• Drink less coffee and more water
• Move to Pretoria and get a proper office
• Take more time to smell the rain, hear the birds and see the rainbow
• Spend more quality time with friends who matter most
• Host at least one social media workshop per quarter for small businesses in the Gauteng region
• Sign another hotel group to Travelling Mystery Guest’s customer journey evaluation program
• Sign another restaurant group to our customer journey evaluation program
• Assist hotels, guesthouses and restaurants with the training of their staff regarding communication skills
• Start working on Travelling Mystery Guest’s first e-book
• See another part of the country that I have not seen before
• Get some extra hands to help out at the office
We’ve gathered a few ideas for you to make sure your guests feel welcome at your destination this Christmas:
• Serve them welcome drinks like these Christmas Cranberry Mojitos
• Take a photo of your guests on arrival and use it to make them a personalized Christmas card which you can leave in their room on Christmas eve.
• Serve Christmas themed biscuits with your coffee this Festive Season.
Christmas themed biscuits
• Wrap a few children’s books and put them under the Christmas tree. Invite your guests’ kids to choose a book to open on Christmas eve, which they can take to their rooms and read it to their family.
• Use this recipe to make your kitchen smell like Christmas and have your guests experience a merry Christmas at a home away from home: Cinnamon Spice Simmer
• Give each guest a jar of your homemade Christmas Jam. Click through on this example of a recipe to use: Christmas Jam.
So, we’ve given you our thoughts and observations from 2014 and today we’d like to share some of our hospitality tips for 2015 with you:
1. According to a report by Deloitte, China and India will continue to be the key hospitality markets to cater for in 2015.
2. Understand your “customer’s journey” very well. This will assist you to know what customers need or want.
3. Get to know your customers in order for you to be able to serve them what they want the next time around. If you have a guest who comes down to the bar every evening and orders a Coke, tomorrow you will be able to take out the Coke and serve it to him as he sits down. He wouldn’t even have to ask for it.
4. Couple your service with an experience. Most customers, these days, like to have an experience wherever they go. Even a small trick with a napkin might have them in awe.
5. See what you can do to couple your service with cycling this year. This sport has increased tremendously, allowing for some great tourism and marketing opportunities.
6. Peer2Peer dining is an interesting trend that has emerged overseas which might not be a bad idea if implemented correctly.
7. You’ve got to be mobile. With wearable technological devices increasing, there is no turning back on this anymore. Hotel groups like Marriot, Hyatt and Hilton are currently working with companies like Checkmate to develop this mobile service even further, which means mobile is now a necessity in the hospitality industry.
8. According to a poll done for the Hotels.com mobile app, tourists upload holiday photos within ten minutes of arriving at a destination. Ignite Hospitality refers to them as “Braggies” and let’s face it, the “selfie” is here to stay. Keep in mind that people will be taking selfies at your destination too and they would want to link and share it with you. Be sure to be on social media!
9. Social Wi-Fi will be a trend in 2015, moving away from the original Wi-Fi login process, customers will now rather be encouraged to log onto destinations’ Wi-Fi through their social networks, allowing the destination to gain more access to the customer to build a better and stronger database.
10. Social reviews (Facebook, TripAdvisor, etc.) will only be increasing in 2015. Be sure that you have processes in place regarding responses to bad comments, maximizing good reviews, etc.
11. Stay active on social networks. Being on social networks is good, but you’ve got to interact and show customers that you are available on a daily basis.
12. Create your own mobile apps, allowing guests to order before they arrive. People tend to be impatient – ordering before they arrive will prevent them from waiting for their food, but it will also protect you from them changing their minds and going elsewhere when they arrive.
13. Food trends predicted for 2015 include reduced sugar and protein boosters. Customers want a “well-being feeling” and we need to cater for that.
14. Customers are experimenting with many local breweries and prefer beers and wines from micro-breweries and smaller boutique wineries. Guests would rather drink a beer that is promoted with the line: “We recommend this local beer, produced at a brewery just down the road.”
15. Sustainability is one of the big trends, whether we like it or not. Many customers prefer supporting establishments that make an effort to make their business more environmentally friendly. Consider looking at a few ways in which you can incorporate environmental and social responsibility in your business.
Yup, that’s right, the Travelling Mystery Guest is out travelling once again! Where, you may ask? Well, Namibia off course!
So…if you’re looking for us between 12 December 2014 and 6 January 2015, you will unfortunately not be able to get hold of us.
May you have a blessed Christmas and a very happy New Year!
See you soon.
As you will know, small acts of kindness often go a long way. You’ve also probably seen in our December newsletter (feel free to subscribe here), it is to my meaning that we need to focus on “humanizing” our customer service again. Here are a few ideas on how I think you could do exactly that this Festive Season:
Bless your guests
• Give guests’ children the opportunity to help you make breakfast for their parents on Christmas morning. This will not only help you create bonds with customers, but you will also help them build on their family bonds.
• Serve cool drinks on the veranda on Christmas eve and invite guests to join you for sun-downers before they head out.
