Top Hospitality Observations in 2014

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

Consistency is king ©RenatedeVilliers

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
Advertisements

10 Cool gadgets for guesthouse and hotel rooms

Photo taken by Renate de Villiers at Grande Provence, Franschhoek

Photo taken by Renate de Villiers at Grande Provence, Franschhoek

Here are a few things that customers LOVE to have in their guesthouse or hotel rooms…whether we like it or not:

  1. WiFi – more and more guests feel that WiFi is nonnegotiable, especially in hotels. It has become one of the main deciding factors whether a guest books at the establishment or not.
  2. MP3 docking station and alarm clock
  3. Mirror televisions. Mainly found in bathrooms, saunas and swimming pools at luxury hotels, with high definition technology, digital tuners and touch screens.
  4. RFID. This stands for radio frequency identification and this technology is often used in door locks at hotels. Guests can now use any brand of mobile phone to gain access to their rooms, so losing the room key is not a problem anymore. (As long as you don’t lose your phone!)
  5. Sensors. Housekeeping can now use infrared signals to identify whether a room is occupied or not only by pressing a button. Amazing!
  6. RFID key. This is one thing you might want to get ASAP! It is a card key with a fancy chip that cannot get demagnetized. This saves your guests much effort and frustration.
  7. Check-in via a lobby ambassador with a special iPad. For bigger hotels this is the ideal check-in solution, which also appears quite modern and professional.
  8. Apps that assist you to be your own concierge. Conrad New York Hotel offers its guests the Conrad Concierge App, which allows them to arrange airport transportation and meal times from their Androids, iPhones or iPads. Create your own app and see how much your guests love you!
  9. On-site navigation app. Quite a few overseas hotels and resorts have their own on-site navigation app, some of which can triangulate your exact indoor location and give you directions to different fun and trendy activities to visit in and around the facility.
  10. Business Bar. Some hotels offer guests the option of borrowing an iPad, laptop, e-reader, camera, headphones, wires, etc. from their business bar at a special rate per day. Guests can therefore afford to pack less and worry less about their electronics getting lost or stolen during their travels. Awesome!

So which of these cool gadgets are you planning to install at your tourist destination?