Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The How of Wow- 3 Ways to Amaze Your Customers

What makes a hotel stay memorable? Is it the amenities, the lobby, or a great workout center? While comfortable beds, little bottles of shampoo, and a large screen television are nice; truly memorable properties invest in the heart and culture of their organization. 

When I'm speaking at meetings and conventions, I stay in some hotels that go above and beyond to make their guests feel welcomed and at home. I also endure staying at properties where the staff could care less if I were curled up in one of their rooms or sleeping outside of the front door.
doubletree hotel midland, great hotel experiences
The real reason why any business (hotel or otherwise) enjoys rave reviews and repeat travelers is due to the staff. The most successful businesses embrace the importance of "Wow" in their vocabulary and culture. In this post, I'm going to share 3 simple tips for you to create a WOW experience for your guests and customers.

1. Lead With Gratitude.
Having arrived in the West Texas city of Midland, TX following a long day of travel, I pulled into the DoubleTree Hotel Midland Plaza, where a woman named Hamida (pictured above) greeted me when I arrived in the dining area. She was engaging, happy, and a great ambassador for the hotel. As she set my lunch on the  table in front of me, she smiled and said something that told me she truly loves what she does. "I hope you enjoy your lunch as much as I have enjoyed preparing it for you!" That one...is pretty hard to top!
During my stay there, every member of the staff displayed their finest "Texas Charm" and made every guest feel valued. That kind of culture is caught, not taught.

2. Engage With Excellence
Santa Monica, CA is one of my favorite places in the world. The beach is beautiful, there are great shops and restaurants within walking distance of most hotels, and it is also home to my favorite Sheraton Hotel property, the Sheraton Delfina. This property is perched up a hill, just five blocks from the beach, and offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean from the guest room's balcony.
While the hotel is resplendent with amazing beauty and decor,the true beauty lies inside of the property. The staff greets each guest like family, and the engaging personalities blend with a high expectation of excellence to create an unbelievable guest experience. The only way that excellence can be permeated throughout an organization is from the top down. Every person must feel that they play an important role in the business's success.

3. Listen
God gave you two ears and one mouth...use them accordingly! What you want as a business owner or employee does not matter as much as what your customers want. While some companies choose to spend massive amounts of money on focus groups and countless hours brainstorming about what they could do to attract more customers; smart companies choose to listen to those people who already do business with them.

One reason why I love staying at Starwood properties when I travel on business is because they listen and act upon their guest's needs. For example, if I'm speaking at noon,  I appreciate the ability to freshen up after I get off stage. If you request a late checkout, it is 4pm, not 11:15. There are also times when a client would like to meet in a semi-private surrounding. Many properties offer a Club Lounge area which is stocked with soft drinks and snacks in a relaxed atmosphere.

The easiest way for you to determine what your clients would like is to ...ASK THEM! Don't make something simple complicated. A leading question such as "We really value your business, and would like to know what product and/or service you would like us to provide. You are our boss, and we are here to serve you!"

What are some shining examples of great experiences that you have enjoyed?


For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit http://www.theshef.com or call our offices at 1-563-343-5412
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