5 tips to meaningfully connect to guests

(Connecting to guests meaningfully)

Your hotel is great. Your staff is wonderful, and that recent renovation looks amazing. But what if I told you that no matter how amazing your hotel may be, that’s not the number one concern of your guests?

Say what?

I don’t mean to imply they don’t love you. But the love they have for you is secondary. It’s like how my wife thinks about me: 'Sure, I’m awesome, (I am awesome, right?), but the kids will always and eternally come first.' And, I’m OK with that, since it is the natural order of the universe.

It’s the same in the hotel industry: Outside of select resort hotels, your customers are only thinking about you once they have made the decision to come to your city. And the guest is also focused more on being close to where they ultimately need to be. So, thinking about the specific hotel is actually third on the list. Still, like my marriage, the cat is ahead of me, too.

As an industry, we must fully absorb this reality, because if we don’t, both our room pricing structure and ability to ultimately serve the guest will be compromised. No matter how terrific you and your hotel are, it’ll always play second fiddle to the trip purpose.

Why, then, are we so overwhelmingly consumed with only things relevant to the actual stay? It’s time to consider this truism and adapt the stay experience to fit within these new norms.

I recently wrote about the new rules of authenticity and experience; I now want to provide some tips that will connect you even closer to customers, and get them to remember your hotel first and foremost if and when they come back your way again.

  1. Always come from a position of authenticity. Connections only work when you truly care. Faking never works.
  2. Practice active listening when you talk to your customers and colleagues. If you are married to a woman, then you already practice this at home. People respond to those who truly listen to what they have to say. Focus on listening more than you talk, and you'll quickly become known as someone who can be trusted. That creates more positive memories because your guest will associate your hotel with those positive feelings and will subconsciously trust your hotel is better than others.
  3. Focus on an ultimate state of positivity. Being a positive spirit connects you to others. Plus, it’s attractive, contagious and strengthens your relationships with both colleagues and guests. Don’t be a Debbie Downer, no one wants to be around negative people
  4. Show appreciation. Everyone wants to feel appreciated, especially hotel guests. When we genuinely compliment people around us, it sends out positive vibes.
  5. Pay ridiculous attention. Talking about the weather is simply filler, it is easily digestible but not memorable conversation. It’s just blather that takes up time but has no meaning. Instead, ask in-depth questions and learn what matters to your guests. This will connect them more to the property.

Follow these tips and you’ll not only win repeat business, but my hunch is your quality service scores will also soar.

What do you think? Email me at [email protected] or on Twitter and Instagram @TravelingGlenn and share your stories.

Glenn Haussman is editor-at-large for HOTEL MANAGEMENT. His views expressed are not necessarily those of HOTEL MANAGEMENT, its parent company Questex Media Group, and/or its subsidiaries.