A guest’s departure still continues to be somewhat of an orphan in the area of guest relations and service management. Perhaps this is a function of the simple fact that many guests just want their folio, aptly deposited under their door at night. And with disposable electronic keycards so in vogue, guests pass swiftly into the chaos of morning lobby traffic, avoiding the front desk altogether.
This raises a challenge for the hotelier, as the last impression left with guests is the fleeting, harried moment when they depart your property. This is what I call a sense of departure, and it stands to reason that, because this last impression will be what lingers in a guest’s mind, we hoteliers should focus more on delivering a quality effort. So how do you create lasting, positive memories of a guest’s stay while at the same time reinforcing brand imagery and meaning?
The solution I propose today is that of a book. Books are tangible, physical and, importantly, they can be personalized. Imagine leaving a hotel after a particularly fine stay to discover the hotel had dropped off a signed recipe book along with a handwritten note from the GM or executive chef. Impressive and highly memorable! Also, because of the physicality of this departing gift, the memory lasts longer — the book acting as a reminder of the hotel’s brand worth whenever it is gazed upon. Here are some examples:
- At Boston Harbor Hotel, Chef Daniel Bruce’s noted cookbook, “Simply New England,” provides exceptional and easy-to-use recipes while also encouraging the recipient to try replications of favorites from the property’s restaurant.
- St. Regis Bal Harbour’s book of recipes, “Bachour,” sees the hotel’s pastry chef reinforce the complexity of his creations. A different take than Chef Bruce’s book, this one’s inherent recipe complexity recognizes the uniqueness of the creations.
- While we’re on the topic of St. Regis, the chain’s “The Bloody Mary” not only traces the Prohibition-Era history of this beverage and the brand’s contribution to that end, but it also provides regional variations found at the 30-plus different properties in the brand.
- Each Fairmont property is steeped in history. All of these heritage stories are crystallized in an interesting pictorial book giving the reader an entertaining journey through time.
Creating a book for your property is not something you should do without some thought. Clearly your kitchen’s output is a frontrunner. If your property is new, a book on the construction plans may also be of interest. Whatever you decide, the key is that the book not be a direct sales piece, but rather a memento of the stay. As for printing, pricing depends upon the quantity, number of pages, color usage and paper quality. For a rough estimate, expect unit costs to be in the US$10 range. Hefty, but when you consider the long-term positive effects, it’s well worth the cost.