🍍 Driving results through listening to guests

Plus: going big in 2022

Today we’re looking at:

  • How Kris Leszczynski drives financial results through listening

  • Going big with travel in 2022

  • Partnering to promote art

  • The art of hospitality

Driving results through listening

Kris Leszczynski leads service operations at Edwardian Hotels - which runs the May Fair and other iconic hotels in London. I recently spoke with him about the role of listening to guests to improve service quality. “A hotel is a business just like any other, with financial results to deliver," Kris told me.

The key to delivering those financial results? “Being absolutely obsessive about guests and our teams, by being compliant with our standards, and most importantly capturing every single opportunity to make memories for our guests.”

Listening plays a critical role in doing this.

“The voice of the guests is critical in our strategic planning. Guests will tell you what they expect. You just need to know how to capture that data and work with it.”

Kris uses technology to capture guest feedback, and the key to benefiting from what he’s hearing is remaining open to all feedback. He recommends “rising above it to get perspective. Just take it all in, and see if there is anything to those comments.” When reviewing a simple guest comment such as “the room is too small,” Kris digs deeper to truly understand its meaning. “What makes you feel like that? Is there anything I can change that perception? Maybe I need to add more value to your arrival process. Maybe I need to add an amenity in the room, or maybe my room management practices are inadequate, and the person who is actually managing my inventory needs some more training.”

Read more about why Kris prefers an alternative to asking guests to rate their stay on a 1-10 scale. 

Big travel expectations

A New York Times feature article this week talks about this being the year people go big with their travel plans.

“Travel is no longer just about ‘going somewhere,’” said Christie Hudson, a senior public relations manager for Expedia. “Coming out of such a long period of constraints and limitations, 2022 will be the year we wring every bit of richness and meaning out of our experiences.”

Corporate lodging specialists like Level Hotels & Furnished Suites, which has high-rise apartments in four cities including Seattle, are now going after leisure travelers, touting amenities like fitness centers.

Urban hotels hope to compete for digital nomads by adding stylish extended-stay properties, social attractions, and better workspaces. Denver’s Catbird hotel offers ergonomic studios with kitchenettes, plus a rooftop bar and rental gear, including scooters, ukuleles, and air fryers. The Hoxton chain’s Working From co-working spaces are attached to its hotels in Chicago and London.

The industry’s focus on leisure travelers may inspire new diversions. A hotel that can no longer afford to employ 50 servers in its events department might use the space to hold a yoga class or a talk by a local designer, according to Vikram Singh, an independent hotel consultant. “These are the experiences people remember more than whether the pillow was soft,” he said.

Partnering to promote art

In the late 18th century, the Tontine Building, on Manhattan’s Wall Street, was a tavern and coffeehouse — and the site of the New York Stock Exchange. Next month, the onetime trading center will reopen as the Wall Street Hotel, a 180-room boutique whose current owners, the Paspaleys, an Australian pearl production family, hope to make it more of a cultural hub.

When it came to choosing art for the hotel, they partnered with the APY Art Centre Collective, an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to promoting Australian Aboriginal art.

I love seeing partnerships like this….

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