USA Today: The hotel wake-up call gets personal

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According to the USA Today, wake-up calls are making a comeback.  From the article:

Here’s a wake-up call: The hotel front desk will do one better than ringing your phone in the morning. They’ll send an actual human being to your room.  Don’t worry. They won’t come in and kiss you good morning. But they might bring you coffee.  Never mind that most travelers nowadays have Smartphones with built-in alarm clocks. Hoteliers say the human wake-up call is a way to personalize a guest’s stay.

We agree and have really grown to love a great, personalized wake-up call.  Quite a few TrueGuest hotels do an outstanding job of placing a timely call, anticipating our needs, and giving us key information like today’s weather and breakfast schedule.  Our iPhones can’t do that yet!  Here are a few other great examples from the article: Continue reading

The Ultimate Arrival Experience in Action

welcome-matIf you our working hard on improving your guest welcome with our Guide to the Ultimate Arrival Experience, we wanted to share a few stories of the Ultimate Arrival Experience in action.  The great thing about these two stories is how they show how our Ultimate Arrival Experience will work for any hotel.  These two hotels were both visited by one of our mystery shoppers during the same week…  both took a similar approach to the arrival experience… but are very different hotels.  The first hotel was a budget friendly Holiday Inn, the second was a ultra-luxurious Ritz-Carlton.

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The Ultimate Arrival Experience

welcome-matMany hotels have valet service, bell service, and a good team at the front desk but still fail to provide a great arrival experience.The main problem is that the three teams do not work together as one team with the guest’s interest at heart.  While the valet attendant, the bellman, and the guest service agent may all do a great job individually, the guest sees the arrival as one experience and may be frustrated.

The solution is communication…  communication between associates and to the guest.  Here is how the ultimate arrival experience takes place:

A guest pulls up to the hotel and is immediately greeted by the valet attendant.The valet attendant welcomes the guest to the hotel and offers luggage assistance.  The valet attendant does the normal tasks such as filling out a luggage ticket and asking the guest his/her name.  The valet attendant loads up all of the luggage onto a bell cart and escorts the guest to the front entrance of the hotel.  The valet attendant is then ready to hand off the guest to the waiting bellman.

Here is where the first important communication is required.  The valet attendant should introduce the guest to the bellman and the bellman to the guest by saying something like “Mr. Smith, this is John.  He is going to assist you with the check in and then escort you up to your room”.  We also recommend that the valet attendant discretely hands the bellman a small card with the guest’s name on it.  Hopefully, the valet attendant got the guest name when the guest first pulled up.

Now the bellman can escort the guest to the front desk to check in.  Again, here is where communication is key.  The bellman should introduce the guest to the GSA and the GSA to the guest by saying something like “Hello Lisa, this is Mr. Smith.  He has a reservation for this evening.”  Again, the bellman can refer to the card the valet attendant gave him if the name is difficult.  Lisa can then handle the check in while the bellman waits off to the side.  Once the guest is checked in, the bellman is ready to escort the guest to the room.  The bellman can escort the guest to the room, tell the guest about the hotel’s amenities, and thank him/her for staying at the hotel.

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What’s in a Name?

nametagIn the time of internet shopping and easy price comparison, building loyalty is more important than ever.  If guests do not feel loyal towards your hotel, they will always pick a cheaper option.  Building loyalty is about creating an emotion connection between your guest and your hotel.  Using the guest’s name during every interaction is the most important step towards building that connection.

During our one night Service Experience Audit, there are over 15 different areas where we score the use of the guest’s name.  Every associate from the bellman to the breakfast server is expected to use the guest’s name.  Here are some tips to help you and your team use the guest’s name more often:

Does the guest have a name that you cannot pronounce and you are afraid to butcher?  Don’t worry.  Anyone who grew up with a name with 12 letters and no vowels has heard every possible attempt.  They will not be offended by yours.

Is the name on the room a male’s name but a female answers when you call?  Don’t assume that it is the wife.  Do a better job during the reservations and check in process to get the names of all of the guests in the room.  If you are still unsure, say ‘I’ll send 2 towels up to the Smith room right away’ instead of ‘I’ll send 2 towels to room 302’.

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Quit Ignoring My Guest Request!

ignoreWhen we evaluate new hotels for our overnight stay reports, more than 1 out of every 3 simple guest requests is completely ignored.  The analyst’s requests are simple things such as a toothbrush, more towels, or to have an engineer or bellman come up to the room.  The analyst will make the request and never hear from a hotel associate ever again.  Here are some simple do’s and don’ts to make sure your requests are handled perfectly:

Do require the guest service agent to log the request on a proper Guest Request Log

Don’t allow them to scribble the request on scrap paper, the back of their hand, or anything else but the log!

Do make sure the log has space for the GSA to log the following:  time of request, room number, guest name, item requested, teammate who handled the request, time request completed, and the time of the callback.

Do make every GSA log down every request on the guest request log.  If a guest requests a toothbrush or requests a room change, it must be on the log.

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