It’s a sunny morning in the garden and I am lounging on a cushioned deck chair watching butterflies flitting from flower to flower. There’s a tall drink next to me, the smell of a climbing rose in the air and my thoughts are free to roam from the delicious lunch being prepared to the afternoon massage I intend to have. I take a deep, contented breath and smile.
Unfortunately, not much of that is true but my point here was to get you to want to be where I am, because apparently, in the world of the social web, that’s how you get more shares. And it really does make sense that the more you make people dream or wish to be at your hotel, the more engagement you are going to get. You can read about it in Daniel Edward Craig’s new article How to Generate More Reviews, Followers and Engagement on the Social Web.
How Will I Feel at Your Hotel?
What are the experiences your hotel offers? If you described what it was like to sit by your pool, or have a drink in your hotel bar, what would that description sound like? Would it be a rhapsody of fragrant blooms, soft, thick towels and cascading water, or a dirge of rising damp, disinfectant and fake greenery?
Whether you have an online presence or not, it is a valuable exercise to find out how guests experience your property, rather than simply focussing on the look of different areas and amenities. Use your senses to guide you, keeping in mind that a truly pleasurable experience engages more than one of the senses at a time.
Separating the Experience from the Look
Gordon James Gorman over at the Avari Towers in Karachi gave us some invaluable experiential advice this week in The Avari Towers’ 5@5 Cleanliness Approach. Each evening at 5pm, he gets four other senior directors to accompany him (he’s the GM) on an inspect ion of five rooms at random. The rooms are reported on and any required changes followed up. This quintet of managers is visible for staff and guests alike and sends a clear message that the senior level believes wholeheartedly in cleanliness and room maintenance.
Taking this approach of experiencing a room or an amenity from a guest’s perspective (the toughest critic) is an essential part of maintaining standards so that guest expectations may be met. Take it a step further from time to time – write about it. Find the good writers amongst your staff and get some experiences down in writing to use on the social web. Reward a staff member with an hour by the pool or drinks and snacks at the bar with the proviso that they write about what it was like. Some guests find it difficult to interact with a new environment and by creating description-rich content for your online site, you will be giving them not only access to your beautiful property, but the means with which to enjoy it.
We seem to live increasingly in a mindset where only looks matter. As long as it looks good, it is good. Appearances are maintained even at the expense of comfort and pleasurable experience. Think back to when you last really enjoyed yourself at a hotel and you will find that yes, the look of the place was part of the reason, but the real enjoyment was found in the experiences that the hotel afforded you. Help your guests to find those experiences and they won’t forget it.
About Anne Edwards
Anne Edwards combines her love of language, travel, and different cultures as Editor in Chief of ehotelier.com. Prior to this position, Anne lectured in Cross Cultural Studies at the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School in Australia and currently consults to the Australian Federal Government on subjects such as Leadership and Building Productive Partnerships. Anne has travelled and worked internationally for twelve years, holding various positions in the field of education, most notably as linguistic advisor to the Crown Princess of Thailand for two years where she sampled some of the best hotels in the world. Her love for travel spans the freedom of wandering on a shoe-string budget to the finest standards of service in world-class properties. As Editor in Chief of one of the largest hotel news sites in the world, Anne has a birds-eye view of what is happening in the industry internationally.