Some thoughts on pre-guest service, the human touch, and iron-clad security.
The ideal hotel is a place of comfort and safety for its guests. It's a home away from home, a place to relax, do business, or have fun. If you're a manager, taking care of customer service is a multi-layered responsibility. Failure to take the proper precautions can lead to serious consequences for your guests and damage to your reputation.
In the digital age, it doesn't really matter how big or small a problem is. Disgruntled guests can make a mountain out of a molehill in the form of bad reviews. To maximize the visitor experience, you'll want to have every base covered. From common sense steps to an emphasis on the ever-more vital service of guest security, here are some key ways for managers and staff to perfect their hospitality.
Make yourself easy to find
Social media helps a hotel get themselves on the map. The public is looking for this ease of service in large numbers: 88% of adults prefer booking online with a hotel than by any other means. It's a golden opportunity to serve the public before they even become guests; showcasing who you are and what you can do to make their stay a good one. Optimizing your website increases your chances of cutting through the crowd to top the search results, allowing you to offer this first step inconvenience.
Social media also offers a great and dynamic forum to interact with guests and respond immediately to their praise, criticisms, or questions.
Personalize a stay at your hotel
Some hotels really mean it when it comes to the human touch. While a literally hands-on approach might not work for every establishment, a meaningful connection with your visitors is always a must.
From the moment your guests enter the premises to the moment they leave, make sure there's a friendly face ready to welcome them and wave goodbye. Ask each guest if you can be of any assistance or if they have any preferences or special requirements for their stay. Regardless of a yes or no, always follow up and see if their needs have been met or if they've changed their minds.
Train a top-level team
A pleasant, informed, and the well-dressed staff is the cornerstone of your hotel, and the face of your company culture. Beyond their qualifications, staff must have natural and intuitive people skills. The old adage of the customer always being right is right. The ability to see things from their point of view is the first skill in good customer service.
This dedication to attentive and considerate service isn't just the responsibility of the front desk. Every member of staff should be trained in projecting their very best, which creates a uniformity of excellence throughout the entire model. Well-trained employees will be able to assist guests in key ways, regardless of their position at the hotel.
Guest security is a vital service
The best way to serve your customers is to limit the number of concerns or complaints they may have before they happen. When they stay with you, the first service they expect is to have a secure stay.
You can't afford to forget that your hotel extends beyond doors, windows, and walls. You're responsible for their valuable personal information including (but not limited to) names, addresses, and banking details. More than half of all credit card fraud occurs in the hospitality industry, with particular weaknesses for hotels worldwide being poorly defended data storage networks and lack of sufficient encryption at Point of Sale (POS).
The serious impact of poor cybersecurity is only worsening as the world becomes more dependent on technology. As this sobering article demonstrates, it doesn't matter if you're among the biggest in the business: you must treat cyber threats with the utmost gravity.
Installing antivirus and malware protection software is a minimum and necessary step toward protecting your hotel's cybersecurity. Your POS has to be looking after your customers too by safely dealing with their credit card information and being PCI compliant.
Open your doors for the right people.
Door locks are thankfully more complex than ever, but nothing is foolproof. Make sure access cards are keyed to open the right rooms for the right people. Resetting guest card codes after checkout is a strong idea (or at least deactivate them until they are reissued).
As for the other areas of your hotel reserved for staff, you must ensure that only the appropriate personnel can access sensitive areas. Be diligent in implementing one of the many forms of access control throughout your operation.
Prioritize staff training in security
Your staff is the lynchpin of your whole security operation. Even the best digital security can let you down, but a properly trained and alert team won't. Your team can be attentive regarding suspicious individuals or items on the premises. They can be a visible deterrent against such things if they are seen to be vigilant.
Teaching your team the basics like verifying visitor ID, confirming identities of residents when dealing with questions, and knowing how to react in a risky situation will pay off.
Modern hotel hospitality is a blend of the classic attitudes of professionalism and customer priority, coupled with the integration of social media and awareness of the digital frontier. As technology moves on rapidly, it offers hotels fresh and immediate ways to serves guest and potential guests, building relationships along the way. Cyberspace also offers its share of threats for hotel guests; threats which tech-savvy hotels can address and eliminate.
The Beachwood Custom team has been immersed in the hospitality industry since 1992. Our passion is providing bespoke service to three to five-star hotel customers, serving our clients with a combined 100+ years of international experience. If you'd like to know more about our service, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with us via our contact form.