Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
Steven Ferry
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Brand Butler: Infusing the Butler Mindset into Brands
  • Butlers first began to appear in hotels a quarter of a century ago. However, they have been in service for a millennium and have become synonymous with the highest level of service to employers and guests alike. How butlers reached such giddy heights is not the subject of this article, but how their standards of service are being recognized and adopted as the most important consumer trend in 2010 is what you will find in the following few paragraphs. High-end hospitality providers and those who care to provide superior service will recognize their own standards being validated, and it is to them this article is dedicated. Read on...

Roberta Nedry
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Insensitive Words Can Create Sensitive Guests
  • Sticks and Stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me…unless the words hurt my experience and make me mad! The first part of this classic phrase, usually introduced to young children, teaches us to be tough and not easily offended by what others say. However, using or choosing the wrong words or even a single word in communicating with any guest, customer or client can disrupt service delivery, even though the intentions may be good. Read on...

Steven Ferry
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • The Hotel Butler - Recognizing the Value Butlers Bring to the Bottom Line
  • In an industry that is completely premised on the idea of service, and in which service is a key differentiator, it's a no-brainer to institute butler service. Butlers have always represented the pinnacle in service quality. After the initial required training, the running of a butler service is not much more expensive to provide than regular service, yet it allows rack rates to be raised and creates a loyal following of repeat visitors, as well as enhancing word of mouth and thus new business that make the investment most sound. Instituting butler service can be done gradually, perhaps instituting it on one floor, and at not such a great cost, especially when considering the return on investment. Fifteen rooms can be well serviced by four butlers on three shifts, for instance, with one of them assigned as Head butler. If service is to be 24-hour, then a fifth butler would be needed. Assuming an owner or manager decides to institute butler service, the next question is, "How?" Read on...

Steven Ferry
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Spa Butlers: Adding Value to Spas and Hotels Alike
  • For spa directors in hotels and resorts offering spa services, there is the constant pressure to excel even further and so differentiate themselves in the minds of their guests; to find compelling ways to entice guests to return when there are many other venues for them to choose from. The same could be said of the butler service offered by many such hotels and resorts. Both programs add value and prestige, but is there a way to improve these service offerings? The short answer is, "Yes!" Read on...

Steven Belmonte
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Why Customer Service Is Still King
  • We all know the first rule of thumb for survival in the service industry is "customer service is king'; and we have heard the complaints lately about how it's deteriorating at rapid speed. Most companies are finally realizing that cost-cutting methods may work in the short run (i.e. automated phone messages as opposed to a live person on the other end to take calls), but they tend to fail in maintaining customer loyalty in the long run. We've been there, done that, and learned from it. But what's not really being addressed is the customer service that takes place within the corporate office. Read on...

Steven Ferry
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • So What Is a Butler, Anyway?
  • Rare is the week that goes by without word of some upscale hotel offering butler service as a way to improve service and retain or gain that coveted 5-star or diamond status. That's as it should be. But then consider the story broken recently by the Wall Street Journal of industry veteran Horst Schulze's declaration that he intends to establish a line of hotels with a six-star rating. What does he specify as the criteria for such an august label? Private swimming pools. And personal butlers. It seems butlers are really not just for the wealthy in their private estates, but also for their convenience when they travel. So, in providing butler service, a pertinent question might be "What exactly is a butler?" Or more to the point, "What are butlers in a hotel setting?" Read on...

Roberta Nedry
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Nervous Service
  • Nervous Service! Call it shaky, call it uneasy, call it anxious, high-strung, sensitive or walking on pins and needles. These kinds of service experiences make the guest want to TWIST and SHOUT!!! What happens when employees are so focused on their duties, so concerned about management's expectations, so worried about letting co-workers down? Nervous service can bumble the job! Walking the line between expectations and service delivery can be challenging. How can employees better understand the seamless delivery of service and how they can have fun doing it without the jitters? Can hotels and hospitality organizations "work it on out"? Read on...

John Ely
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • How to Effectively Communicate and Manage Multiple Generations
  • I am a Baby Boomer. I manage a staff of Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials, and work with a set of Traditionalists. I think you see where I'm going here. As you might imagine, I have little or no trouble relating to the other Boomers on my staff, however, when it come to the Gen Xers and especially the Millennials, let's just say that I can sometimes be "out of touch." Being a marketer, my first line of defense is research when faced with an issue, and relating to, managing and working with a multigenerational workforce was just such an issue for me. Last year I started a research project to better understand all of these different generations. Some of the results were expected, and some were not, but it was amazing how people of those generational groups behave alike, have similar expectations (especially when it comes to customer service) and have comparable learning styles. Hopefully, my findings will help you in managing your own multigenerational teams. Read on...

