Last week I checked into three different hotels with very different offers – airport convenience hotel, executive city hotel and premium holiday resort.
Every single check in experience failed to impress… and that’s pretty indicative of the 50+ times I go through this a year.
It’s a simple equation to me – if you’re running a hotel – you’re going to be dealing with travellers (weary ones – normally) and they’re looking for something so basic and yet so obvious – “a good welcome”.
Its a word that’s thrown about a lot in greetings – but a true welcome is something most of us do with our house guests on every occasion.
It doesn’t mean grand gestures of best cutlery or a cooked breakfast – if they fancy it, there might be nothing better than the local café’s bacon butty for breakfast – but we take the time to understand what might make them feel “more at home”.
So what’s the challenges for the hotel industry – aren’t we all just looking to feel more at home? I know I am.
I want my name to be right at check in, I would like a genuinely friendly face to greet me, I’d like the first words not to be – can I have your card please (what sort of trust in transaction does that show) or worse still – I don’t have your booking.
If you’re going as a volume chain to offer speed – then offer it. I understand “no frills” but if someone is stood with bags, children and is about to fall over and you ask them to sign something – you have to help them! Its not about adding frills back in – its about adding courtesy in.
If you’re a premium offer and you have gone to the length of putting water at reception – offer it!
If you’re a luxury offer and you’re about the magical touch – there is no point waiting until the bedroom or dinner to make it special. Check in will be the most important impression – the first one – be slick but be human, be informed but don’t be sterile.
They say there is no place like home but for the 100,000s of us traveling the globe extensively all year – we have to make sure our second homes feel a bit more friendly.