How consumers are driving change in the hotel industry

hoteldonttellbhp

Hotels are in danger of failing to adapt to a new breed of guest whose needs and demands are entirely different to those of previous generations. The impact of rising affluence, globalization and technology has led to modern hotel guests valuing experiences and the feeling of ‘being connected’ over traditional hotel luxuries.

It seems that many hotels have barely changed over the last decades still consisting of the same in-room amenities, the same heavy curtains, the same check-in process, and the same small desk. This is no longer a place where the modern-day traveller feels at home. This new segment of traveller is no longer looking for white-linen service, bellboys to carry their luggage up to their room or a concierge. When the current generation of young travellers enter a hotel, they want to feel completely at home, connected and to be in a setting where they can be part of an experience. This new generation of travellers see luxury more in the storytelling of having an experience, rather than in the abundance of luxury items. They are much more satisfied with a hotel lobby they can sit in and drink coffee surrounded by other people, than having a coffee machine in their room.

ES_reception01new_6_712x342_FitToBoxSmallDimension_Center

You can buy status symbols, but buying an experience is much harder. Whereas leading hotels used to be equipped with gadgets and technology, the new breed of traveller wants the confidence of places that understand them, and to be surrounded by a community of like-minded people, wherever they go.

The changing nature of hotel guests is also prompting change in the traditional layout of hotels. Lobbies, for example, are becoming larger, more open social hubs and gathering spaces, with a mix of comfortable couches, communal workstations and meeting spaces. Formal divisions between the lobby, restaurant and bars are also disappearing with guests able to sit where they like or help themselves to what they want.

Rooms are changing too, with many lifestyle hotels having smaller rooms as guests spend more time in social places. Desks are becoming less necessary in the room, as people prefer to sit on chairs or on beds to work when using their laptop or tablet.

Meeting rooms are becoming less formal and more ‘homely’ with brighter colour schemes and comfortable chairs. Hotels are becoming creative with their breakout spaces to allow guests to feel that they are in their own home some with breakout space with a communal kitchen.

Hotel service is becoming more intuitive and casual, albeit with the same level of respect. Some hotels are abandoning uniforms and the days of scripting responses to guests are over.

In summary, hotel guests are looking for a home-away-from-home. The new era is about participating in an experience, rather than flaunting wealth. Travellers today don’t want to feel like they are in a corporate setting, but thrive in environments where they can interact with people, be it face-to-face or virtual. They want everyone to participate and don’t mind interacting with new people. There will always be a market for wall-to-wall luxury, but it is lifestyle hotels that are prompting change throughout the industry.

Advertisements

A HUGE LOSS!!!

Hand grabbing another person's fistful of money.
Hand grabbing another person’s fistful of money.

It was a long weekend, thanks to the May 29th democracy day celebration (happy democracy day in arrears), it was more enjoyable for me because it was a very free weekend. No work, no trips, nothing!!! I decided to hang out with my good friends, (been a while we did the ladies weekend out).

While walking into the reception from the pool, we met a little drama. A man wanted to check out and he was so in a hurry. He was told to hold on so they could confirm if he had settled all his bills. He screamed angrily that he was late and needed to leave immediately so he would not miss his flight. He dropped the keys and stormed out. Shortly, after it was confirmed by the manager that the man had a bill of N12,500 to clear. The manager explained that he received a report that the man made some orders and asked them to post the bill to his room because he wanted to pay at once. Now, the person who placed those orders for him was not available, so the poor front desk lady had to quickly call the hotel manager for confirmation. They ran out to see if they could call the man back, but he was long gone. What a loss!!!

All these can be prevented, because I know that when I want to leave some hotels I have used, no one will wait for anyone to confirm anything. They see it right there from the system if I had any bill to settle. If the outstanding is not cleared and updated in the hotel management apps they use, it will show that I cannot be checked out.

Stop incurring losses which you can avoid. Your guests should not walk away with your money, but you need to make it happen. Get it right this time around.

If you have a similar experience or you want to share an experience or you need to make any inquiries, please feel so free to send a mail to inbound.activ360@gmail.com.

Have a great day!

FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU!!!

200292204-001

Nowadays, some hotels put on their websites or hotel search sites pictures of facilities their hotels do not have. Only for one to find out after making reservations and paying, that what you saw online is totally different from what you see when you get there.

Hotels differ. If you are not of the same standard with a big hotel like Eko Hotel and suites, don’t go posting pictures of facilities that is of the same standard with Eko Hotel and suites. Those ones, have their customers who accepts their huge room rates and still pay for it regardless. While the ones of a lesser standard, will still have their customers who cannot afford the huge room rates and go for the lesser rates.