Roberta Nedry
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • The Hotel Workforce: 'One Bad Apple'
  • Good old Johnny Appleseed! This is his time of year, with peak apple season from September to November. How would Mr. Appleseed have felt if any of the seeds he planted turned into trees with rotten apples? How do hotel leaders feel when employees they have selected, trained and groomed change from positive to negative? Will they end up damaging the rest of the crop of employees as well as guests? It's amazing how one rotten apple can spoil the whole bunch if not removed. How do hotels and hospitality organizations handle those employees or even managers who taint the others? Read on...

Roberta Nedry
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • The Gestures of Service
  • PLEASE light my candle! All the other table candles in the restaurant were lit, except ours. The time was twilight and we had a water view from our table. PERFECT timing for a lit candle. Our nice setting quickly became an incomplete experience. None of the waiters or waitresses noticed nor could we get their attention until several minutes later. Why use the space for a candle that only sits in darkness? We were disappointed that this little gesture was an oversight and a detail that did not seem important. Big service opportunities come in little service gestures. Little efforts can score big with guests. Those hotels and resorts that do take the time to invest thought and effort in the smaller moments and gestures will score big in the overall guest experience. Read on...

Roberta Nedry
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Service by Mail: Define the Promise and Deliver It!
  • Consider any one of the beautiful colorful postcards that arrive in guest mailboxes, showing new resorts and promising relaxing, memorable experiences. The mailer arouses the guest's curiosity and they call to learn more. The first person who answers the phone is not familiar with the mailing but knows enough to take the reservation. As the guest asks more questions about this new property, they get polite, standard answers that technically fill those guests' needs (restaurants, room profiles, property features, etc). However, they don't get the feeling, the ambiance or the excitement that the mailer was able to communicate with a picture and a few simple words. Those intangible qualities, the promise of service and the possibility of a new, memorable experience are what motivate guests. Now that guest is confused. Which source is to be believed more...the mailer or the person? Will guests get what they really want when they get there? Read on...

Roberta Nedry
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Having Reservations About Central Reservations?
  • When calling hotels and other hospitality organizations about making reservations, guests are often switched over to central reservations. Call centers become essential to managing call volume and efficiently plugging guests in to the appropriate locations. However, without proper training and information, that's where the disconnection can begin. How do off property call centers maintain the service connection and ensure a seamless introduction to the experience which guests' expect? If, as they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression, what training and direction towards the quality of that impression at the reservations center level can be most important ? Read on...

Roberta Nedry
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Today's Concierge - A Role Model of Service Excellence and Profitability
  • Concierge... the word appears almost everywhere these days as the ultimate symbol of personal service. No longer only the domain of the hotel lobby, the word "concierge" is appearing across all industries as an individual, whole departments and even virtual functions. When "googling" in the word "concierge" for an internet search, almost four and a half million choices appear. This is more than double the two million results of the same search done last year. The profession is hot and the demand is extraordinary. Consumers and guests are driving these increasing numbers with a frenzied desire for more personal service. At the same time, organizations are scrambling to convince a skeptical public that the personal touch still exists. They plug in the word "concierge" with hopes that the public will symbolically appreciate the effort yet many simply use the word or hire an individual without the essence and skills of the professional concierge. The ability to truly deliver exceptional service does not automatically appear by simply adding the word concierge. Organizations that hire properly trained, professional concierges will see significant impact to the bottom line and guest/customer satisfactions levels will soar. Read on...

Roberta Nedry
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Lip Service Versus Guest Service
  • "I know you believe you understand what you think I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." Confused yet? Your guests probably are. Are your employees communicating what they want to say or what they want to hear? Are they really paying attention to guest needs and do they know how? Are they truly listening and then responding directly to expectations? For that matter, are they setting up expectations up properly? Take a close look at how communication can conquer or concave on a guest. Actions may speak louder than words but the words can play a big role in guest service outcomes. Read on...

