If you are 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 an ultra-luxurious Ritz-Carlton.
Our analyst was first sent to visit the Holiday Inn. The analyst had never visited this Holiday Inn before. He arrived at the airport and called the hotel to request a shuttle to pick him up. The GSA who took the call verified the analyst’s name and checked the reservation before sending over the driver. The hotel was only a few minutes from the airport so the analyst arrived a the hotel pretty quickly. As soon as the analyst walked into the lobby, the GSA greeted him with ‘welcome to the Holiday Inn, Mr. Smith’. Obviously, the GSA was really prepared. He logged the analyst’s name when he requested the shuttle so he knew to use it when he saw the shuttle drop off the analyst. Even though the analyst had never been to that hotel before, that initial 10 seconds really made the analyst feel like he was returning home. The GSA then conducted the check-in as he normally does by thanking the analyst for being a Priority Club member, telling the analyst about the hotel amenities, and then directing the analyst how to get to his room.
A few days later, our analyst was sent to the Ritz-Carlton. This was the first time the analyst visited this Ritz-Carlton. The analyst arrived at the hotel by car and pulled into valet parking. The analyst was immediately greeted by a valet attendant and welcomed to the hotel. The valet attendant asked the analyst if he was checking in and then asked him for his name. He wrote the analyst’s name on the valet ticket and had the bellman load up the luggage onto a bell cart. The valet attendant then told the analyst that he could enter the lobby to register and the luggage would be delivered and the car would be parked. As soon as the analyst entered the hotel, a GSA greeted him with ‘good afternoon, Mr. Smith’. The GSA was wearing an earpiece and was told by the valet attendant that Mr. Smith would be entering the lobby. Just like at the Holiday Inn, it is a truly amazing feeling to be welcomed to a hotel by name. It made the analyst feel like a celebrity. The Ritz-Carlton also repeated the experience at check out. The analyst called down to ask for a bellman to check out. When the analyst arrived at the lobby with the bellman, the GSA who never met the analyst before immediately greeted him by name. He was also tipped off by the radio so he knew that when a guest came down with the bellman that it was Mr. Smith.
How often does this type of service happen? Almost never. But I can promise you that if your hotel can achieve this level of service with your guests, you will have more repeat guests than you can imagine.