Think about the last hotel that made a real impression on you. Yes, you had the best sleep on beautiful linen, fluffy pillows, and put on a luxurious bathrobe which felt like a hug… But I would like to go out on a limb here and suggest it was another special ingredient that really made the difference and that it was the reason you returned to that memory right now.
At some stage on that special journey, the human touch made the difference! Because that’s what people do: They make the difference. In a world of automation, social media and fast transactions, we have come to understand that there is one thing a computer can’t give us, and that’s the human touch.
People need people and, in the hospitality industry, people need people more than ever. They need a handshake, a smile, a personal welcome and a conversation. They need to connect – not just with the service that you offer but with the values that underpin everything your company was built on and what it strives to achieve each and every day.
This is where the challenge begins. The product may be seamless but the delivery still isn’t exactly as per your promise. How do you encourage and motivate your team to reflect your perfectly honed message and to deliver the holistic experience your guests are looking for based on the promise they have been made?
The answer? Engagement. Your team needs to be in there with you – as eager and excited to deliver your vision as you were to create it. But this isn’t about talk; it’s about action. Your team needs to feel truly connected. After all, if they are on board with the plan you have created then they will mirror it, and they will become dedicated to delivering the authentic, personal experience that your guests hope for.
One project that brings this to life for me is the way the leadership and team at Tiger Palace Resort in Nepal – a new casino/resort near the North Indian border in Nepal – worked this out. They spent a lot of time developing their brand promise and marketing campaign. But the leadership realized they would never be able to meet guests’ expectations without investing in the internalizing and reinforcement of their brand identity through the experiences created by their team for customers and fellow team members.
The result was the development of an integrated service culture program that provided the opportunity for team members to embrace their role in bringing the brand to life through the moments they were creating for their customers. Many of the team had never worked in hospitality before, but a huge sense of pride was created, as well as a focus at all levels of the company to deliver their “Dare To Be Your Best” customer experience.
The resort won Best Employer of the Year for Nepal late last year, which, after only being open for less than two years, was a great achievement and the result of a great team effort.
The key take-home from all of this? Success isn’t magical. It takes time, effort, ongoing reinforcement and leadership so that humans are inspired and feel truly engaged and empowered, and to deliver on your promise.
But the results? Lifetime memories which result in loyalty and return, which means success for your business!