage Your Brand?
  • As personalized hotel services are replaced with technology, it’s important to understand and monitor how your brand stacks up in the “blind taste test” of options available to customers. A comparison of the sum of all things customers experience adds up to create your brand’s individual rating. These individual brand scorecards will continue to have profound future implications for your business. It could become even harder to address customers’ problems or in-the-moment frustrations because there may not be a human present to notice them. Read on...

Nancy Wiesenfeld
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Staying Relevant with the Consumer is the Holy Grail of Personalization
  • The hospitality industry is in a constant state of evolution. As new players enter the landscape, from properties to boutique hotels to online peer-to-peer marketplaces, hospitality brands continuously look for creative ways to win guests by competing on price, amenities, loyalty program benefits and other perks. With so many options to consider, it is becoming increasingly important to stay relevant with the consumer at each point of their brand journey in order to promote conversion and foster loyalty. The latest platform for differentiation is in delivering the best customer experience. Read on...

Alexander Shashou
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • The Hotel Concierge: Owning the Guest Experience Through Technology
  • Many concierges we speak with today fear technology is putting them out of a job. The reality is the right technology will actually safeguard their profession and place them at the center of the guest experience, because guests want and will always want convenient, personalized service. The reason the concierge role is undervalued today is because of the gap in technology between what consumers have on their phones and what concierges use at their desks. The right technology, in contrast, lets concierges provide guests with mobile first communication, personalized, curated hospitality and flawless guest itinerary orchestration. Read on...

Melissa Fruend
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Making the Most of Technology and Delivering Experiences
  • Technological innovation is transforming business and our lives. And the travel and hospitality industry is on the front lines, looking for ways to deliver meaningful experiences to guests even as their interactions with staff continue to diminish. According to LoyaltyOne Consulting Partner Melissa Fruend, the key to long-term success for hoteliers is personalization – understanding what make great customer experiences, while leveraging new technologies to adapt services and interactions to guests' changing needs and expectations. In this thought-provoking piece, Melissa explores how some of the world's leading hospitality brands are making the most of technology to drive enduring loyalty and profitability. Read on...

Simon Hudson
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Hotels Getting Social to Compete With the Sharing Economy
  • The sharing economy is having a disruptive influence on the lodging sector, with evidence that Airbnb’s entry into some markets has had a quantifiable negative impact on local hotel revenues. Can hotels compete with this new phenomenon without compromising on price? I believe they can. Recent research suggests that the sharing economy appeals to consumers not just because of price, flexibility, and ease of use. Consumers are also attracted by social benefits; guests of Airbnb for example, enjoy interacting with their hosts in an ‘authentic’ setting, and even gain local connections with the host’s help. Read on...

Benjamin Jost
Yvonne Tocguigny
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Bridging the Branding Gap: From Millennials to Boomers
  • Is it possible for your hotel to attract millennials and boomers? Yes. It's a solid strategy. But building a brand, and generating the optimal messages for each group requires nuanced understanding of what each generation cares about and how they make decisions. The writing-duo of Yvonne Tocquigny, and her daughter, Laurel, tell hotel executives what they need to know to bridge the branding gap between generational age groups. Is it possible to build a hotel brand with appeal to both the millennial and the boomer generations? Where are the commonalities and the differences when it comes to brand loyalty in hotels? Theoretically, if you know where the points of intersection and differences lie, you can broaden the relevance of your brand and capture more market share. Read on...

Bonnie Knutson
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • What if Your Guest Had $86,400 Every Day to Spend at Your Hotel?
  • Unlike money, time isn’t fungible; no matter how long or hard we try, we can’t make any more of it. So while we might be able to reallocate our time, we can never increase our supply. That is why time is becoming such a luxury; why we value it so much. In fact, it may be the ultimate luxury. But while it may be a luxury for every one of your guests, different generations view it differently. It is a major differentiator. In this article, you’ll see how the three major consuming generations – Baby Boomers, GenXers, and Millennials – view time in their own way. Read on...

