What are the secrets of an authentic and memorable welcome?
Societal and environmental changes today call for the creation of new approaches to improve and recreate the hospitality experience. In the tourism and hospitality sector, which has become very competitive, each hotel is looking for new innovative practices to provide a memorable welcome to each client, exceeding their needs and surprising them with each visit to the destination.
Experts and managers have revealed three fundamental points that make it possible to truly offer a better welcome, by adapting to customer needs and the environment The first impression is crucial The arrival is capital. This starts already outside the hotel and, of course, as soon as the customer walks through the lobby door. He then enters “his hotel”, “his home”, “his house”. At this privileged moment, everything must be designed to bring to life a range of positive emotions, as personalized as possible and in an atmosphere of luxury. The design and layout of the lobby must therefore be reworked to obtain a contemporary lobby, which channels the promise of the hotel, makes the connection with the external environment and ensures the comfort of the customers, in its design, its atmosphere and the rooms. offered services.
The reception staff should also offer, through their qualities and skills, an exceptional and warm welcome, and above all authentic, in order to reach customers well beyond the tone, the verbal that translates elegance and luxury.
Create the “wow” effect in all touchpoints
The main objective is to surprise and delight guests at all points of contact, constantly offering a subtle balance of excellence, discretion and recognition. The staff in direct contact are the real added value of the hotel, as they are in close contact with guests from their arrival until their departure.
Luxury hotels therefore prefer more and more to have their own staff throughout the journey, rather than outsourcing this reception. Many luxury chains now have their own fleet of vehicles and limousines, their airport representatives, their drivers and their butlers … The advantage of this solution is to be able to train them and offer an even more personalized welcome and conveying the hotel values.
Creativity is also essential in making the guest feel expected and wanted. And to convey to them this feeling of pride which is fundamental because the customers “want to feel proud to be a customer” in their favorite hotel, and to have the personal conviction “that it is made for them” and that they obtain here a unique personalized welcome.
A lasting trend emerging in luxury today is that of “less is more”. It seems that the guests, despite their great financial ease which would allow all the follies, want to live simple and authentic experiences.
The enchantment of customers does not come at the cost of exuberant spending, wasting a lot of money owning material goods, or having a fortuitous moment of happiness that vanishes like a mirage. All of this does not give the lasting joy that fills hearts. In addition, there are often few surprises, with wealthy clients having all of his experiences in their luxurious comfort on a daily basis. So the secret is to do extraordinary many ordinary things.
That is to say, through simple gestures, recreate the human bonds and the emotions that give meaning and touch deeply because they unexpectedly target the real need of the customer.
One example recounted is that of a client who was staying at a large luxury hotel in Bali, with access to all of the excellent services. As she was walking one morning in the gardens with her friend, she had been struck by the scent of an exotic flower. The gardener in the grove had spotted this exchange and passed the information on to the janitors. And every morning during her stay, she found in her room a bouquet of these flowers, specially picked for her.
Co-creation of local and authentic experiences
What also touches customers is having an “extraordinary” experience, something that they cannot achieve in their everyday life. Innovative hospitality practices are those that are out of step with the standards of comfort and luxury services, because they are capable of surprising the customer. For example, all the experiences that call for immersion in the environment, in a rare and unusual way: being greeted with a paraglider flight, or in a very rare luxury collector’s car. Or to put the room back as it was during their last stay, or create unique experiences with the local population: bake bread with the artisan baker of the village, make pottery with a craftsman, eat traditional dishes with a local family, prepare a simple picnic on the beach with fishermen.
Save time and pay the right price
Finally, a last important point is to always allow the client to save his time to relax and meet up. Saving time has become a great luxury in their very stressful world. A good reception in the hotel industry is therefore first of all to know how to manage all their constraints to let them relax and take this time for themselves and their family. This is called “discretionary time”, meaning the time found where they can do something other than work, be in constant demand or manage administrative tasks.
New affluent customers have also become more pragmatic in their spending. Asian travelers for example, and the younger generation, no longer want to be abused and only pay the right price. Excesses are allowed, but on condition that you obtain a reception with real added value. Faced with the plethora of offers, they now feel they are entitled to everything, from the moment they pay for their “all-inclusive” luxury stay.