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Genuine star levels above 5-stars are not only possible, but inevitable
Genuine star levels above 5-stars are not only possible, but also inevitable. Reaching them, however, requires one to abandon the traditional and well-entrenched ideas about how to create the guest experience. Star levels higher than 5-stars will never be possible, though, if hoteliers cling stubbornly to the paradigms, ideas, and approaches that currently dominate the hotel industry as a result of the influence of the international chain hotel groups. It is only once you turn away from them that you can create higher star levels.
The very left-brain oriented, SOP-Customer Satisfaction approach cannot take you above 5-stars. Period. The 5-star level has its foundation on this approach, and is an awfully sad, indeed miserable reflection of human capacity and of what hotel staff could create. Besides, the seeds of destruction of the traditional, corporate, chain hotel approach are already germinating, so I hope that the new self-named 7-star hotels will not copy their ways.
The essence of the guest experience in hotels at genuine higher star ratings will not be the use of technology, gold, silver, and platinum fittings, and special, highly personalized service procedures. With money and some imagination these are easy to provide. The hallmark of genuine higher levels will be the spirit and feel of the guest experience, and this spirit cannot be created by traditional means. Genuine 6+-star levels will be created upon a foundation of completely new staff development approaches and ideas.
The 6+-star experience should not be a rehash of what is served up in 5-star hotels with more material trappings and some extra personalized services. While those extras will be an integral part of the overall experience, it is the nature and feel of the spirit that should be the main feature and the reason why people would want to stay in these hotels.
The spirit should create a truly memorable, hospitality experience, which fulfils the innermost dreams of the guests, and which makes the guests feel like they are in heaven. Staying at the hotel should be a luxurious, relaxing, and totally unforgettable experience that causes guests to say: "I have never felt so much love and care before."; "This is how I imagine heaven to be."; "I feel revitalized."; "I have never experienced anything as wonderful as this before." The loving care should be at an extraordinary level that touches the heart of every guest, and makes the guests wish that time would stop so that they can enjoy the dream-fulfilling experience for ever.
The beautiful part of this is that it is not only very possible to create this kind of experience, but it is also inevitable that it will become commonplace as there is no other direction for the hotel guest experience to go in. It is sad to read the comments of hoteliers who have clearly abandoned themselves to the belief that the current 5-star experience is the ultimate level.
The 6+-star levels of guest experience can be created by tapping into the immense depths of human capacity, especially people's spiritual capacity. One way to do this is to work through and to touch the human heart, and then to intensify the resulting feelings in the staff like turning up a dimmer light switch. It is not that hard to do. You just have to do things differently to what is considered proper, correct, and corporately respectable.
As you touch the hearts of the staff more and more, the desire of the staff to show love, warmth, heart-warming care, and empathy increases, and you can intensify the process until it becomes a burning desire in them to do so. This is not theoretical nonsense, I assure you. It is not hard to start off this process, but you have to break away from traditional hotel thinking to do so.
How do you create that level of desire? In short, you create it by understanding energy and vibrations and by applying to this understanding certain millennia-old spiritual principles. If only hoteliers would accept that modern science has a role to play in infusing the guest experience with genuine love, warmth , heart-warming care, compassion, etc., and thereby taking it to higher levels! But then the concept and possibility of a guest experience strong in these spiritual values is already deemed impossible and even undesirable or unnecessary by so many hoteliers.
When you understand energy and vibrations, you can teach staff how to create in themselves feelings of being in love in just a few minutes before they start work. There are quite a few simple ways to intensify these feelings, like turning up a dimmer switch of warmth. With practice, staff will be able to create the feelings in themselves in 15 - 20 seconds. Imagine the guest experience you can create in a hotel if all the staff were doing this and infusing their guest interactions with the resulting spirit!
It is also easy to teach staff how to remove their negative emotions so that they can infuse their service with genuine love, warmth , heart-warming care, compassion, and other core values without emotional obstacles. They can practice doing this during a morning briefing. They can also be shown how to use their thoughts to fill an area with positive energy. This is nothing fanciful or magical about this. It is a basic ability of human beings that has been ignored and replaced by the tenets of the SOP-Customer Satisfaction era.
The staff can also be taught how to calm unhappy guests through their thoughts by sending love energy. One can heal injuries or pain in the same way. It is really quite simple to do. Indeed, if you study energy and apply spiritual principles you can create a guest experience that makes guests wish that time would stand still.
One of the hallmarks of 6+ star hotels will be the softness of the guest experience. The hotels have to learn how to soften the hearts of the staff, and how to intensify the process. It involves a process of touching the heart, and of increasing spiritual capacity and susceptibility to the softer human emotions in order to increase the desire in the staff to want to practise the core values above, to want to create memorable experiences in everything they do, and to want to make their "walking wounded" guests happier.
In addition to softening the heart, the hotels will need to deepen continuously the understanding of the staff about the core values (what they look like, feel like, how to apply them in practical ways, why they should apply them, etc.); to communicate to the staff the feeling of each core value; to communicate the feelings and needs of the guests; and to focus thinking on creating experiences. A process of deepening that includes spiritual deepening is needed.
For the new 7-star hotels being built this also means that they will have to change the way they carry out their recruitment and pre-opening training and preparations. It takes time for this process to have its effect on people, so the staff will have to be recruited at a much earlier stage and developed for much longer than the usual one month before the opening date. Also, the staff suited to create such a guest experience will already need to be strong in the softer spiritual values. As a result, you may find that 70% of the staff will be female.
There is no point spending countless millions on creating incredible luxury in the hotel, and then trying to save as much as possible by shortening the recruitment and pre-opening period, and by providing traditional pre-opening training. You will simply open with at best the same spirit of a guest experience as every other hotel on the block, and the huge investment will have been wasted.
If the owners of the new 7-star hotels choose to be managed by the big chains with their traditional left-brain oriented, cloning approach, the guest experience will feel just like a typical 4- or 5-star guest experience, even if the hotels do resemble an Aladdin's cave. The big chain hotel groups are perfectly set up and aligned to create an SOP-Customer Satisfaction level of guest experience that is already starting to fall out of favour.
To sum up, there is in theory no limit to the number of star levels because human capacity is limitless. Star levels up to 5-stars can easily be created using traditional ideas and methods. They are the domain of the ordinary, the traditionalists, and of the big chain hotel groups. But beyond the current ceiling there lie guest experience possibilities that are actually easy to create if one is willing to try out new approaches, and to replace the focus of conversation from SOPs to creating more love, heart-warming care, warmth, empathy, intuition, mystery, and compassion. As hoteliers use new methods and allow the spirit and the feelings created to be intensified more and more, genuine 6+-star levels can be created, and the possibility of even higher star-levels will gradually appear.
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