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It’s the Guest’s Story, Not Yours

Hyper personalization means changing the narrative of your hotel to view the hotel as the guest sees it. Here’s what we mean.

Friday, June 13, 2014
Mr. Larry Mogelonsky - CHA
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One of the better trends that’s taken hold in the hotel industry of late is the notion of delivering an ‘authentic local experience’, or at least thinking in terms of a holistic experience instead of merely a room with its features, all the other property amenities and the staff. We often discuss a hotel in terms of the ‘narrative’ it offers to who visit. But in order for us to successfully deliver what consumers want, this narrative must change from the hotel’s point-of-view to that of each individual guest.

Although it’s a step in the right direction to even contemplate what a property’s narrative is, any efforts along these lines may prove to be a tad blindsided or self-centered if you are only considering what the hotel is doing. In terms of coalescing all operations – guest services, décor, amenities, loyalty member perks, local authentic experiences – into the semblance of a unique ‘narrative’ for your property, you should instead aim to meld them from a guest’s perspective.

It’s a minor tweak in how you approach guest relations, but it can elicit very positive results. The key here – and I say this as objectively as possible and without any inherent misanthropy – is to assume that your guests are selfish. Assume that they are rushed for time, tight on cash and only have enough energy to serve their immediate needs. Superseding any ‘narrative’ you bring to the table, you should be asking: How will this (whatever ‘this’ is) benefit a guest’s story?

Even though it’s your hotel, your property, your team, your operations and your amenities, each guest can only see things his or her own way. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. Notice the repetition of the word ‘your’ though. If you really want to deliver an exceptional experience for your guests, you have to steer away from the attitude of bringing guests into ‘your’ narrative and instead focus on helping guests fulfill ‘their’ needs and realize ‘their’ dreams.

As such, you should set each new customer as the protagonist, and then train and position your staff to be attentive supporting characters for each new story that graces your domain. How this philosophic shift is applied in real time to your operations is a far more complex matter that is best articulated on a case-by-case basis. And most of those cases will come through in the form of day-to-day, bread-and-butter interactions between your staff and hotel guests.

These are the fine print changes that might go unnoticed if not otherwise instructed. For instance, instead of starting a reply to guest request with a “We can’t…” or “Our policy is that…” begin with a positive response to bring you both onto the same page. Or, rather than introduce new features of your hotel, ask guests first what their plans were and what they hope to gain from their stay with you (and then launch into the sales pitch!). It’s subtle changes like this that will make your staff feel compassionate and win over guests.

I realize I’m cutting this article short as I could go on with umpteen other examples of this principle at play. But alas, one day at a time. What other examples would you add to this discussion?

Credit
Larry Mogelonsky CHA    Mr. Larry Mogelonsky - CHA
President and Founder
Owners, Principals, or Partners
LMA Communications Inc.

Bio: Larry Mogelonsky (MBA, P. Eng) is the founder of LMA Communications Inc. (www.lma.ca), an award-winning, full-service hospitality consulting and communications agency. Established in 1991, the company has assisted hundreds of luxury independent and branded properties throughout the world, providing solutions to sales, marketing, operational and digital challenges. Larry is an associate of G7 Hospitality Group as well as a member of Cayuga Hospitality Advisors and Laguna Strategic Advisors. He is also ...
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