There was an experience I witnessed in a hotel I lodged in when I was away on a business trip. It actually is a small hotel around that area. Hold on, what are you thinking? Why I should lodge in a small hotel when I am on a business trip abi? (My office did not do my reservations, I was asked to do it myself in a so called “big hotel” and I decided to do it in a place of my choice, where I can pay less for the same value). All I need is a comfortable place to lay my head, keep my luggage and prepare for my appointments abi? So it shouldn’t matter where or whether it is big or small. Wisdom is profitable to direct biko. Besides, my good friend is the hotel manager.

I was chilling at the reception when a lady raised her voice that she wanted to cancel her reservations and get a refund. I raised my listening antenna to know her reasons and I learnt that all they posted on the internet that the hotel had was actually not there. For example the free wi-fi she saw on the internet was not available and that was one of her considerations before lodging. Also the poolside she saw wasn’t what she expected and she kept going on how she likes her things being perfect and how she chose the hotel because she saw the perfect pictures exactly how she wanted it blah blah blah.

Okay, at first I said to myself, madam stop forming joor. But on a second thought, I decided to remove sentiments aside I know it is my friend’s hotel, but what if this happened to me, will I be happy? The truth is NO. I can decide to pay for something because I like what I see. I compared it to buying something online, I see the picture, and read the brief description to know if it is something that I would like. If I like it and order for it and when they bring it, I see that it is not what I saw, I won’t take it.

Anyway, after so much shouts and begging the lady to stay, she insisted on a refund and she left. I had a talk with my friend and told her people will pay for what they see and what they read you have. It is better they have a lower expectation of you and see something higher than for them to be disappointed when they get to your hotel, and believe me, they will never come back because the impression is that these people are liars. Please pull down those pictures and posts and put the ones you actually have, your real customers will come for what you have and will come again as long as they are satisfied with your services. I really hope she listens.

This should be a general advice, please let us know what you actually have, because for me, if you deceive me once, I might stay especially if I don’t have much of a choice but I will definitely not look back when I leave.

PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB SIGN (Guests vs. Hotel housekeepers)

do-not-disturb-please-words-blue-banner-held-up-floor-little-d-man-putting-finger-his-mouth-30503261

The Do Not Disturb Sign is very important, even though some hotels might not have these signs especially when there is a key. It is often felt that you can always lock your door, true, but little details matters, and should be considered.

I read an article somewhere I can’t exactly remember, there was a big issue that this sign would have averted. Just the next day after a lady lodged in a hotel, she went in the bathroom to have her bath. While in the bathroom she heard some knocks but because she was in the bathroom she could not come out to open the door. Later, the knocks ceased and she felt the person left when there was no response. Just as she stepped out of the bathroom, a guy was shutting the door, he came in to clean the room and guess what the lady was out without anything on. While trying to grab something to cover herself and screaming what are you doing here? The guy ran out of the room.

So she dressed up and went out to make a case with the guy and the hotel manager, and from the guy’s explanation, he went in to fix the room, and he knocked severally, got no response and assumed the lady was not in. he used the hotel’s master key to open and quickly clean up before the lady comes in and there, he saw the lady bare and all. The lady explained that she has the habit of removing the keys from the keyhole after locking the door which some people have too. And why did the guy enter without finding from the front desk if she stepped out if the room or not. I don’t know the conclusion of this story, like I said I read it from somewhere but from the last paragraph of the article the lady planned to sue the hotel for robbery and rape (Lol).

But I think a lesson is to be drawn here for hotels, it is very important to avoid such scenarios. You can communicate to the guest the cleaning hours of the hotel to prepare the person in the room ahead of time. The guest can either keep himself in order or step out to allow the housekeepers do their thing. Or better still, get the do not disturb signs to your guests so they can use it when they want you to stay completely off their doors. This makes your guests see that you respect their privacy even while they are in your hotel.

If you an experience you would like to share personally, or you would like me to share in future articles, please do send me a mail, would love to read from you inbound.activ360@gmail.com.

Thank you.

Are you cooking a stone?

hungry-angry-atheist-man

How long does it take a good meal to get cooked? For me, when I cook a very good meal, with all my delays and playing around, I don’t use up to or maximum an hour. Then how come a hotel chef takes almost two hours to make a meal knowing there is a hungry lion waiting to devour the food.

