In order to differentiate your services and provide a unique experience for your guests, you first have to define or map out your “Guest Journey”. Think of Guest Journey as all the customer touch points where your staff can interact and add value with your customer.

It is recommended that you breakdown your Guest Journey/Consumer touch points into 6 parts as displayed on the left. Everything starts with “Booking” and chronologically move on to the next step (clockwise). The idea is that you must add value or a WOW factor in each of your touch points.

The best type of customer experience is one that is personalised. This means that the key success factor to delivering superior customer service comes from one factor; Customer Data. It is therefore essential for hotels to develop an operational procedure whereby customer data is collected. We need to be able to anticipate our guest’s needs before they even arrived to ensure that they would have everything they needed, and to prevent other unforeseen events. Here are some questions to ask your guests during booking process so that you can offer a personalised experience during “Check-in”.

a) Are you traveling for business or pleasure?

b) Do you need anything when you arrive in your room?

c) Do you have any dietary restrictions or preferences?

d) Would you like recommendations for nearby activities?

Based on the additional information we got during “Booking”, this valuable information can then be used to deliver personalized experiences for the rest of the stay. In the above case (4 questions), Hotels can send a booking confirmation email with the guest preferences letting them know they are using this information to make their stay pleasant and stress-free (guest will feel valued and understand that the questions asked is used to offer superior service for them).

When the guests check in, the front desk agent would confirm the guest preferences and have everything ready for them.

Below is an example of non personalised vs personalised experience:

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A final tip to think about is how to have a better Guest Communication Channel. When guest has something to ask, they want the answer immediately therefore it is crucial to have a communication platform where guest can contact you . Today, there are many Guest Texting platform whereby hotels can get in reach with the guest and vice versa. This is like a personal butler but done through mobile platform. The platform will allow guests to make dinner reservation, Spa appointments etc, via a reminding message at 3pm. This platform is further used to update guest of new promotional activities and a general update on the the local activities and what is currently in trend. Lastly, it is the easiest way for hotel to get a customer feedback through survey forms.

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The key success factor to differentiating guest experiences is being proactive and doing more than asked. Providing more than requested and extending efforts beyond what a normal customer expect is how service can be differentiated; all of this can only be done when you have more Customer Data.

By: Chawin Pilunthanakul

Credit: “Confessions Of a Hotel General Manager” Zingle Media 2018WWW.ZINGLE.ME