By Lize de Kock, Marketing Communications Director at TrustYou
While face-to-face interaction and visible emotion have been somewhat eroded within the current pandemic regulations, personalized service is still everything in making travelers feel at ease around the globe. Hospitality is all about emotion, no matter how luxurious (or limited by cleanliness rules and safety measures) the environment.
This article serves as a reminder that we carry a tremendous responsibility at a time when travel is being rebuilt. It is the hospitality industry more than any other that makes people feel unforgettable feelings. In navigating the balance between physical distance, technology, and emotion, many hotels have introduced live messaging and survey tools to enable contactless communications and real-time feedback.
Yet how do we keep making that real human connection? Here are 7 ways to put the spark back into your contactless, distanced, tech-enabled guest communications:
1. Trust is everything
As we try to do the best for our guests, our clients, and each other, trust is ultimately what will carry us into the future, together. Trust requires openness, connection, and long-term thinking. Instead of expecting loyalty, how can we show it instead?
2. Be honest
Transparent communication goes a long way in managing expectations and getting feedback in advance of the guest’s stay. If the pool is not available, for instance, just say it – and suggest another magnificent alternative to open their mind to the options.
3. Kindness is key
Everyone wants to be seen for who and what they are in the moment. Is your guest a business traveler who is running on a time schedule and wants a quick check-out, or a holiday-maker who would relish insider tips? Find out and react to their expectations.
4. Remember to smile
While masks and other safety regulations do hamper the friendly smile to an extent, the emotion behind it is not only conveyed by the corners of the mouth. Smile as you mean it and it shines through your whole being. Your guest will feel it in your message.
5. A need for speed
Guests may want to take it slow, but no one really wants to wait. A swift response can make the difference between finding an extraordinary alternative to a tough problem, or a guest complaint that negatively influences hotel reputation.
6. Stay interested
We are all different and that makes the world an interesting place where we can learn from each other. Stay curious. Make sure to listen and do what it takes to create the kind of genuine connection that makes the guest feel at home. No matter what
7. Make it convenient
Real-time feedback tools are a great solution for solving guest problems as soon as they arise. Even better if you can communicate via your guest’s preferred channel. Whatsapp, Facebook, and WeChat still top the mobile messaging app charts.
Creating the ultimate guest experience requires sincere, graceful, and authentic service that makes the guest feel welcome – and special. It all starts with what they see and touch in terms of hotel branding, exterior, and interior design, the furniture, and the texture of the pillows. Yet, the most important element of the hospitality experience is how it makes the guest feel throughout each touchpoint of the guest experience. What emotion do you create in another?
Behind it all, it is the human connection that matters most – and this is where there is still a lack of innovation and solutions within the industry status quo.