Constant learning through constant feedback

Plus: What Aman Kyoto can teach us about health and wellness amenities

Hospitality Daily is a summary of stories for busy people who want to get better each day at providing hospitality.

Today, you’ll find:

  • The next chapter in the story of how the Nantucket Hotel & Resort became the #1-rated hotel on TripAdvisor (they’re still learning how to get better)

  • Rebooting customer experience to bring back the magic of travel

  • McNeill Hotel Company’s diversity and inclusivity council

  • What Aman Kyoto can teach us about health and wellness amenities


Reaching #1: Constant learning through constant feedback collection

This week, we started the story with Adele Gutman of how the Nantucket Hotel & Resort became the #1-rated hotel on TripAdvisor and remains among the very top of the list today. Today, we’re continuing by looking at how they collect feedback to constantly improve.

Constant learning requires constant feedback collection, and The Nantucket Hotel & Resort team does this in a few ways. 

The first is through surveys. The team sends a survey to every guest the day they leave because immediate feedback is so important. 

In addition, the team is trained to collect feedback in person. “We say ‘I hope you had a great stay – is there one thing we could have done better?’” This acknowledges the good parts of the stay and provides opportunities for constant learning and improvement. 

Responding to everyone

Every survey response gets a response, owner Gwenn Snider shared. “When you get a call from the owner or the manager and you’re not expecting it because you just said, the breakfast wasn’t hot or whatever it might be, that makes a difference.” 

“We start by thanking them for filling out the survey,” GM Jamie Homes explained. “And then whatever they talk about I’ll comment on. They may say Wayne in the restaurant was the greatest guy in the world. Then I’ll write back and say ‘Thank you so much for staying here. Guests like you are a pleasure to serve. We’re so glad that you got to experience Wayne’s special hospitality. We think he’s great, too.’” The same is true for things that didn’t go so well. “If they say the air conditioner clicked in room 38, I say we appreciate you telling us that and we’re going to jump on that right away. I let them know by sharing that feedback, the next guest is going to have a better stay. Whatever it is, we respond.”

The same goes for online review sites like TripAdvisor – they use this process to craft a personalized response to every review. 

Same-day responses for everything 

This philosophy of personal responses to feedback applies to all inquiries. 

“We’re very quick. If you call us and leave a voicemail, it’s answered every day. You email us. It’s answered every day. You want to have a wedding with us, you have a response the same day.” 

That response may not be a full event proposal, but it could be asking about their dream for the event. In our always-on culture, speedy responses are a form of service. 

Personal responses for bigger issues

If the feedback is for more significant things, Holmes and his team don’t send an email or a text. They pick up the phone. “We say ‘I understand that you had an issue. I want to know about it. I’m sorry that it happened. It’s not acceptable. And we’re going to take care of that.’”

“I might leave them a voicemail and they don’t have to call me back. They’re the customer. It’s their time. They paid. But they’re so impressed that we do that emotional deposit, that we reached out to them and put ourselves out there to hear what they have to say. And they’ll tell you more and how to resolve it,” said Holmes.

“An unhappy customer is your greatest opportunity,” Snider added. “If you take someone that has had a bad experience or has a problem, and if you can solve that problem in a way, you’ve converted someone into a loyal guest. It happens all the time. Those are opportunities.”


Rebooting customer experience to bring back the magic of travel

The travel and hospitality industry once set the gold standard for customer experience (CX), with the offer of memorable journeys and adventures. Travel companies should aspire to bring back the magic of travel by first expanding their view of CX from being human-centered to include digital as well.

In doing this, travel companies can build an emotional connection that exceeds customer expectations. Travel brands must sell the way they make their guests feel: well-rested in advance of an important meeting; awestruck at a beautiful destination; recharged after a getaway. Companies can build these emotional connections by leveraging the science behind delight: While satisfaction is a rational assessment of reality minus expectations; delight is emotional, and is experienced as a result of joy and surprise. Travel companies should aspire to delight, not just satisfy.

Research McKinsey has conducted indicates there is room for improvement. Common challenges include inconsistency in CX across products, services, and digital; difficulty predicting customers’ sentiment without having to ask them; and time lags in going to market with updates, releases, and enhancements.

Their report explores the critical role of CX in travel and hospitality at this pivotal moment in time. Ask yourself:

  • Do you believe your customer experience is consistently high across product, service, and digital?

  • Do you know the sentiment of your customers without ever having to ask them?

  • Do you move as fast today as you did when the pandemic first struck?

  • Ultimately, how can you be more intentional about unlocking the value of customer experience and bringing back the magic of travel?

[read more]


McNeill Hotel Company’s diversity and inclusivity council

McNeill’s President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Ricketts has big growth plans, which he shared in a recent Hotel News Now article.

What stood out to me was his efforts to prioritize diversity among his team, including the creation of a diversity and inclusivity council. "It was really eye-opening to me," he said, adding it underscored the message of "we're better together."

We see initiatives like this frequently in technology companies, but not nearly enough in hospitality. I’m hoping to see more efforts in this direction from others.

[read more]


Health and wellness, Aman Kyoto-style

Few market their wellness amenities better than Aman Kyoto, with a teaser video, compelling copy, and images.

If we find more and more guests prioritizing this in their travel, I’d like to see more hospitality businesses promote their health and wellness offerings like this.

[read more]


Tweets of the day


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