DJ  Vallauri
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Customer Service is the 'New Marketing'
  • As hoteliers, how do we define “customer service” and how does it play into our daily hotel operations? The answer leads us to wonder if customer service can be considered as a competitive advantage for hotel operators. In this article, I share my thoughts on how hospitality customer service can be leveraged to drive new and repeat business into a hotel. When you think customer service in hospitality one brand comes to mind that epitomizes the meaning of great customer service, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. They have successfully used customer service as a marketing differentiator within the hospitality luxury market place. Read on...

Roberta Nedry
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Global Warming: A Weather Proof Strategy for Hospitality and Service Success
  • There’s nothing like warmth, when it comes to hospitality, that blanket of welcome that surrounds a guest or customer when caring and proactive efforts cause greater comfort to happen while making frigid moments forgotten. As guests contemplate their seasonal choices for leisure and business travel in the new year, global warming may be a genuine environmental concern but global warming takes on new meaning when through the eyes of hospitality and a meaningful service emphasis. In this case, warming the hearts of guests and customers is a weather proof strategy for all seasons in the arena of Guest Experience Management. Read on...

Chris Campbell

AUGUST: Food & Beverage: Multiplicity and Diversity are Key

Larry Steinberg

The foodservice industry is one of the oldest and most important. Consumers from all demographics rely on it virtually every day for sustenance. In fact, in the U.S. alone, it’s a nearly $800 billion industry that’s extremely competitive, with hundreds of new establishments popping up every year, and much of this new business is the result of increased consumer demand. Consumers want more options. For every practiced chef, there is a collective of guests eager to spend their hard-earned dollars on something exotic and different. They want to experience a bit of culture by way of their next meal, and they want to find it using the latest technology. Read on...

Frank Sanchez

About two years ago, I started my career at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile. I came from San Diego, California, the apparent capital of farmer’s markets. When I moved to Chicago in late-October, the number of farmer’s markets had already begun to taper off and all that was left of the hotel’s rooftop garden was the sad remnants of a summer full of bounty. However, I was in for a pleasant surprise. The Chicago Marriott Downtown operates a year-round experience to create food from scratch that gives customers fresh and nutritional options. I was thrilled to join a team that can tell a customer that the very greens on their plate were grown just floors above them. Read on...

Thomas  McKeown

To serve today’s eclectic, socially engaged and sophisticated guests, hotels and chefs need to get creative, change their thinking and push back some walls – sometimes literally. The fun thing about meetings hotels is that they are a different place just about every week. One week we’re hosting a bridge tournament, the next a corporate sales team, or a dentists’ conference, or sci-fi fans in costumes, or cheerleaders jumping for joy. You name the group, and our hotel has probably welcomed them. Read on...

Elizabeth  Blau

Over the past several years, many of us have watched with excitement and interest as the fast-casual restaurant segment has continued to boom. More and more, talented chefs with fine dining pedigrees are bringing their skills, creativity, and experience to concepts built around speed, approachability, and volume. Right now, the ability to offer a gourmet experience at all price points is as compelling to restaurateurs and diners alike. Read on...

Coming Up In The September Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Hotel Group Meetings: Blue Skies Ahead
After a decade of sacrifice and struggle, it seems that hotels and meeting planners have every reason to be optimistic about the group meeting business going forward. By every industry benchmark and measure, 2017 is shaping up to be a record year, which means more meetings in more locations for more attendees. And though no one in the industry is complaining about this rosy outlook, the strong demand is increasing competition among meeting planners across the board – for the most desirable locations, for the best hotels, for the most creative experiences, for the most talented chefs, and for the best technology available. Because of this robust demand, hotels are in the driver’s seat and they are flexing their collective muscles. Even though over 100,000 new rooms were added last year, hotel rates are expected to rise by a minimum of 4.0%, and they are also charging fees on amenities that were often gratis in the past. In addition, hotels are offering shorter lead times on booking commitments, forcing planners to sign contracts earlier than in past years. Planners are having to work more quickly and to commit farther in advance to secure key properties. Planners are also having to meet increased attendee expectations. They no longer are content with a trade show and a few dinners; they want an experience. Planners need to find ways to create a meaningful experience to ensure that attendees walk away with an impactful memory. This kind of experiential learning can generate a deeper emotional connection, which can ultimately result in increased brand recognition, client retention, and incremental sales. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group business and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.