Service quality can be defined differently, however, when it comes to thinking about service quality in hotels, it is necessary to look at the big picture. In my earlier days as a hotelier, I made the mistake of exclusively focusing on the technical quality of service our staff provided throughout the guest’s stay. In other words, I sheerly focused on staff-guest interactions.
While that notion may be true, experience taught me that I needed to broaden my perspective quickly and look at other important factors if I wanted to grow in my career. There are many factors that come into play that allow staff to provide quality service.
Providing high quality service is all about exceeding the customer’s expectations and making them feel like they got their money’s worth. It boils down to making them feel good and building the customers confidence in your hotel.
This is known as customer satisfaction, which is based on feelings. Although we’ve placed tremendous importance on improving the level of customer satisfaction and measuring it, service quality does not seem like such an intangible concept. In fact, there are different measurement instruments, systems and definitions of what service quality actually is.
One is certain: Excellent quality service is a fundamental pillar in hospitality because of the major impact it has on all levels of the business.
The hospitality industry is a highly competitive marketplace that relies on word-of-mouth to build a reputation and to build customer loyalty. Websites like TripAdvisor have changed the game and, during COVID-19 times, the hotel industry cannot afford a single negative review.
Service quality plays an irreplaceable role in many industries, such as hotel or tech companies. These industries strive to build better and high level rapport with their customers because service is a unique signature that strongly affects perception. Sometimes, it’s the only thing that differentiates one competitor from another.
Luckily, tools like ALICE exist to capture guest events, such as hotel guests feedback. With our feedback logbook, you are able to track both constructive and reinforcing feedback, as well as quantify the amount of money that goes into guest compensation with our reporting.
An important question is how do you measure quality? While there are plenty of tools out there to measure quality, I’d like to give a short, concise version to get a simple point across. Hotels traditionally rely on comment cards, online surveys, TripAdvisor reviews to measure NPS.
This is also a means to co-relate these results directly with an employee’s performance. Any feedback from a guest is a gift – but the downside here is receiving it when it’s too late to do anything about it. This is also another place where ALICE can help to track this information during guest-staff interactions.
After doing some research on this subject, here are a few factors to think about to improve service quality and how ALICE can really help:
1. Prioritize training
Make sure to fit staff training into your budget and invest time and money in it. This is crucial because in the long run this will minimize mistakes and increase cost reduction. Correct training will also come across through your successful hotel and team!
Training is not only about attending one-off sessions or learning protocols. It’s a continuous effort. Every day comes with training opportunities and management should embrace these opportunities to reward or coach their team.
As hotel management, your responsibility also entails putting the right tools in place. For example, ALICE’s guest feedback logbook is a nifty tool to praise and coach your staff to become better hoteliers.
To provide some context on a financial level, guest recovery is the primary reason why a hotel loses money. For some properties, guest compensation represents a 30%-40% loss. Make sure your staff feels prepared for these encounters.
2. Personalize your guests’ stay
Everyone wants to feel special, so your priority should be to allow your guests to feel it. Keeping track of guest preferences; calling them by their name; and showing genuine interest in their requests is what hospitality is all about. Understanding and listening to your guests are your tools to create “wow” moments, which lead to glowing reviews and – fun fact – a happy hormone called oxytocin for the hotelier. It’s a win-win for everyone.
3. Maintain your building’s physical facilities
Service quality also includes the ability to upkeep the property’s facilities appropriately. Having a strong maintenance team, along with a preventative maintenance program goes a long way. To say it simply, guests want what they pay for no matter their age or background. This is certainly a way to proactively prevent guest compensation, as well.
4. Invest in hotel technology
Technology makes the business scalable – especially during a global pandemic. Technology can never replace a human’s touch, but with that acknowledged it absolutely can make the operation more efficient when you have leaner staff.
Remember, the guest’s experience starts before physically stepping onto your property. Things like having a user-friendly website; having multiple channels of communication available; tracking pre-arrival requests; managing those requests set the mood for a guest's stay.
Having a system like ALICE Guest Services allows you to proactively track guest feedback. This ultimately allows you more time, bandwidth, and money to provide the kind of guest recovery that turns your guest’s frown into a smile.
ALICE Messaging also offers multiple channels of communication with the guest. This includes email or text message; ALICE Service Delivery can also track and task manage guest requests before, during and after the guest’s stay. It’s a tool fit to satisfy current needs for every hotel segment.
With increasing work from home environments, ALICE is a cloud-based tool – no clunky installations are involved here. Welcome to the future!
5. Don’t be afraid to learn, adapt, evolve and experiment
Businesses are in a real need to adapt to new market trends. Stay ahead by staying updated and current to everything from technology to global events.
Strong service quality enhances customer satisfaction, which not only translates to a better revenue stream or less financial losses, but also to a happier environment for your staff, as well as guests. The goal in hospitality is to make guests feel at home, away from their home. ALICE can be that crucial tool that allows for your guests to easily have a positive, well-rounded stay.
Schedule a demo today to learn more about how ALICE can help your hotel’s service quality!