There is a particular resort hotel that I have stayed at nearly a dozen times. It’s a very nice property with great amenities and a great location. However, each time I check into the hotel the front desk agent asks if this is my first visit to their property. Each time this happens, my excitement for the stay is diminished by the lack of recognition.
Hotel guests today are looking for a personalized experience. They want to be recognized upon arrival. They want a seamless cross-property experience, unique to their needs and interests. Guests want to receive offers and services that are relevant to their unique preferences. After all, they provide the data during the reservation process so they’d prefer that the hotel utilizes that information.
With the growing use of big data and customization of experiences across many different facets of everyday life, consumers today welcome personalized experiences. In fact, personalization provides a key experience differentiator for hotels and resorts. Attention to these personal details as well as guest-centric service delivery presents the pathway to guest loyalty and repeat visits.
The first step is to allow guests to customize their stay. Honor room or view preferences. Record notes during the reservation process about special celebrations (and offer online bookings the ability to provide these sort of comments) and then ensure that these notes are part of your operational process. Success is being able to welcome a returning guest, wish them a happy anniversary at check-in and provide a bottle of champagne in their room.
The next step is to recognize each guest as an individual and each stay as an original, one-of-a-kind, experience. Whether the guest is a business traveler or someone attending a family reunion, paying attention to the personal details and creating a connection with the guest leads to repeat business. The business traveler may return with her extended family for a leisure trip. The family reunion attendee may refer the property for an upcoming corporate meeting.
Resorts that can create a seamless itinerary for their guest can benefit dramatically from this personalized approach. Simply eliminating repetition of personal data during the reservation process is the first step toward true customer recognition. Then, showcasing that integration across the resort through service delivery provides a sure way to “wow” guests and bring return visits.
Guests are looking to connect with your hotel or resort. Use the tools you have readily available, such as data flow across your resort property management system, technology integration and staff training to provide a highly guest-centric, personalized experience and intimate connection.
If a guest provides personal information and preferences, the expectation is that resort staff has access to that information and knows about it. Disappointment occurs when it becomes clear that the staff is not prepared. Conversely, when the staff actions on the preferences provided to provide personal service, that service is then regarded as exceptional.
Although personalized service is not a new concept in the hospitality industry, the continued evolution of technology and training creates new opportunities to more effectively personalize the guest experience every day. As consumers continue to experience custom and personal experiences in other aspects of their daily life, they will have similar expectations of service at hotels and resorts – regardless of market segment or chain scale. By making personalized guest service part of your operational plan you can differentiate your guest’s experience, create deeper connections and much greater guest loyalty.
SMS|Host offers many tools for personalizing a guest’s stay. Please contact us to learn more about how your property technology can enable you to offer personalized guest service.