What The Hell Happened To The Hotel Customer Experience
For many Hotels, if they don’t start to rethink the Hotel Customer Experience some new innovative service will come in and totally change the rules that been played by for years.
A lot of this is caused by that many Hotels is slow to adapt to new marketing principles that today is dictated by the customer.
Just showing up will not cut it, if you believe just signing up for either Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Snapchat or Periscope will fix this then you are wrong.
10-15 years ago Hotels did not have to worry about Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media Channels. Heck, they did not even have to worry then about TripAdvisor. Guest would then typically share their experience with about 10-15 of their closest friends.
Today the average Facebook user has about 350 friends and the average Twitter user has about 208 followers. And Hotel guests will share their experience with their Social Networks. They can reach out to a large network in a very short time frame.
Why is this important to know?
Because today when a guest shares their experience it becomes like and asset where their Community takes ownership of the information. It doesn’t matter if friends or followers in their Community ever set a foot at your Hotel if the guest has a concern the community become part of the advocacy team that will push for a quick and fair resolution.
Hotels today is at the mercy of the guests Social Communities.
The guest’s value to your Hotel is driven by their experience. This means that each interaction, good or bad, a guest has impacted the way they view your Hotel. The experience is a cumulative impact of all their interactions and, in turn, determines their value.
Guests and customers are becoming increasingly demanding and vocal, so understanding their journey is more important than ever. But every Hotel is different so, as well as recognizing the complete journey, they need to enhance the journey through personalisation tools.
The difference between a real, improved Hotel customer experience and one that tries to just cover the basics is really the difference between constructing an experience out of your service and simply slapping on some kind of happy face.
I love what Daniel Newman said at Forbes “Social Media Is No Longer A Marketing Channel, It’s A Customer Experience Channel”.
The customer experience is about more than any one individual touch point – it’s about collecting and using data to enhance relationships and deliver value across the entire customer journey. In this solutions guide, we’ll help you dive into the world of customer experience best practices to help you gain more wins on the customer experience battleground.
“Customer Experience is the new battleground for companies that can no longer win customer loyalty based exclusively on product features (too easy to copy), selection (“I can always find an alternative product or service online”), or price (“At any given moment I can almost certainly find a lower price”). ~ Harley Manning of Forrester Research
Source: Datamentors Solution Guide – “Data-Driven Customer Experience: The New Battleground for Winning Loyal Customers”
The Customer Experience Journey
Today Hotels have the opportunity to make an impact on the Customer Experience in 3 stages;
- Customer Care
- Customer Service
- Customer Retention
Customer Care represents the front end, where it all is about creating enough awareness for the Hotel so the customer has enough information to make an educated booking decision. Customer Retention represents the back end, where Hotels want to be sure the two previous stages build upon each other so the customer will;
- come back
- refer Hotel to friends
- brings friends to Hotel
- friends refer Hotel to their friends
- customer and their friends bring a block of friends to Hotel
Customer Service is that art that balances these stages. The Hotel Service is not static, it is very dynamic.
We now live in the sharing economy and the context of Customer Experience is at totally different levels today. The customer might still do the surveys, forums and provide reviews via TripAdvisor. But Social Media is like an amplifier that will blow the roof of the Hotel.
We have to learn how to become Hospitality Performers in today’s sharing economy. Hotels need to start to introduce Performance seminars.
The mistake many brands make not only Hotels is that they focus on Social Media as the route of new growing concerns. Social Media did not create the concern, and it will not fix the concern. It still is the Hotels responsibility to handle concerns. Social Media is just providing a new voice to the concern, and if the Hotels doesn’t listen it will amplify the voice.
Your Hotels Community and Ambassadors will help you with the listening and awareness process. If you do them right they will be part of both the front end and back end processes that bring customers to your Hotel.
And your Hotels Ambassadors will help amplify your marketing messages when needed. Customer value optimization is an ongoing dynamic process.
Today’s customers are no longer loyal to a brand, but they are loyal to their communities. And the customer will follow the community. If the community tells there is a better option with the neighbor and you have not done anything to listen or communicate with them guess what they will move on.
Introduce the Hotel Performance
Start take ownership of the Hotel Customer Experience. Today it is a lot more than just a room with a bed. Lodging has covered the most primary needs like sleep, rest, shelter and safety. In the information age, we have to educate and inform.
The real power of Social Media is that you now have easy access to your Hotel Community. And your Hotels Ambassadors is acting more or less like they were actual team members. These are the people that will take your Hotel to the next level, and help you bring back the Hotel Customer Experience.
Social Media is that one thing your Hotel can outsource. Don’t get stuck with the notion “we don’t have the resources or the time”. Investing in Hotel Ambassadors can be very valuable for your Hotel. And they will help you build your Hotel Community, which is earned media not paid.
Start hiring your next Hotel Performer.
Have your Hotel taken charge of the NEW Hotel Customer Experience?
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