Delivering exceptional guest services is a top priority for all of us in the hospitality industry. How can we utilize centralized guest services to get us there?
Meet Sam and Mike. Two driven focused, and ambitious young professionals working in hospitality. There are no tangible differences between the two.
Sam is responsible for delivering unforgettable guest experiences. His daily tasks ladder up to one job: keep guests happy. Every day, Sam fields guest inquiries by either responding himself or by directing them to housekeeping and F&B teams. His role allows him to continuously follow up with guests until their requests are fulfilled and he has confirmation from the guests that they are satisfied.
Mike is a Front Office Manager. As we all know, his job covers multiple grounds. He welcomes guests, oversees check-in and check-out processes, answers queries from in-house guests, and generates tickets for the relevant teams. While delivering unforgettable guest experiences is the number one priority, Mike is often stretched thin trying to check all the boxes.
Now if we tracked guest experience, there is no debate that Sam’s focused effort would deliver better results.
Sam achieves success simply because his property created a role devoted to delivering unforgettable guest experiences.
How could Mike achieve success if guests are showing up at the front desk at the same time that guests are calling down?
Centralized Guest Services
The concept of building a centralized, often offsite team, focused on delivering impeccable guest experiences, isn’t new.
Across the US, casinos, brand hotels, and property chains have already adopted this practice.
Ivy, our digital concierge, is part of the tech that is anchoring these centers.
As we emerge from pandemic-related lockdowns, restrictions, and guest unease, an increasing number of hotels and casinos are adopting centralized guest service centers.
What Would a Centralized Guest Service Center Look Like?
- Command center: Think of it as a PBX or hub that would oversee guest experiences. This center would be dedicated to fielding guest inquiries and requests, directing them to the right departments on a need basis, and then following through to ensure guest satisfaction.
- Location and property agnostic: With the right protocols and processes in place, the command center doesn’t need to be on the property. We can expect significant cost savings if we establish a command center with multi-property capabilities.
- Time-bound follow-through: Fulfilling guest requests promptly (remember Domino’s promise of pizzas in 45 minutes or you get it free?) is a job half done. Completing the loop involves following through and asking for feedback, increasing favorable online reviews and NPS scores.
Tech Adoption as The Way Forward
Given the staffing crisis that we are currently facing as an industry, centralized guest services operations can lift the pressure off hoteliers and operations staff at individual properties.
Adopting technology to staff the command center, automate guest inquiries, and streamline processes is the only way forward. The idea that tech automation is destroying guest experiences and replacing people with machines, is outdated.
Data and research from Cornell University reveal that hotel staff appreciates tech automation because it reduces their workload, particularly the more tedious aspects of it. When technology manages repetitive tasks, hotel staff are free to address complex guest queries, consequently increasing job satisfaction levels.
Digital concierges and similar tech solutions also play another crucial role. Both ease the pressure on staff currently onboard and at work at different properties. As much as 65% of queries can be automated.
Centralized guest service operations may well be the next idea that goes mainstream.
We need all the advantages that come with it.