How often have you stayed at hotels either on business or for pleasure? What is it that you’re looking for from your stay?

I often stay at hotels for work and less often with my family and I have a relatively straightforward list of needs when it comes to what I’m looking for from my stay and would imagine most of the things on my list would match across to yours too, so here goes:-

  1. All areas of the hotel need to be clean
  2. My room and especially my bed, needs to be comfortable
  3. It needs to have tea and coffee making facilities
  4. A choice of TV channels
  5. A nice restaurant with a varied menu and good quality food
  6. Have friendly and helpful staff
  7. Be relatively quiet

On reflection I can look back over my hotel experiences and tick each and every one of these off, but to a varied degree of quality. It’s these expectations that I’ve set myself which are reasonably achieved by the hotels I’ve stayed in and which are prerequisites for me in terms of being able to rate my stay as adequate.

What I came to realise is that when it comes to hotel stays, oftentimes they can easily meet these minimum standards, the real test of a hotels service is what they do when things aren’t quite right, how do they rectify their shortfalls, what do they do? It’s only when you receive service over and above the norm that you recognise what great service is when it comes to hospitality. I only came to this conclusion very recently when I stayed at The Hilton in Blackpool. For those of you unfamiliar with the hotel itself, it has a prime location overlooking the sea in a quieter part of the town. It has a fairly standard layout but the staff are exceptionally friendly and helpful.

On this occasion I’d had a very bad journey down to Blackpool, having been stuck on the M6 in a road closure for 3 hours in unusually hot weather with temperatures in the high twenties and two teenage children and my husband along with me on the journey. When I got to the hotel I was naturally looking forward to getting to my room. It was to be a special weekend away and I’d booked some extra goodies to be there on our arrival including cold drinks, nibbles and the obligatory candy rock.

The staff on the reception desk were exceptionally welcoming and friendly and even offered us some iced drinks then and there when we explained our predicament, however, knowing I’d organised things in advance, I declined and went straight on up to our room, only to find that on this occasion the sun shining through the window had turned what had once been ice cold drinks and fresh fruit into a warm and unappetising offering.

As you can imagine I was naturally very disappointed, however the real test of service came when I complained to the hotel and asked for a replacement They couldn’t have been more apologetic and offered to send me up a replacement, however after over half an hour and no sign of a replacement we decided to simply go out for the evening and give the goodies a miss.

When we got back to our room later that night, we were met with a nice surprise, there on the bed was a very attractive bag filled with goodies. Two contrasting coloured toy donkeys, boxes of fudge, biscuits and sweets and a handwritten apology letter offering us a complimentary meal at the hotel the following evening.

I was overwhelmed. The next morning on our way to breakfast the hotel reception manageress that we’d seen the previous day caught my eye and called over to me to apologise again in person and check the gift was okay. Over the coming day’s staff in the restaurant demonstrated their constant attentiveness and their desire to do the very best for their customers, engaging them in conversation and really listening to what they said and being proactive in the service they gave. This showed that not only were they great at resolving customer concerns but that they set out to offer a really great experience in the first place.

All so easily the hotel could have simply replaced the original items and thought no more of it, however, the service they gave me means that as you’re reading now, I’m a true advocate.

It was this higher level of service that made me realise the shortcomings of some of my most recent hotel stays and has set the bar higher for all those hotel stays of the future.

Why not look out for great service the next time you stay at a hotel and help them out by giving positive feedback when you experience great service, but equally, let them know what could have made it even better, so that guests of the future can benefit too – I certainly will.

Michelle HolmesMichelle Holmes – Director – New Chapter Learning
Michelle is a highly experienced Training Consultant. She uses her skills and experience to help other learning professionals develop both their teams and their training content and also looks at how they can enhance their existing training and adopt e-learning and virtual learning as new delivery methods. Most recently she’s been working with Santander and the Department for Work and Pensions on some of their training.

About New Chapter Learning
New Chapter Learning, based in Northern England, is a leading independent Training Consultancy, working directly with businesses and offering specialist training design and consultancy services to other training organisations and large in-house teams. The business has an ethos of developing learning that sticks. They use a broad mix of training delivery methods, including online/practical and activity based learning experiences for individuals and groups. The business thrives on innovation and have led the way embracing mobile, virtual and e-learning as tools for all size organisations. Having developed their own 4As Customer Service eLearning Training, they’re now working with a 3D Virtual Reality company, developing a virtual Customer Service Training environment.

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