Tag Archives: meaningful

Are You Focused On Your Guest Experience?

Book Cover "The Customer of the Future", Author Blake Morgan, Big Data, Feedback

 

Guest experience should be at the top of your hospitality priority list. According to Blake Morgan, in her book The Customer of the Future, how we make people feel has a significant impact on their perception of us. Moreover, today’s customers prefer to interact with companies that make their lives easier and better.


Focus on Guest Experience and Happiness

In fact, research suggests that people find more lasting happiness from investing in experiences than in buying things. A “guest experience mindset” occurs when every decision the company makes is based on what is best for the customer. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos recognized the importance of this when he stated, “If we start to focus on ourselves, instead of focusing on our customers, it will be the beginning of the end.” Thus, the guest should be at the heart of everything your B&B inn does.

5 Qualities of Guest Experience Focused Leader

  • Energy for influencing change: positive attitude, genuine, high standards, efficient, motivated, caring, organized, and effective communication
  • Neighborly: listening, approachable, flexible, humble, showing empathy, going the extra mile
  • Good judgment: sound decision making, forward thinking, strategic, inspiring greatness in others
  • Problem solving: creativity, innovation, clever solutions
  • Consistent say/do ratio: transparent, honest, trustworthy, committed, integrity

A Zero-Friction Customer Experience

According to the book, your goal should be a zero-friction customer experience for your guests. Companies succeed when they figure out efficient ways to solve common problems. For instance, focus on how you can continue to create a more seamlessly efficient process. These means accommodating the needs of your guests, solving their problems, and asking questions to determine ways to overcome challenges.

When guests first enter your accommodations, make sure their experience is pleasant. In addition, identify the added services you can create to make their stay even more attractive as well as to encourage return visits.

Stays Should Be Meaningful and Memorable

The hospitality industry is changing quickly. Therefore, accommodation providers should make a traveler’s stay both more meaningful and more memorable. According to Sharon Cohen, Vice-President of the Fairmont Hotels Brand, they ask two fundamental questions:

  • What are our guests telling us?
  • What needs have yet to be articulated?

Role of Technology in the Guest Experience

Of course, technology is an important asset in helping to bring the guest experience mindset to life. Chief Experience and Innovation Officer, John Padgett, designed magic bands for guests of Carnival Cruise Lines’ Ocean Medallion. Moreover, this includes 7,000 sensors and 4,000 digital interaction points.

The magic bands track passengers’ movements on the ship (helps them locate loved ones); makes personalized recommendations of what to eat and do; lets passengers charge purchases throughout their time aboard; allows guests to lock and unlock rooms, turn lights on and off, adjust room temperatures; and much more. Thus, this provides a more seamless guest experience.

Customer Feedback and Personalization

It makes sense that customer feedback is critical to finding out what your customers like and want from you. In fact, studies show that guests would gladly give up some data to a trusted company in exchange for a desirable customer experience. According to author Blake Morgan, “personalization” allows businesses to treat their guests more like people and less like wallets. The key is to focus on guests, designing great experiences specific to their needs, and telling amazing stories about them.

Measurements Lead to Better Decisions

However, if you can’t measure something, you can’t improve it. That’s why analytics is so important. Analytics is the discovery, interpretation, and communication of meaningful patterns of data, and the process of applying those patterns toward effective decision making.

The Customer of the Future book describes “customer centricity” as focusing on a small group of your most valuable clients and surrounding them with relevant options. In other words, find your best customers. Then, look for ways to expand your relationship with them. Analytics helps companies to be better listeners, provide more relevant experiences, and be where their guests need them. What does the information you have about your guests tell you?

Real-Time Offers and Customer Loyalty

This book asks what real-time offers can you make your customer? How can you better meet your guests’ needs throughout their experience? They recommend that businesses create special programs for their most loyal customers. How could you apply this to your hospitality business? What program could you develop for your biggest fans? For example, perhaps you can create an incentive program for frequent stays and guest referrals.

