The easiest (and least expensive) way to improve Customer Experience

It seems that every time I pick up a hotel trade publication, there will be a reference somewhere to the customer experience as a 'must have' for hotels, regardless of if they are targeting business or leisure travelers. The concept has been around for a while: providing authentic, memorable experiences (positive) that endear the guest to the property. It makes them want to spend more when there are at the property, return, and best of all, tell their friends that this is the place to stay when travelling to your destination. The benefits are obvious: increased revenue and reduced sales cost of keeping a satisfied customer.

While having the infrastructure of a large, commune-type lobby, a grab 'n' go outlet, technology to record guest preferences, and 'in the know' local restaurants and experiences are all great, the easiest, most cost-effective way that also has the biggest impact, is to re-calibrate and master the People Component of a guest's stay.

It's an intricate balance of three entities that when effectively implemented will improve the guest experience and ultimately the bottom line of every hotel. Like a three-legged chair, when one leg is broken, it falls and becomes unusable. So too is the inter-related, inter-connected relationship of the three components that orbit around people, which lead to a great hotel experience. It's these hotels that are typically the market leaders.

It starts with 'Leadership.' They define the hotel's positioning and strategic direction, set the organization's culture, and create the experiential programing. Their role is to communicate the information to every hotel employee, develop a tactical game plan for their team members to understand their specific role in making it work, and motivate them to get the job done. Without effective leadership, the organization is head-less as indicated in #3 in the diagram below.

Employees need to be happy and valued; where expectations are clearly defined, and accountability is enforced for everyone. This is why the second leg of the chair is 'Employee.' Research has proven that when employees are engaged, they will go above and beyond for the customer. Employees who care will find creative solutions to challenges and are often the best resource for creating lasting memories for guests. Without engaged employees, the organization is soul-less, and service delivery will be lackluster as indicated in area #2 of the diagram.

The third (and sometimes overlooked) component is the customer. When attending hotel meetings, I'm often surprised that the customer's needs aren't addressed or even mentioned. The focus is typically on the physical plant and internal processes versus training and developing employees that are able to tune in to the individual needs of each guest. It also means asking guests what they want and then acting on their feedback. Ignoring customers' emotional needs is perceived as not caring about them, and they will quickly find other options that do want them as shown in area #1 in the above diagram.


Creating positive guest experiences is a complex science that involves technology, creative programing, and process development; however, at its core is the human element. Get that right, and it will have a positive impact on revenue and the bottom line.


"Money goes where it is welcome and stays where it is well treated."
Walter Wriston, banker and former chairman and CEO of Citicorp

Wishing you and yours a healthy, happy, and successful 2019!


Take the Next Step

Improve your Customer Experience by hiring Jo-Anne to:

  • Get behind barriers that impede employee productivity
  • Create a healthy organizational culture
  • Improve employee engagement
  • Ask the customer what they want via focus groups
  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Leadership training
  • Leadership executive coaching

About Jo-Anne Hill

Founded by industry expert Jo-Anne Hill, JH Hospitality Consulting dramatically improves revenue and profitability in creative ways at hotels around the world. Her strategic thinking, skill, and practical approach to problem-solving come from hands-on experience at companies such as The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Mandarin-Oriental Hotel Group, Dorchester Collection and Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts.

If you would like more information on improving hotel revenue and profitability, simply reach out to Jo-Anne at
[email protected]

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