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How new science provides the gateway to creating unknown levels of guest experience
The science upon which even the luxury hotel guest service experience is based is essentially obsolete. This includes that provided by the top international chains, which may feel that they are above criticism. Hoteliers have got so used to the feeling and appearance of the guest service experience that most probably cannot imagine anything better than what they see at the 5-star level. (I include the 7-star hotels in this level incidentally.)
There is a world of guest experience possibilities that can be created by incorporating new scientific discoveries, but the influence of traditional ideas and approaches is just so strong that the hotel industry is stuck in a rut. Do you honestly believe that the guest service experience you see in 5-star hotels represents the ultimate in human capacity? It is merely like the appearance of the sun on a dusty and dirty mirror compared to the real sun. Chain hoteliers blindly follow their corporate systems and guidance, but they must surely feel instinctively that something is missing and that something is wrong.
A major weakness of the hospitality industry's concept of outstanding service is that it is based so much on the premise that you create it by training and retraining staff in knowledge and procedures until the staff provide it to guests with as close to 100% efficiency as possible. This deficient concept is perpetuated, reinforced, and cloned globally by the corporate offices of the ever-expanding international brands, which ignore the discoveries of the many branches of new science and stick as stubbornly as super glue to the traditional ideas and beliefs of their founding fathers.
I will choose just one area of new science to give you an idea of how the guest service experience can be transformed. There are so many to choose from. By synthesizing these discoveries with certain Chinese traditions and techniques, amongst others, you can create a guest experience that will embarrass and shake to their very foundation even the so-called 7-star hotels. These hotels especially should pay attention because they should not be giving themselves this star level if they are merely following the traditional approach to staff training and development and are not incorporating the discoveries of new science.
The Body's Heart Energy Field
To get an idea of the kind of guest experience that can be created you need to know a little of what science has discovered about the human heart and its electromagnetic field. By applying this knowledge you can create a guest experience of a completely different nature. If you have a family, you should apply it at home as it creates a very loving and caring spirit there.
A guiding principle of hotel training is the obsolete belief that conscious awareness originates in the brain alone. As a result, training methods and systems focus on training staff to carry out SOPs expertly as it is believed that this will create optimal performance and happiness in the guests. But recent scientific research has shown that the heart plays a particularly significant role in the process of conscious awareness. This has huge implications for the hotel industry, if any corporate office has the will to take any notice. As the following shows, the result of this is that the left-brain approach to creating the guest experience through training and retraining knowledge and SOPs is totally inadequate in creating a truly memorable guest experience, even though it is the norm. It effectively makes the cloning approach of the chains fit for the Museum of Hospitality.
Science now understands that the heart is a highly complex system with its own functional "brain". Research in the new field of neurocardiology shows that the heart is a sensory organ and a complex center for receiving, processing, and sending out information through neurals as well as in the form of electromagnetic energy. The nervous system within the heart (or "heart brain") enables it to learn, remember, and make functional decisions independent of the brain's cerebral cortex. In addition to the extensive neural communication network linking the heart with the brain and body, the heart also communicates information to the brain and throughout the body via electromagnetic field interactions as well as beyond it.
The heart produces an electromagnetic field that can be detected several feet from the individual. It is an energy field that extends around the body and can be seen with the eye with practice. People feel the electromagnetic energy vibrations given out by people consciously or unconsciously, and this fact is very important when creating the guest experience. The electromagnetic field of a person who exudes love, care, warmth, and compassion, for example, gives out high frequency vibrations while staff who are just doing their job of carrying out SOPs will give out low frequency energy. Low frequency vibrations do not make the guest experience feel special at all while high frequency vibrations do.
A left brain approach to training will create low frequency energy. The processes involved in creating the typical chain hotel SOP-Customer satisfaction create low frequency energy. The "heart brain" of the guests will register this low frequency energy, and the guest experience will be perceived in line with the heart's processing of the energy received. The same happens if the staff member's energy field is sending out high frequency energy, which creates good feelings in the guests.
Fortunately, the frequency of the vibrations can be changed according to the focus of the training. This is the gateway to creating levels of guest experience that go beyond the current star levels. Energy is the new and unexplored frontier for the hotel industry. The means to a complete transformation of the hotel guest service experience. But is there anyone listening?
Hotels should not expect the corporate offices of the big chains to take the lead because they won't.
The heart generates the body's most powerful and most extensive rhythmic electromagnetic field. Compared to the electromagnetic field produced by the brain, the electrical component of the heart's field is about 60 times greater in amplitude, and permeates every cell in the body. The magnetic component is approximately 5,000 times stronger than the brain's magnetic field and can be detected several feet away from the body with sensitive magnetometers.
