Guest experience should be at the top of your hospitality priority list. According to Blake Morgan, in her book The Customer of the Future, how we make people feel has a significant impact on their perception of us. Moreover, today's customers prefer to interact with companies that make their lives easier and better.
Focus on Guest Experience and Happiness
In fact, research suggests that people find more lasting happiness from investing in experiences than in buying things. A "guest experience mindset" occurs when every decision the company makes is based on what is best for the customer. Amazon's Jeff Bezos recognized the importance of this when he stated, "If we start to focus on ourselves, instead of focusing on our customers, it will be the beginning of the end." Thus, the guest should be at the heart of everything your B&B inn does.
5 Qualities of Guest Experience Focused Leader
- Energy for influencing change: positive attitude, genuine, high standards, efficient, motivated, caring, organized, and effective communication
- Neighborly: listening, approachable, flexible, humble, showing empathy, going the extra mile
- Good judgment: sound decision making, forward thinking, strategic, inspiring greatness in others
- Problem solving: creativity, innovation, clever solutions
- Consistent say/do ratio: transparent, honest, trustworthy, committed, integrity
A Zero-Friction Customer Experience
According to the book, your goal should be a zero-friction customer experience for your guests. Companies succeed when they figure out efficient ways to solve common problems. For instance, focus on how you can continue to create a more seamlessly efficient process. These means accommodating the needs of your guests, solving their problems, and asking questions to determine ways to overcome challenges.
When guests first enter your accommodations, make sure their experience is pleasant. In addition, identify the added services you can create to make their stay even more attractive as well as to encourage return visits.
Stays Should Be Meaningful and Memorable
The hospitality industry is changing quickly. Therefore, accommodation providers should make a traveler's stay both more meaningful and more memorable. According to Sharon Cohen, Vice-President of the Fairmont Hotels Brand, they ask two fundamental questions:
- What are our guests telling us?
- What needs have yet to be articulated?
Role of Technology in the Guest Experience
Of course, technology is an important asset in helping to bring the guest experience mindset to life. Chief Experience and Innovation Officer, John Padgett, designed magic bands for guests of Carnival Cruise Lines' Ocean Medallion. Moreover, this includes 7,000 sensors and 4,000 digital interaction points.
The magic bands track passengers' movements on the ship (helps them locate loved ones); makes personalized recommendations of what to eat and do; lets passengers charge purchases throughout their time aboard; allows guests to lock and unlock rooms, turn lights on and off, adjust room temperatures; and much more. Thus, this provides a more seamless guest experience.
Customer Feedback and Personalization
It makes sense that customer feedback is critical to finding out what your customers like and want from you. In fact, studies show that guests would gladly give up some data to a trusted company in exchange for a desirable customer experience. According to author Blake Morgan, "personalization" allows businesses to treat their guests more like people and less like wallets. The key is to focus on guests, designing great experiences specific to their needs, and telling amazing stories about them.
Measurements Lead to Better Decisions
However, if you can't measure something, you can't improve it. That's why analytics is so important. Analytics is the discovery, interpretation, and communication of meaningful patterns of data, and the process of applying those patterns toward effective decision making.
The Customer of the Future book describes "customer centricity" as focusing on a small group of your most valuable clients and surrounding them with relevant options. In other words, find your best customers. Then, look for ways to expand your relationship with them. Analytics helps companies to be better listeners, provide more relevant experiences, and be where their guests need them. What does the information you have about your guests tell you?
Real-Time Offers and Customer Loyalty
This book asks what real-time offers can you make your customer? How can you better meet your guests' needs throughout their experience? They recommend that businesses create special programs for their most loyal customers. How could you apply this to your hospitality business? What program could you develop for your biggest fans? For example, perhaps you can create an incentive program for frequent stays and guest referrals.
Guest Journeys and Customized Communication
Think about your guests' journey and the relevance of your communications with them. Why are they coming? What is their story? How can you give them a better guest experience? According to Blake Morgan, there is no one definition for customer experience and no "one-size-fits all" approach. Thus, we must be looking for ways to connect with our guests in a more personal way. In conclusion, companies that create an amazing guest experience make it their intention to do so.
Top Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography