One of the sectors we help brands attract and retain happier customers in is the hospitality sector. It never ceases to amaze me how hotel brands and boutiques push the boundaries in customer experience.
I often think telecom, utility, financial service, retail and local government customer experience teams should run their strategy round tables and improvement workshops from hotels. It would give them a real sense of what level of customer experience their customers are experiencing when they are away from their brands. It would help them appreciate how their endeavours are often compared to brands in completely unrelated sectors and not just their industry peer group.
With this in mind, here are five examples of great customer experience from the world of hotels which consumers who consume from all the sectors mentioned above are experiencing as well. Some we’ve witnessed first-hand, others have been passed on to us by impressed travellers. But they are all great touches which help to create memorable experiences and advocates out of paying guests.
The Andaz Casual Check-in
Not a new idea, but a very impactful one. We stayed at Hyatt’s Andaz hotel in London. On arriving into the lobby we were approached by a greeter. Asked to sit in the comfortable lobby area by a greeter with a tablet to hand, complimentary coffee arrived and the greeter checked us in as we sat. On completion a concierge automatically arrived (no doubt triggered by the completion of the check-in transaction) and took our luggage. We then settled back and watched the world go by drinking our coffee. We ccouldn’thave felt more valued or welcomed. No wonder the hotel achieves a 91% rating and is in the top 5% of London hotels on Trip Advisor.
Premier Inn Family Proposition
This example proves you don’t need big budgets or luxury brands to deliver exceptional customer experience. Premier Inn demonstrate how you can repackage existing assets to meet customer’s needs better. The low cost hotel has introduced a most impressive proposition; the ‘silent please’ family ground floor. I stayed there with my family whilst visiting my brother in Staffordshire last year. We were put on the ground floor and asked to ‘Shhhhh’ between 7pm and 10am. Having stayed in hotels when our children were babies and been woken by guests not unreasonably chatting in the corridors at not unreasonable times, this idea is helpful when settling children for the night. But it was the lovely touch of an extra spy hole for children on the door which I felt added fun to the experience. It was something for the kids which proved a great novelty. A great and relatively low cost addition to reinforce their family appeal.
Conrad’s Sleep Academy
Whilst on the subject of sleeping, Conrad in Chicago has taken the humble pillow to a new level of consumer choice. Whilst some hotels offer a choice of ‘soft’ to ‘hard’ when you book or as you check in, Conrad has created its own Sleep Menu website with a range of sleep services for guests. Of course you can choose the pillow of your choice, but extras like ear plugs, quilt turn downs, night caps, lip menders, moisture lock socks and wake up calls have all been packaged under this fun proposition. Using services which any hotel could provide, plus a few more to be distinctive, the way it is presented creates a memorable experience which reinforces the attention to detail only associated with a brand like Conrad.
Ritz-Carlton Values Delivered
I am sure you’ve heard this one before, but it’s a compelling demonstration of what you can achieve when you set your customers satisfaction bar as high as creating “unique and memorable” experiences. Taken from Bloomberg Business Week, “One family staying at the Ritz-Carlton, Bali, had carried specialized eggs and milk for their son who suffered from food allergies. Upon arrival, they saw that the eggs had broken and the milk had soured. The Ritz-Carlton manager and dining staff searched the town but could not find the appropriate items. But the executive chef at this particular resort remembered a store in Singapore that sold them. He contacted his mother-in-law, and asked that she buy the products and fly to Bali to deliver them, which she agreed to do.”
Each day at around the world, employees from every department gather for a 15-minute meeting, known as a “lineup”, to review guest experiences, resolve issues, and discuss ways to improve service. Once basic housekeeping items are out of the way, the time is spent reinforcing the brands service values with employees using guest example storytelling to explain how they have delivered against them.
Hilton Double Tree’s Cookie Miracle
People have told me (more than once) that they choose Double Tree because they get a cookie! When you think how big an impressive a hotel building and the resources needed to run it are, it sounds ludicrous. But what matters to me as a guest, is not the same as what matters to the hotel always. The cookie represents the personal touch, it’s a gesture demonstrating care and consideration. Virtues a guest unknowingly extends to every aspect of the hotel because until they’ve experienced it they only have the cookie as evidence of it. As they put it, ‘there is something special about a warm, yummy chocolate chip cookie. It says “Welcome” in so many ways’. 25 years later and with an annual production run of 21 million cookies, it keeps delivering the values they wish to demonstrate better than any ad or promotion can.
These are 5 examples from one industry, but the sentiment of the examples can be shared and delivered across many others. If you’ve enjoyed this selection you might want to check out our 5 great automotive customer experience examples too.
Posted by Christopher Brooks
Lexden is a Customer Strategy Agency | We put customers at the start and the heart of the decision
We work with brands to attract and retain happy customers | We achieve this by helping them to understand what makes their customers tick, building memorable customer experience strategies and creating engaging customer value propositions.
If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to our monthly ‘Putting Customers First’ newsletter. Or for a discussion on how we may be able to help you, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on M: +44 (0) 7968 316548. You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.