Guest Journeys and Customized Communication

Think about your guests’ journey and the relevance of your communications with them. Why are they coming? What is their story? How can you give them a better guest experience? According to Blake Morgan, there is no one definition for customer experience and no “one-size-fits all” approach. Thus, we must be looking for ways to connect with our guests in a more personal way. In conclusion, companies that create an amazing guest experience make it their intention to do so.

 

This Is How Powerful Signature Stories Attract More Business

book cover Creating Signature Stories, signature of Picasso, What's Your Story written in chalk

 

Powerful signature stories come from telling stories with a strategic message. They are powerful because they attract more business to you. This post features the book, Creating Signature Stories: Strategic Messaging That Persuades, Energizes, and Inspires by David Aaker.

Why Stories?

Stories are much easier to remember than facts. They also apply meaning to facts. They tell you why you should care about something. Stories make your messages come alive. Stories allow you to gain exposure, activate social media, and be remembered.

Communicating strategic messages can be difficult in this age of information overload. Stories provide interest, add authenticity, and raise credibility. The story’s heroes and plot become the focus. Stories provide a way to break through distractions and disinterest. Audiences take notice when stories are told.

Signature stories are an enduring asset continuing to provide direction. A strategic message to your audience. Stories are narratives that portray actual or fictitious events and experiences. Signature stories grab attention, support a strategic message that clarifies or enhances the brand vision, customer relationship, organizational values, and/or present and future business strategy.

Criteria of Stories

Stories stimulate work-of-mouth communication both personal and via social media. Signature stories must meet four criteria:

  • Be intriguing or fascinating: the story needs to grab attention
  • Be authentic: authenticity means the audience does not perceive the story to be phony, contrived, or as a transparent effort to sell
  • Are involving: means the audience is drawn into the story, empathizes with characters, the plot becomes important, and it encourages a cognitive, emotional and/or behavior response
  • Have a strategic message: connects the brand to the signature story

6 Ways Brands Can Connect Their Message to Stories

According to Mr. Aaker, there are several ways the brand can connect their message to the signature story. I list the book’s example along with a way for hospitality businesses to apply the same method.

  • Brand as hero: when you recall the story you recall the brand
    • Example: Blendtec company has popular “Will it blend?” videos with unusual items to put in a blender (one of the most popular was them blending an i-pod!)
    • B&B Application: have a photo contest on Facebook, encouraging followers to post pictures related to a theme (such as nature) and offer one free night’s stay for two at your inn (or some other meaningful reward) to the picture that best captures what you are looking for (be sure to specify the rules in advance and you may want to appoint outside judges to determine the winner)
  • Brand surrogate as hero: the hero can be something very close to the brand
    • Example: Budweiser Clydesdale stories (horses are an accepted symbol of the brand)
    • B&B Application: tie something related to your name into your advertising and/or logo (Rosemary House Bed and Breakfast in Pittsboro, North Carolina has an image of rosemary spice in their logo, the herb of friendship and remembrance)
  • Story reflects passion of customer base: a shared value
    • Example: the Molson brand demonstrated their passion for hockey by building an ice rink in the mountains
    • B&B Application: share pictures of projects (renovations, gardening, etc.) that you completed at your inn in social media (and mention how beneficial staying at your place is for people who also like to work hard)
  • Supporting programs that carry brand name: events that have special meaning
    • Example: Avon’s Walk to End Breast Cancer (featuring personal stories about the event)
    • B&B Application: become a sponsor of a local event so your name is listed in its promotion (it’s more meaningful if you have a personal connection to the event)
  • Prominent display of brand as a story sponsor: putting the brand name on the story
    • Example: the Always brand is prominent during their stories
    • B&B Application: become featured in a magazine and share stories of people in your local community who make a difference in the lives of others (and share how you came to know this person)
  • Adjacent communication: stories featured alongside the brand
    • Example: Charles Schwab commercials played alongside the “Person Who Changed My Life” stories
    • B&B Application: (with each guests’ permission) write a blog post featuring meaningful stories told to you by your guests (you do not have to share their last name) and connect it to your inn

Benefits of Telling Signature Stories

Powerful signature stories take stories to the next level. They are persuasive, inspiring, and they stimulate others to act. Signature stories elevate brands and they persuade without lecturing. Signature stories can help change the conversation when a brand is in a crisis. Signature stories are vehicles to promote the strategic message. Aaker states that an organization must be story friendly.