• Prepare a few individual picnic spots around your venue for guests to enjoy a family picnic for Christmas.
• Bless your guests with a small Christmas gift on their bed. I say small, because it’s really the idea that counts. Something like a packet of Christmas cookies, a sock filled with some midnight snacks, bake a few Christmas themed cupcakes and put it in their rooms upon turndown.
Gingerbread Cupcakes for Christmas
(Image from: http://tidymom.net/2011/gingerbread-cupcakes/)
• Buy a few vouchers from businesses around the area, i.e. a puppet show at the Saturday market around the corner, an ice-cream shop, a coffee shop, the aquarium, a book store, the hop-on-hop-off bus, etc. and leave this in your guests’ room for when they arrive. Put a note with it that says something like: “Merry Christmas from us all! We’d like to bless you with a few tastes from our town. Enjoy!”
The above ideas are only but a few examples of what you can do. Be creative and see how your guests come back for more human-to-human customer service next year.
It’s exciting to say that 2015 is Travelling Mystery Guest’s second year of existence and we have been blessed with some great clients thus far. It is also a privilege to say that some of these clients have hired Travelling Mystery Guest on a long term basis, to evaluate their service standards monthly or quarterly.
Contact us today
Customer Journey Evaluations
(Similar to Mystery Guest Visits)
Restaurants R1500 (Including meals up to R500, excluding travel costs outside of Gauteng)
Guesthouses R2000 (Including accommodation and meals up to R750, excluding travel costs outside of Gauteng)
Hotels R2500 (Including accommodation and meals up to R1000, excluding travel costs outside of Gauteng)
Social Media Management
(Includes planning, scheduling and management of up to 4 social media platforms)
Monthly Planning & Scheduling R375.00 per hour (minimum 4 hours per month)
Training Sessions & Workshops
(We come to you)
Communicate with Customers R500.00 per person per half-day session (minimum 2 delegates)
The Hotel Wheel R500.00 per person per half-day session (minimum 2 delegates)
The Restaurant Wheel R500.00 per person per half-day session (minimum 2 delegates)
The Basics of Social Media R500.00 per person per half-day session (minimum 2 delegates)
If you are interested in getting to know more about what we do, feel free to contact Renate on 082 336 1562 / email@example.com.
You can now frame your achievements from Travelling Mystery Guest!
We’ve recently started working on some certificates for clients’ achievements and are exciting to announce that establishments will now be able to receive these certificates after being with Travelling Mystery Guest for six months.
Here are some examples of what you can expect:
TMG Certificates, designed by Marda de Villiers
For information and bookings, contact Travelling Mystery Guest on 082 336 1562 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2014 I’ve seen small garden café’s and large hotel groups. I’ve seen professional and less professional hospitality staff and I’ve been in the back office of many a destination. Here are my top 10 observations from 2014 – take it, use it and take 2015 by storm with new angles, new excitement and new plans:
Consistency is king ©RenatedeVilliers
- Why would a hotel room be perfect if housekeeping’s offices behind the scenes are unorganized? Like in life, beauty comes from the inside. Start there.
- Consistency is king. When a guest is served a biscuit with his coffee today and not tomorrow, he will be disappointed. Don’t set a standard you can’t keep up with.
- Too few restaurants see the importance in gluten free and other healthier alternatives on their menus. If you ask me, a whole menu section dedicated to that might put you at the top of the list for many customers.
- Waitrons need additional communication skills and self-confidence. It seems that many waitrons would rather say nothing and only check their tables once, in order to protect themselves from difficult customers. It’s true that customers are difficult, but a waiter with self-confidence has less trouble than those who serve with fear.
- Branding still triggers the memory. Many establishments don’t use branded coasters, swizzle sticks, plates and other tangible items, probably mainly due to cost. Still, seeing the branding image at the entrance of a destination, again at reception, in the room or at the restaurant table and on the bill burns the memory into the customer’s brain. It’s one of the first things he will recall when someone asks for a referral to a restaurant or destination.
- Loyalty makes the destination. I’m not talking about customers’ loyalty. I’m talking about employees working for the destination’s loyalty. If staff don’t have the same reason for serving customers than what the destination promises, they might do more damage than good.
- First impressions really do last forever. If a guest is not greeted on arrival, not assisted with his luggage or not made feel welcome by a great atmosphere with audible background music, he might just not want to return.
- Small things have big impacts. Noticing your regular guests’ preferences and acting on it before they need to request it, makes a big impression. A fresh flower on the bed, bath salt in the bathroom, the guest’s favourite chocolate or hot chocolate on a cold winters’ night – those things make them feel at home.
- It’s a human thing. Guests don’t want to feel like numbers. They want to feel like friends. Being able to meet the chef or the general manager, exchanging a few short sentences and getting to know the people who play an integral role at the place they dine and stay, make guests feel important.
- At the end of the day, experience is all that matters. The thing with experience is that everything is interlinked: service standards, tastes, textures, ambiance, conversation, views, smells, sounds… That’s why every employee in the company needs to understand the whole restaurant / hotel wheel to see where they fit in and to ensure that they are able to meet those standards.