Your Customers Are Sweating the Details…
The weather was cold. It was raining…and miserable. The plane was late. The hotel shuttle driver had left for the night. The cab driver was surly. I was worse.
Get the picture?
To top it off, I was about to experience the five things hotel operators have yet…after only a couple of thousand years… to master.
Hassle-free check-in. Hoteliers have not quite dialed in the check-in procedure. Why does check-in still require a couple of hundred key strokes? Why not take address information just once, when I make my reservation? And couldn’t a computer fill in the frequent guest information automatically?
A comfortable night’s sleep. Why do you allow housekeepers to set the air conditioning to sub-zero temperatures? I want to sleep, not butcher a hog! And why do you let housekeepers tuck both top and bottom sheets under the mattress? When the guest pulls back the top sheet, the bottom sheet naturally follows and a good night’s sleep turns into a wrestling match.
Temperature, anyone? A 6-inch thick down duvet sounds elegant and looks lovely but, inside of ten minutes, your guests have begun to puddle. The only salvation is to pretend you are a housekeeper and lower the thermostat back down to zero. Talk about wasting energy!
I want a breakfast menu! You want a what? Yes, I want a breakfast menu. I want a menu because I refuse to eat the cold, over-cooked eggs from the buffet. I’m going to order an omelet — and stand there to watch that you don’t begin by pouring a cup of oil into the pan. I’m going to watch that you don’t press all the air out of the near-finished product. And if you can’t tell when eggs have taken all the heat and abuse they can stand, I’m going to politely hand over my breakfast and then back slowly away from the omelet station so no one gets hurt. (You should have hired the kid from Denny’s!)
Meet me in the ballroom? They call them ‘ballrooms’ for a reason. They are great places to dine and dance but they are crappy places to hold meetings. The biggest offense is lighting, especially when several rooms are combined. And where do they situate the speaker? Right in the middle where the air walls ride on tracks in the ceiling! There is almost no light! Does it make sense to you to put the speaker where there is no light on his or her face? (I could write a book about how to turn a ballroom into a great meeting space but what hotelier would take the time to read it? Instead they spend time wondering why the meetings business is floundering. In fairness, many times you are only responding to the directions of your customer who often has had zero training in planning a conference. BUT you should know better and offer advice to save them from themselves.)
The hospitality business is nearly as old as mankind. You would think we would have mastered the fundamentals.
Thinking Point: What unrecognized fundamentals are shaping your industry and what might be the result if you really did master them?