Roberta Nedry
  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?... How to Handle a Hurricane
  • "Windy weather, windy weather, when the wind blows, we all come together." The wind really blew in Florida during Hurricanes Charley, Ivan, Frances and Jeanne and this simple children's rhyme represents how Florida's hospitality industry responded. Faced with an unusually intense onslaught of this weather phenomenon throughout the whole month of September, the hospitality industry was forced to respond and react, prepare and respond, react and prepare, as each Hurricane seemed to target Florida with a vengeance. What happens to service during a natural disaster or threat or a surprise power loss of extended duration? How do hospitality leaders prepare their employees to deal with impending challenges and what happens to guests who drew the unexpected shorter straw in terms of the timing of their trips? How do hotels in particular prepare, react and respond? Are new policies and procedures put into place or are existing ones modified? How does a hotel ensure the safety of guests while still preserving some type of favorable memory? Does service still play a role and if so, what shape does it take and how are employees prepared to implement revised service scenarios? Do you have a "disaster service plan" in place? Read on...

OCTOBER: Revenue Management: Technology and Big Data

Gary Isenberg

Hotel room night inventory is the hotel industry’s most precious commodity. Hotel revenue management has evolved into a complex and fragmented process. Today’s onsite revenue manager is influenced greatly by four competing forces, each armed with their own set of revenue goals and objectives -- as if there are virtually four individual revenue managers, each with its own distinct interests. So many divergent purposes oftentimes leading to conflicts that, if left unchecked, can significantly damper hotel revenues and profits. Read on...

Jon Higbie

For years, hotels have housed their Revenue Management systems on their premises. This was possible because data sets were huge but manageable, and required large but not overwhelming amounts of computing power. However, these on-premise systems are a thing of the past. In the era of Big Data, the cost of building and maintaining an extensive computing infrastructure is incredibly expensive. The solution – cloud computing. The cloud allows hotels to create innovative Revenue Management applications that deliver revenue uplift and customized guest experiences. Without the cloud, hotels risk remaining handcuffed to their current Revenue Management solutions – and falling behind competitors. Read on...

Jenna Smith

You do not have to be a hospitality professional to recognize the influx and impact of new technologies in the hotel industry. Guests are becoming familiar with using virtual room keys on their smartphones to check in, and online resources like review sites and online travel agencies (OTAs) continue to shape the way consumers make decisions and book rooms. Behind the scenes, sales and marketing professionals are using new tools to communicate with guests, enhance operational efficiencies, and improve service by addressing guests’ needs and solving problems quickly and with a minimum of disruption. Read on...

Yatish Nathraj

Technology is becoming an ever more growing part of the hospitality industry and it has helped us increase efficiency for guest check-inn, simplified the night audit process and now has the opportunity to increase our revenue production. These systems need hands on calibration to ensure they are optimized for your operations. As a manager you need to understand how these systems work and what kind of return on investment your business is getting. Although some of these systems maybe mistaken as a “set it and forget it” product, these highly sophisticated tools need local expert like you and your team to analysis the data it gives you and input new data requirements. Read on...

Coming Up In The November Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Architecture & Design: Authentic, Interactive and Immersive
If there is one dominant trend in the field of hotel architecture and design, it’s that travelers are demanding authentic, immersive and interactive experiences. This is especially true for Millennials but Baby Boomers are seeking out meaningful experiences as well. As a result, the development of immersive travel experiences - winery resorts, culinary resorts, resorts geared toward specific sports enthusiasts - will continue to expand. Another kind of immersive experience is an urban resort – one that provides all the elements you'd expect in a luxury resort, but urbanized. The urban resort hotel is designed as a staging area where the city itself provides all the amenities, and the hotel functions as a kind of sophisticated concierge service. Another trend is a re-thinking of the hotel lobby, which has evolved into an active social hub with flexible spaces for work and play, featuring cafe?s, bars, libraries, computer stations, game rooms, and more. The goal is to make this area as interactive as possible and to bring people together, making the space less of a traditional hotel lobby and more of a contemporary gathering place. This emphasis on the lobby has also had an associated effect on the size of hotel rooms – they are getting smaller. Since most activities are designed to take place in the lobby, there is less time spent in rooms which justifies their smaller design. Finally, the wellness and ecology movements are also having a major impact on design. The industry is actively adopting standards so that new structures are not only environmentally sustainable, but also promote optimum health and well- being for the travelers who will inhabit them. These are a few of the current trends in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.