While conventional wisdom would suggest that, after putting our blog space on hiatus for the summer, now that we are well into September things could be considered “back to normal.” However, one needs only to look in one of so many different directions to know that this is anything but true.
As hospitality professionals, we spend a significant amount of time and money on the training and direction of our teams to provide guests with the finest in service and hospitality. Our goal is to keep our guests happy & satisfied so that they will return to us, continue to give us their business and sing our praises to their family & friends. Imagine the disconnect that occurs when our actions convey the exact opposite sentiment to our customers, flying in the face of the most basic principles of hospitality and business development. Everyone in every industry knows that good service, good value, and good product improve one’s chances of growing one’s business. So why are we sabotaging ourselves?
In the world of consumer products, the concept of “loyalty” has never been more important. From the inception of airline “frequent flyer” programs in the early 1970’s to today’s rewards programs for almost any product imaginable, the “loyalty” of customers towards products has never been more aggressively sought-after. The question is, what methods are we using to secure this loyalty and is it really working?
The question “how do we define hospitality?” should not be rhetorical. Whether we are Cocktail Servers or CEO’s, Accountants or Asset Managers, each of us has signed up for the hospitality industry and therefore the definition of hospitality must mean something significant to us. While there is a baseline definition of hospitality across our industry, sometimes we can lose sight of an honest definition of the term, and most importantly what this means to our guests.
Why do hotels insist on jumping on the fragrance bandwagon? In the never-ending quest for separation from the pack, numerous hotel brands and independent properties alike have enacted what is referred to as “Scent Branding;” that is, the creation of a proprietary scent to be circulated throughout one’s hotel properties. But should we really be imposing something as personal as a scent at the expense of guest satisfaction?
It’s nearly impossible today to read about the hotel industry without reference being made to the relentless advance of technology and its impact on what we do. Many of these new apps, new amenities, new services are being made available to ourselves and to our customers in the specific hope of increasing loyalty, and thereby increasing business levels. While nearly all of this is good, it may be stretching things to assume that all technological improvements benefit the hospitality industry simply because they exist.
In so many instances, consumers are asked to bear the brunt of strategic decisions made by brands despite the obvious flaws in these decisions. It’s no secret that the hotel industry is no different. We have openly adopted an approach that involves imposing various fees on our customers in an attempt to recover revenue and profit that may have deteriorated for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons include increased competition, downward trends in market performance, etc. And while no one can deny the math, (reflecting huge fee revenues being earned), what seems to have been completely forgotten in this equation is the customer’s expectation of value.