Engaging your guests

In an environment in which amenities and services offered at hotels are becoming increasingly similar, going back to basics of building customer relationships is a means to differentiate oneselves from the competition. In a recent 4Hoteliers article, J. Ragsdale Hendrie, Chief Executive of Hospitality Performance, advocates in favor of engaging guests. According to him, there is a lack of human relationship building when guests actually need this human touch after all they go through to arrive safely at a hotel (standing in long lines at the airport, waiting for a cab, dealing with security checks etc).

One can engage guests and personalize marketing efforts to build a brand. We know for instance that brand evaluation is necessary to judge one’s efforts of distinguishing a brand from the competition. This brand evaluation can be accomplished, by sending comment cards, or follow-up emails. To create an inimitable relationship that the guest will remember, one can engage guests in Focus Groups as a way to have feedback, to show that hotels care, and to personally thank them. Another interesting way highlighted in the article is increasing interaction with guests by assigning a manager or hotel staff member to hotel guests to oversee their needs.

This is only one means to differentiate oneselves in the marketplace and the way hotels collaborate with their partners (employees, vendors, destination city or area…) is another one. We mutually help each other and succeed together. Hence, listening and interacting with customers and the community are becoming increasingly important elements to stand apart from the crowd.

Published by

Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.

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