Do you use storytelling to promote your hospitality business? If so, please comment below.

 

Experiences Are More Valuable Than Things

blue United State passport book stick out of black luggage pocket

 

 

It turns out that experiences are more valuable than things. Since most people are in the pursuit of happiness, hospitality owners can promote to potential guests/patrons the benefits of experiences over just things.

 

People assume that because materials things last longer than experiences, that things will increase our happiness more than so than experiences (such as dining out, vacationing, and attending a concert). However, because experiences only last a short time, that makes us value and savor them even more.

Over time, people’s satisfaction with things they bought quickly fades (since we get used to having them) while over time, people’s satisfaction with experiences they spent money on increases (since we are thankful for those wonderful opportunities and fond memories).

We get used to having new things, so we keep raising the bar to want more and more. There will always be someone out there with something better than we have.

Alternatively, “stuffocation” is a term used to define the concept of being stressed out from the build-up of junk we will never use. That is why there has been an increasing interest in “minimalism” which means owning less but valuing it more because we only keep and use (or enjoy) what we really love.

Experiences can be more life-changing than things. They introduce us to new perspectives, we learn life lessons, and we express gratitude easier. Memories live on. Experiences can become part of our identity (for example, completing a marathon is a very meaningful event). Experiences can help define our purpose and passions which shapes our lives.

Experiences cannot be quantified and they live on forever. Also, because we can share experiences with others, they become part of stories we recall with them later. Possessions do not contribute to social relationships.

In fact, we are less likely to negatively compare our own experiences to someone else’s than we would with material purchases. Moreover, while material things add to our routines, experiences allow us to take a break from them.

Anticipation of experiences causes excitement and enjoyment while anticipation for material things causes impatience. Since our lives are an accumulation of events, it makes sense that experiences have a greater impact on us and are more valuable than things.

Places of hospitality can place an emphasis on the quality experiences their guests will cherish forever since experiences are more valuable than things:

  • Enjoying the local cuisine
  • Going on fun adventures
  • Making fond memories with loved ones
  • Marveling at the beauty of nature
  • Seeing new places and learning about different cultures

5 Ways to Attract More Attention Online

5 ways to attract attention

 

 

What can we do to grab the attention of the online world and become more visible to our internet audience?  These are five ways we can attract more attention online.

1) Words–The words we use really help determine our online visibility.  In the online world, fresh content is everything.  We need to make a list of keywords we want associated with us and our brand.  We should consistently use those keywords in our content.

 

 

 

2) Actions–Ever hear the phrase, “What we do speaks louder than what we say“? People observe others. Whether we want them to or not, people see actions as well as lack of taking action.  For example, if we consistently receive the same negative comments online, then we know we need to take action.  This is not the time for us to ignore it and hope it goes away! We should appreciate comments and respond to both positive and negative feedback.

3) Formatting–People like easy to read content.  Most people don’t read word for word online. They like to scan the page.

  • Use bullet points
  • Add numbers
  • Offer descriptive subheadings
  • Make important text bold
  • etc.

4) Links–We should provide links to other places in our website/blog as well as outside resources. This goes a long way in showing others that we like to be helpful and provide useful information. We are more likely to be seen as leaders on our subjects.

5) Get visual–Images and videos attract eyeballs.  People notice meaningful pictures.  Pinterest is a great visual social media platform that literally has billions of pins.

We should ask ourselves, “What does my target audience like to see online?”  When we see things from their perspective, we can be more creative.  Are we using the right keywords?  Are we taking appropriate action? Does our formatting make our content easy to read?  Have we provided great links?  Have we featured attention-getting images or video? When we can say yes to all five questions, we will attract more attention online!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography