Why it’s all about guest experiences

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There are a lot of things that are important to consider when it comes to hospitality, from the interior design to the luxury amenities and the dining options. But the truth is, you can have the most amazing property in the world, and it won’t make a bit of difference if your guests aren’t happy with their stay.

Think about the last time you experienced exceptional customer service and the impact that had. It truly is one of the cornerstones of the industry, and the way that people feel about your hotel is hugely important. That’s where brand loyalty comes from - it’s what encourages guests to return time and again, year after year. The level of customer service could be the deciding factor in whether or not your guests will recommend your resort to their friends and family too, so the effects are far reaching.

That’s why Emaar Hospitality Group has recently introduced its new service culture programme to improve customer service and guest satisfaction.

The idea is based on the ‘Reverse Thinking’ approach developed by Performance Solutions after a recent study identified an ‘experience gap’ between companies and their customers. In the study, 80 percent of the businesses surveyed believed they delivered a ‘superior’ experience to their customers, but only eight percent of the customers agreed.

It’s a contradiction that hospitality brands are at great pains to resolve. Olivier Harnisch, CEO of Emaar Hospitality Group told me: “Service excellence is what sets apart hotel brands. We’ve always prioritised guest experiences, ever since our inception 10 years ago. What we want to do now, is take out whole guest experience to the next level.”

For Emaar Hospitality Group it starts with staff workshops and training sessions to help develop this ‘service mindset’ further.

Harnisch said: “We want to empower our staff to be able to make the right decisions in any guest experience scenario, and our new service culture programme is about making sure they have the tools to provide the best customer service possible.”

“I believe the programme will really help us to enhance guest loyalty - we really do want people to keep coming back to our properties, again and again.”

As part of the plan, which is essentially a seven-phase programme over 18 months, all employees will take part in the ‘Guest Experience Blueprint’, run by internal Brand Experience Coaches. The coaches then train staff to prep them on how to handle different customer service experience scenarios.

Harnisch, who is not only very proud of the programme, but is convinced it will yield results, told me: “In truth, every one of our employees is a brand ambassador, delivering our unique brand of hospitality to every single guest. That what makes us great and will carry us forward into the future of travel.”

David H. is a customer service expert within the travel and hospitality industries.

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