Evidence of things unseen
You can measure the temperature of chicken. You can take opinion surveys and say the score has something to do with truth (not so often), but the most important thing about your business is the one thing rarely measured: the vibe!
What goes into the vibe? A vibe is a distinctive but intangible emotional aura surrounding a person, place or thing that is experienced instinctively.
At the very least, you should be able to describe how a place feels to you. It’s pretty easy to pick up the vibe from brand and independent hotels that are built around “vibe.” Those that don’t focus on it are typically called vanilla, box hotels. But they too can get a vibe. Décor may be part of it, but it is not the biggest chunk of it. It’s the people. It’s the staging and, of course, the culture. “Vibes” determine if your hotel is viewed as a commodity or a place to be experienced, brand be damned. If people can “feel the love, feel the vibe,” an emotional bond will occur that will have them continually choose you over your competitors. No vibe, and it’s just another day in “Welcome to Transaction Land.”
“Good vibrations” are not just for luxury, boutique, themed and independent hotels. Even stuffy has a vibe (unless it’s in your nose). So do casual elegance and the warmth of a B&B. However, corporate cultures that want that certain something at their hotels that do not show evidence of it in their corporate offices will be disappointed in outcomes.
Vibe has its root in the word vibration. Vibration is a form of energy. If you are not managing the vibe, lack of it is still managing your business. When I consult, the first place we start is how the place feels, and we listen to the conversations among staff and guests. There is no excuse for not stepping up the energy.
There is a national grocery chain that I love. Most people rave about this company as well. It has a distinctly laid-back, value- and service-driven culture. The vibe is clearly a core brand attribute. But while the vibe makes this brand, I recently found it to be inconsistent in one area of the operation. As an example, when I had to return an item recently, a supervisor had to come and approve a US$2 return. What’s with that? (Vibe on, vibe off!)
People go where the energy suits them. It could be high energy or quiet energy, but it should be orchestrated, thought through and consistent with a positioning statement. Energy is everywhere. When we learned about how to harness it, we got electricity, chemistry, action and reaction. Energy is all there is. Work with someone who can assist you in harnessing yours to produce unprecedented results.
I’ll take “high vibe” over “high five” any day.