How To Surprise and Delight Your Guests

To delight your guests, hospitality providers must tell stories. Let’s focus on The Laws of Brand Storytelling: Win–and Keep–Your Customers’ Hearts and Minds, a book by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio.

According to the authors, branding is about extraordinary customer service. A brand is the sum of interactions (real and perceived) that a person has with a company across all touch points.

Know Your Purpose

It’s vital for businesses to answer the following purpose questions:

  • Why does your brand exist?
  • What does your brand stand for?
  • What’s the culture you want to nurture?
  • How do you define your brand values?

Identify What Makes You Different

It’s also critical to know what makes your company unique:

  • How do you solve guests’ problems?
  • In what ways do you fulfill guests’ needs and wants?
  • How do you add value to your guests’ lives?
  • In what ways do you create positive customer experiences?
  • What differentiates you from others in your industry?

Understand Your Audience

Walter and Gioglio state that social media is a 24/7 real-time focus group.

  • What channels do your guests spend time on?
  • Where do they provide feedback or make requests?
  • Exactly what are their most frequently asked questions (FAQs)?
  • What are their top likes, dislikes, and requests?
  • Which are the top performing pages on our website?
  • What Google search terms bring the most traffic to your website?

Be Useful and Helpful

Provide potential guests with something useful while delivering your marketing messages.

  • What is something that would make your guests’ lives easier?
  • How can you serve your guests AND fulfill your mission?
  • Do you care about serving others (more than earning their business)?

Be Prompt and Careful

Did you know that social media surpasses phone AND email as the FIRST place people turn to when they have an issue with a product or service? We must acknowledge complaints promptly. Be genuine in your apologies. Personalize your interactions wherever possible. Act on the complaint and resolve all issues.

Surprise and Delight

In digital marketer Eric Tung’s tweet he asked, “Ever wonder if companies read those extra request boxes? @GrandHyattSD does! #CustomerService”. He was pleased when the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego surprised him with a chocolate bar and a sketch of a pickle (per his unusual request).

The story gets even more interesting. He was “floored” when a different hotel chain all the way in Florida, aware of his experience in San Diego, left a surprise for him as well. Eric tweeted, “@ResidenceAmelia may have one-upped @GrandHyattSD. They left this in my room!”

The Residence Amelia responded on Twitter, “No one-upping here–we were just inspired by them! Always <3 seeing great hospitality provided. #differentlogosameteam.” The Residence Amelia’s reaction was appreciative of another company because they recognized their shared goal of providing great hospitality to their respective guests.

Focus On Your Guests

In the last chapter of their book on brand storytelling, Walter and Gioglio clearly explain to readers, “It’s not about you–it’s about THEM!” For that reason, create stories your audience can relate to. Moreover, make your customer the hero. Ultimately, be human in everything you do. Brand storytelling is an impression you create at every single touch point of the customer experience journey.

Top Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

 

About the author 

Kristi Dement

Tapping into her love of hospitality & accommodations, as well as her talent for marketing, Kristi started Bed and Breakfast Blogging in November of 2013. She loves helping owners of B&B inns & other properties become more effective with their marketing. She is a member of the Association of Lodging Professionals. 

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