How to run a truly 'punctilious' hotel
07 AUGUST 2014 8:33 AM
Hoteliers can show great attention to detail when it comes to their properties’ operations. Here are a few ideas to get started.
One thing I love about reading on a Kindle Fire is how you can just touch a word to find the definition. While reading classical historical fiction recently, I came upon what was, for me, a new word: punctilious.
The first definition that came up online for this adjective was: “showing great attention to detail or correct behavior.” Right away I knew this was the perfect word for my vision of the ideal hotelier who thinks of everything. For me, here are some of the characteristics of a truly punctilious hotel:
A hotel that uses new technology to enhance the guest experience. Technology is used not just to cut costs. For example, a hotelier can implement an automated check-in process mainly so the front desk-staff can have more time to properly greet guests and truly welcome them to the hotel upon arrival.
Instead of hiding phone numbers and sending all inquiry calls off-site, a hotelier also can allow guests to use instant messaging and chat services to interact directly with someone on-site. Also, a Skype phone number for video calls can be published.
A hotel that makes available amenities that are frequently needed while on the road. This is not just a toothbrush and razor. Examples include:
- car-sharing service so that guests can pay a reasonable fee to use a hotel car for short errands of one or two hours;
- distilled water for all the guests who travel with CPAP breathing machines;
- ear plugs for the spouses of those who don’t;
- make-up remover; and
- contact lens cases and solution.
A hotel that offers electronic amenities that today’s guests need. Examples include:
- available universal phone and laptop chargers for those who forget (even if for a convenience fee);
- a micro USB (or Digital AV) to HDMI to enable them to watch NetFlix YouTube, or ESPN on their in-room TV, not just their tablet; and
- in-room USB power charger outlets.
A hotel that takes another approach to food and beverage, such as:
- healthy entrées and especially healthy snacks such as low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt in-room service;
- appealing non-alcoholic drinks in the bar for non-drinkers or those in recovery. How about fruit smoothies, herbal teas, and milkshakes?; and
- wait staff who say, “What did you think of your entrée?” and not just those who say “How was it? Good?”
A proactive lost and found. This system can emails guests when certain items are left behind, and then the items can be returned promptly, if desired.
Some hoteliers use guest privacy concerns as a reason not to proactively notify guests about certain found items. Yet, they do not hesitate to email these same guests with a survey. As a frequent traveler, I have often left items behind such as ties, belts and shirts, not realizing until weeks later and then not sure at which hotel I left the item.
A hotel with a hospitable staff. Examples include:
- frontline colleagues who are able to recommend local area restaurants and not just hand guests a list;
- frontline colleagues who can offer directions that include local insider’s tips on traffic patterns and where to park, not just print out MapQuest directions;
- bell staff who offer to assist with luggage by asking, “May I show you to your room?” instead of treating guests like weaklings and saying, “Did you need help with your luggage?”; and
- a hospitality team that uses genuine, authentic language when interacting with guests, not scripted messaging such as: “Let me be the first to welcome you,” during reservations inquiries, or “Would you like a second wake-up call?” at the front desk.
A hotel that caters to guests, including one that:
- confirms early check-in and/or late check-out in advance, even if for an additional fee;
- provides comfortable seating, such as an ergo office chair and a soft-cushioned sofa;
- has a frequency program that rewards guests by enhancing their experience during their stay, instead of offering deferred gratification of points to use for a future trip;
- has easy to follow signage that helps guests find their way;
- does not freeze-out guests in meeting rooms due to poorly functioning thermostats; and
- does not overcharge for basic AV rentals such as LCD projectors. The costs for these devices has gone down much faster than the rental charges.
Doug Kennedy is president of the Kennedy Training Network, Inc. a leading provider of customized training programs and telephone mystery shopping services for the lodging and hospitality industry. Doug continues to be a fixture on the industry’s conference circuit for hotel companies, brands and associations, as he been for over two decades. Since 1996, Doug’s monthly hotel industry training articles have been published worldwide, making him one of the most widely read hotel industry training writers. Visit KTN at www.kennedytrainingnetwork.com or email him directly.
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