A friend told me his experience and anytime I remember I laugh as though I was there to witness it. He told me he checked in and immediately ordered for a meal because he was terribly hungry as he called it. After 30mins, he called “how far”? “Sir we are coming” was the response. 45mins later he called, “where is the food?” “Sir please be a bit patient we are coming soon.” After an hour my guy shouted over the phone, “Are you guys cooking a stone for me? Even if it is a stone, it should be ready now.” “Sir please we are coming now” they responded. 1 hour 20mins later, “do you guys have food or not?” “Sir you will see us up in the next 2mins.” He waited for the next 10mins when no one came, he dressed up and went to look for a fast food. Luckily, he saw one very close by, bought and went back to his room.
Just as he was about to start eating, a knock, a lady with a tray said sir your food. He just looked at the tray and the lady and closed the door and went back and went to his food. He said the hotel manager called to beg him and he just quietly told the man, “please, I do not want to talk, if I do I will be very nasty because I am boiling right now. Anything u have to say, save it, I am not interested.”
Hotel managers, a hungry man is an angry man. And an angry man does not have the word patience in his dictionary. Please, do not increase the anger any further if possible do not cause the anger in the first place. You can plan ways to make your meals as quickly as possible or you can wow your customers, by using an app where they can pre-order their meals before they get to their rooms, so they can have it almost immediately after settling in. I know because I have used one and I was wowed indeed.
You want to know the app? Hahaha, keep reading and maybe one day if you ask, I might be nice to share with you.

How to WOW hotel guests at check in – part 1

  1. Wow your guest at hello

It’s an iron law of hospitality that first impressions count. Wow your guests before they arrive by using the time between booking and arrival. Send a brief, personalised text message or email a week or so before the hotel booking to confirm the reservation again and let them know you’re looking forward to welcoming them to your hotel.

  1. Reading body language

The moment of arrival is the greatest unknown for you and your guests. Travel disruption, flight delays, fretful children, bad weather — the trials of travel are legion. Read your guests’ body language when they cross the threshold of your hotel; some want nothing more than a speedy progression to the sanctuary of their room, others want the human touch — a sympathetic smile and a soft landing.

  1. Names and faces

Recognition is an easy win for a hotel; returning guests like to be recognised and remembered, first-time guests appreciate being addressed by name as part of the home-from-home experience. For an extra wow, programme guests’ telephone numbers into your system and greet them by name when they call.

  1. Inform and assist

Keep an eye on travel news in the area and tell your guest in advance of any likely disruption. If you know where your guest is travelling from, for an enhanced wow make it someone’s task to keep tabs on live travel feeds and send brief, helpful text messages to help your guest avoid some roads or prepare for delays on others.

  1. The person behind the name

Remembering names is one thing; remembering who’s behind the name is another. Your guests are leaving all kinds of clues while they’re staying at your hotel — pillow preferences, which daily newspaper they want to see on the breakfast tray, whether they preferred still or sparkling water in the room — and it takes only a moment to build those small details into a thumbnail sketch that you can shade in every time the guest returns.

how to wow your hotel guests Click to download pdf format

When you have guests from Mars

abw1_zpsdec5cf9c
Have you ever met angry guests? I mean the really angry ones that you just cannot get where their anger is coming from. As a matter of fact, you might want to go and check yourself again whether you have something about you or there is something about your hotel that just upsets them. I am sure when you are done checking, you will find nothing.

In reality, some people are sad, angry, I can’t say why, it might be as a result of frustration or incidences that occurred in the past that had a huge effect on them, whatever the reason is, as a hotel manager, you need to know how to handle these type of guests and still make them look important even with their annoying nature. After all they are your guest.

How do you handle these guests from Mars? I may be wrong but I feel they are looking for who would listen to all they have to say and reasons why they should be angry. So I guess listening or at least “trying to” listen is very important.

Try to understand the situation why the guest was angry in the first place you can see why listening is very important.

Then make sure you are quick to respond. Angry people are very impatient so making them wait an extra minute without solution is just like adding fuel to the existing fire which I know you don’t want to do.

When you give a solution to the problem, please follow up to make sure it was done exactly as agreed. Also, ask the guest questions to make sure they got what they wanted. They will feel that you actually cared and probably they will calm down a lot faster.

Lastly and also very important, the customer is always right as the saying goes, but in reality most times they are wrong. Be careful not to blame them, and if they are wrong and in the process your staff is blamed, always remember to do the right thing by talking to your staff not in the presence of your guest o. Let your staff know your guest is king and should be treated as such, apologize on behalf of the guest, so that your employee does not feel so bad. If the angry guest is blaming the company apologize on behalf of the company and promise better services just to calm the temper of the guest.

You might ask “What if I do all these and my guest is still shouting about the same thing what should I do”? My brother and sister, if you ask me, na who I go ask? Just remember, your guest is a king and should be treated as such.