• Dylan Cottrill

A modern age hotelier’s skill; predicting guest expectations.

Updated: Dec 11, 2019

Hoteliers, like any dedicated professional, are always expanding their skills toolbox and when you’re in an ever-changing environment with industry disruptors arriving left, right and centre its always important to keep up to date with your self-improvement strategies. As Bradley explored in last week’s articles, luxury can be seen from five different perspectives. I believe we can extend this way of thinking to any guest experience, not only in a luxury environment but in any variety of hospitality. Guests perspectives can be understood as; how the guests see the value you are offering and the resulting expectation of those guests. So, as a hotelier, the goal is to interpret and understand guests' expectations and ultimately, predict them.

Bridging the gap - leadership

When we refer to predicting expectations, what we’re really talking about is being able to foresee how guests perceive their experience in your establishment and thus being able to implement strategies with the highest probability for success. One of the best ways to start this process is by bridging the gap between guests and employees, this means personalising the experience and creating a connection with the person on a human level. When you have created an environment where staff-guest relationships are frequently fostered, you unveil a plethora of information and data. This brings us to the tools at hand to utilise that information into workable data, which are in abundance in this – the age of advanced technology.

Tools, they are part of your toolbox, you use them to create, understand, measure and manipulate. In the case of hoteliers, your tools include the systems that help you to interpret what is happening within your establishment. Whether it be your point of sale, property management or reputation management system they all have the capability to provide you with the best possible data if you know how to use it. A great example of one such tool is Revinate, they are a marketing and customer relationship management company focused on the hospitality industry. The amazing part of this tool, and like the best out there, is that they present the data collected from guests in a digestible way. That makes your job as a hotelier much simpler, and that’s the amazing part of this day and age – the availability of technology.

Now that we have a personal connection with our guests and the technologies to harness and utilise data, we can look at putting the resulting resources to use. The key factor to consider at this point is whether the relationships and engagement with guests in your establishment are genuine and that staff members are actively listening to what the guests have to say. If the interactions are not genuine then the information gathered becomes vague – the relativity becomes distorted. If, however, the interactions are genuine it means that the data collected is trustworthy and relevant. Using my previous example, Revinate, the ability to interpret the information provided by the system will open new perspectives of your establishment. The tool shows you the important positive and negative sentiments and uses a text size and colour method to present the information based on importance and frequency mentioned. You can see an example of this below.

What this means for hoteliers is that with this new-found skill, you will be able to truly understand your establishment, staff and guests in a way you couldn’t before. The data brings you closer to creating the correct strategies for the correct situation, leading to positive impacts on guest satisfaction through catered service, increased staff satisfaction due to a more positive and connected environment and finally the positive influence all of these factors have on the profit margins of the establishment. Developing this skill will give you the ability to guide the guest journey to really hit every touchpoint in the most positive way possible, creating unmatched experiences consistently. You predict the expectation and then go above and beyond – catering to each guest as an individual. All it takes is the right integration of this concept into your business strategies, culture and processes.

Dylan Cottrill | LinkedIn

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