By changing the focus of training you can change the frequency and intensity of the electromagnetic energy given out so that guests can feel it. The more you develop in the staff the spiritual values of hospitality, the more the staff will give out high frequency energy. If training and development activities multiply the focus on creating the desire to show love, care, empathy, warmth, and compassion, the energy field of the staff will give out high frequency energy that other people find pleasant to experience. If the focus is on the SOPs and knowledge, and ordinary corporate care training programmes, then the frequency will be much lower.
Research shows that information about a person's emotional and spiritual condition is communicated throughout and outside the body via the heart's electromagnetic field. The rhythmic beating patterns of the heart change significantly as we experience different emotions and become stronger in spiritual values, such as love and compassion. Negative emotions, such as anger, boredom, unhappiness, or frustration, are associated with an erratic, disordered, incoherent pattern in the heart's rhythms. In contrast, positive emotions, such as love or genuine heartwarming care, are associated with a smooth, ordered, coherent pattern in the heart's rhythmic activity. In turn, these changes in the heart's beating patterns create corresponding changes in the structure of the electromagnetic field radiated by the heart. The more you develop the spiritual values of hospitality in the staff, the more the electromagnetic field will give out the kind of energy that makes the guests feel happy.
The kind of guest experience that can be created is one that the chain hotels cannot create at present as their focus is on creating efficiency in product knowledge and SOPs. If the balance of the training and development activities is changed radically to include an intensive focus on developing the spiritual qualities of the staff, on removing negative energy, on ways to attract and send love energy, on synchronizing the heart and brain, etc., the heart's electromagnetic field of each member of staff can be changed so that the frequency of the vibrating energy they give out becomes higher frequency. As this happens, the vibrations will affect the guests more and more in a positive way. But realistically, can anyone imagine someone in the corporate boardrooms of the major chains saying, "We need to increase the spirit of love and compassion in our hotels!" The person would be ridiculed and probably fired.
Most people think of social communication solely in terms of signals expressed through language, voice qualities, gestures, facial expressions, and body movements. However, there is now evidence that a subtle yet influential electromagnetic or "energetic" communication system operates just below our conscious awareness. Energetic interactions contribute to the "magnetic" attractions or repulsions that occur between individuals, and also affect social exchanges and relationships. Moreover, it appears that the heart's field plays an important role in communicating physiological, psychological, and social information between individuals.
Experiments have found remarkable evidence that the heart's electromagnetic field can transmit information between people. Scientists have been able to measure an exchange of heart energy between individuals up to five feet apart. They have also found that one person's brain waves can actually synchronize to another person's heart. Furthermore, when an individual is generating a coherent heart rhythm, synchronization between that person's brain waves and another person's heartbeat is more likely to occur. These findings have intriguing implications, suggesting that individuals in what is called a psychophysiologically coherent state become more aware of the information encoded in the heart fields of those around them.
The results of these experiments have led scientists to infer that the nervous system acts as an "antenna," which is tuned to and responds to the electromagnetic fields produced by the hearts of other individuals. Scientists believe this capacity for exchange of energetic information is an innate ability that heightens awareness and mediates important aspects of true empathy and sensitivity to others. Furthermore, it has been shown that this energetic communication ability can be intentionally enhanced, producing a much deeper level of nonverbal communication, understanding, and connection between people. Can you see the implications here for the hospitality industry? It also completely invalidates the current concept of 7-stars.
These discoveries, which are really little more that confirmation of some Chinese traditions and techniques, should have every corporate office member leaping up and down with joy, but I suspect that instead of spending the next year or two of economic doldrums transforming the way they create the guest service experience, they will instead ignore it and come out of the global economic crisis with the loudspeakers in their corridors still pumping forth, "SOPs and Customer Satisfaction rule! OK!" To be quite honest, I don't think that there is the desire in the corporate offices of the big international chains to change. The focus seems to be on creating behemoth hotel groups to increase the shareholder value. Besides, the hotel chains are perfectly organized to create the SOP-Customer Satisfaction guest experience, and to change to incorporate science would be so much trouble.
So, is there any point in writing this article? Actually, yes. It serves as a warning to those that think they are untouchable and that they can ignore the inevitable winds of change that science has brought. As has happened in numerous industries, change will come from the minnows in the hotel industry who are interested in such ideas and in the vast and beautiful array of ways to implement them to create unknown levels of guest experience. Science has so much to contribute to taking the guest experience to levels unknown or thought impossible.
Instead, I suspect that the large hotel groups will feel that they are untouchable and that nothing needs to be changed. Indeed, you can see this spirit in the surreal and seemingly censored blog of one major American hotel chain. As the minnows experiment with the discoveries of science and create a reputation for new levels of guest experience that the chains cannot match, the chains will try to change, but I don't see them adapting in time because they are just too big and too rigid in their ways, and because I don't think anyone in their corridors of power is going to dare to propose the radical changes that they will need to make, especially now. They will eventually be bought up and broken up. Their systems are so fixed in stone that it will be simpler to start all over again rather than to change them.
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