A comprehensive list of 25 key suggestions for practical improvements at any hotel. These improvements are generic in nature and apply to all hotels irrespective of star rating, location and key propositions.
After a careful study of some of the world’s best hotel chains and guest services, we have listed 25 key improvements that can be implemented to enhance performance in a hotel. Surely improvements at the Reception are the most noticeable but they are not enough. We have to take up every single aspect of the functioning of the hotel into account when implementing improvements – including areas where the guest might not have direct contact with hotel staff.
Our focus should be on improving the ‘stay experience’. In fact, key areas where the guest might not have direct interaction with hotel staff like housekeeping, kitchen, etc. are more important as there is no immediate feedback about whether the service provided at a particular time satisfied the guest or not. Here are the 25 key areas to be discussed in this report.
- Improved security/surveillance – Security staff, modern digital equipment for enhanced security, emergency procedures.
- Faster room service – How long does a guest have to wait before he receives service for a call made to the reception, kitchen or any other hotel section.
- City touring/commuting – A desk to take care of all requirements for commuting within the city, weekend getaways with partner hotels including guide services.
- Travel and ticketing – A desk to handle all such needs of the guests including local, national and even international travel and ticketing.
- Housekeeping performance – An efficient, friendly staff that would make the guest comfortable and well-looked after.
- Internet accessibility – The Internet is no longer just for business purposes. It is more of an essential utility now.
- Hotel facilities for short-term cellphone sim cards, call receiving, call forwarding, receiving messages, telephone calls etc.
- Availability of newspapers, magazines – Local publications like good newspapers, magazines are an absolutely must.
- In-house entertainment beyond television – Guests can watch television at home as well. Special entertainment programs add great brand value.
- Bookings, refunds, stay packages – Need special focus as we need to suit needs of different guests with varying needs and requirements.
- Loyalty card/programs with discounts for returning guests – We need to tailor-make these programs to have guests return again to the hotel.
- Local and in-house shopping facilities and tours – Most hotels worldwide have in-house shopping areas or arrange special shopping trips around the city.
- Postal mail service – Despite the Internet, guests like to post souvenirs, letters, photographs etc to friends, family.
- Special help with emergency services – This is not just about the fire alarm etc. All emergency services should be easily accessible and efficient.
- Improved pickup and drop services for railway station/airport – Guests prefer that they don’t have to bother with pick-up and drop.
- Cuisine/Kitchen improvements – Special menu for those on diet, need help with special health requirements like food for diabetics etc.
- Currency exchange facilities – An utmost requirement for the international traveler.
- Separate desk for international guests – The hotel should provide in-house translators and train employees in foreign languages etc.
- Improved interior design – How about giving guests a comfortable, ethnic lobby they would remember? International standards should be kept in mind for providing suitable interiors for the ease of physically challenged guests.
- Taking and forwarding referrals from guests with some gift schemes – It’s usually word-of-mouth publicity that is more effective than other types of marketing and advertising.
- Special focus on uniform, training and incentives for staff members – Focusing on the staff translates into focus on providing guests with a good hotel experience.
- Hotel separate medical section – Basic medical services should be available for the guests along with information for whom to contact in case of an emergency.
- Spa services, fitness services, gym, masseurs etc – are all part of the New Age hotel experience.
The key to providing the best hotel service is similar to thinking of what you would provide to your guests in your own house. That means something more than basic amenities, comfort and security. It is all about the total experience – Did the girl at the reception smile? Did the boy at the elevator wish your guests a good morning? Were the kitchen staff willing to serve something made-to-order? Could the guest contact home easily through the telephone or Internet? Did the hotel provide options of entertainment or tours that tempted the guest into extending his stay?
All these and many more questions go into improving the brand value and guest experience at a hotel. It all leads to the eventual question – Did your guest check out as a happy person already looking forward to returning the next time or not? For every ‘Yes’ you get to that question, you have done your job as a hotel manager.