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Customer experience. In a travel world now dominated by customer reviews, the experience of each customer is paramount—after all, what are those reviews based on if not experience?

Develop a finer touch with all the touchpoints

So how is customer experience shaped? One touch at a time.

In modern marketing jargon, the expression would be “touchpoints,” that is, making sure that every single time the consumer comes in contact with brand they have a good experience. But hotels need to deliver much more than jargon—to meet today’s higher consumer expectations, they need to go beyond customer satisfaction to the kind of customer “delight” that researchers say produces “customer loyalty, positive word of mouth, and repeat purchase intent.” 1

Customer delight can be a by-product of buying the right products

Many factors influence customer experience in hotels, from corporate culture to communications. But one factor often goes overlooked: your purchasing philosophy.

Are the products you’re buying — even the most basic — delivering on these four key criteria?

  • Attractive: The products you purchase become part of your overall impression, and design matters in a style-conscious world. Are you getting style points from your purchases…or losing them?
  • Functional: That toilet paper roll in the common area restroom is no longer just toilet paper—it’s a “user interface.” How easily and reliably your products perform for their users either adds to or detracts from the mental score your customers are keeping.
  • Eco-friendly: Sixty-two percent of travelers take the environment into account when selecting between travel options.2 For increasingly demanding consumers (especially Millennials), the products you choose must contribute to both the perception and reality of being green.
  • Cost-effective: Price is just one component of cost-effectiveness. Are the products you’re purchasing saving you money by reducing waste, or even by saving your employees time?

Customer disgust can be the by-product of buying the wrong products.

Of course, the opposite of customer delight can best be called “customer disgust.” It’s the unmistakable tenor of a disgruntled customer’s online remarks, those cutting reputation killers which another university study finds are more often inspired by things… which, of course, can include products deemed to be somehow deficient. As the research noted “dissatisfied customers mention more frequently the tangible aspects of the hotel stay, like furnishings and finances.”

So if you want to improve your chances of delighted, not disgusted, customer reviews, attend first to the people, policies, processes and, yes, products that create great customer experience.

  

1Research from the University of Central Florida

2TripAdvisor research, quoted in lodging playbook