The Loyalty Principles: Gain and Retain Guests through Best Practices in Customer Service and Engagement

By Judy Christa-Cathey VP Global Brand Marketing Hampton Hotels & Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Worldwide | April 08, 2012

In today's competitive marketplace, building a personal and customized relationship between your brand and your guests can make the important difference between one-time stays and a group of deeply loyal customers who drive increased revenue and profitability for your business.

At Hilton Garden Inn (HGI), we strive to set our guests up for success in both their professional and personal lives. We are a brand built on dependability and integrity, and we want to ensure that our guests feel like they're taken care of, whether they're traveling domestically, internationally, for business or for pleasure. We understand that the guest experience is a core factor in differentiating your brand in a competitive marketplace and we believe the following principles are essential to customer engagement and retaining loyal, satisfied guests.

Principle 1: You're only as Strong as Your Weakest Link

Most brands in the hospitality world know that to be successful with client service, you need to have a strong support staff that can act responsibility and quickly at any guest's request. As the old cliche warns "you're only as strong as your weakest link," it is extremely important to create a solid employee training program from the start that's rooted in the customer experience. A new employee orientation should not only focus on the typical day-to-day routine, but should include best practices and interactive role-plays to help train the employee for any guest service situations that may arise.

Employee training does not (and should not) conclude after his or her first day, week or month on the job. Whether it means attending industry conferences, bringing in a trainer or having employees sit down with managers one-on-one, continuous education benefits all levels of employees from the most senior-level manager to the newest, most inexperienced team member. It is essential that your training evolves, especially if your brand is rolling out a new program or initiative, in order to handle any issues that may arise from a practical business or a customer service standpoint.

Many of our most successful properties have established deeply loyal customers due to the personal interactions customers have with staff members they encounter during their stays. It is important to remember that simple, thoughtful gestures go a long way with customers so empowering your staff to go the extra mile will make all the difference.

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Coming up in December 2018...

Hotel Law: New Administration - New Policies

In a business as large as a hotel and in a field as broad as the law, there are innumerable legal issues which affect every area of a hotel's operation. For a hotel, the primary legal focus includes their restaurant, bar, meeting, convention and spa areas of their business, as well as employee relations. Hotels are also expected to protect their guests from criminal harm and to ensure the confidentiality of their personal identity information. These are a few of the daily legal matters hotels are concerned with, but on a national scale, there are also a number of pressing issues that the industry at large must address. For example, with a new presidential administration, there could be new policies on minimum wage and overtime rules, and a revised standard for determining joint employer status. There could also be legal issues surrounding new immigration policies like the H-2B guest-worker program (used by some hotels and resorts for seasonal staffing), as well as the uncertain legal status of some employees who fall under the DACA program. There are also major legal implications surrounding the online gaming industry. With the growing popularity of internet gambling and daily fantasy sports betting, more traditional resort casinos are also seeking the legal right to offer online gambling. Finally, the legal status of home-sharing companies like Airbnb continues to make news. Local jurisdictions are still trying to determine how to regulate the short-term apartment rental market, and the outcome will have consequences for the hotel industry. The December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine these and other critical issues pertaining to hotel law and how some companies are adapting to them.