Friday, May 17th, 2024

Featuring Forrest Morgeson and Marc Lorés Panadés

This newsletter is brought to you by Sojern. I’m working with them on a guest experience benchmark report, and invite you to participate here to get the (anonymized) data set with my insights.

Happy Friday! We have a doubleheader today heading into the weekend:

  • Research on what’s driving guest satisfaction (and dissatisfaction) today in America

  • Insights from one of Europe’s top F&B leaders on how to stay consistently creative and relevant

Let’s get into it…

What’s driving guest satisfaction today?

Forrest Morgeson

Context: Forrest Morgeson is Associate Professor of Marketing at Michigan State University and Director of Research Emeritus at the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which measures customer satisfaction across the U.S. economy - and has been for 30 years.

The underlying idea is that we need to look at not just the quantity of economic output but its quality as well. How well are companies providing consumers goods and services that they like, that meet their needs, that fulfill what they're trying to accomplish, or the job they're trying to get done with those products and services?

Forrest Morgeson

The latest report—American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI®) Travel Study 2023-2024—is interesting for hospitality providers.

What’s going on? Guest satisfaction is up recently. “Just a couple of years ago, lodging was at a 15-year low in guest satisfaction,” Forrest told me. “In the last two years, it has not only bounced back but has surged to near-all-time highs.” Hilton came in #1 after a big gain in 2024, and Airbnb made a first-time appearance on the list.

What’s driving this? The study’s authors attribute the increase in guest satisfaction to an increase in staffing. “This is improving things like the check-in, and their ability to smooth the customer experience."

What about tech? Self-serve tech in hospitality isn’t a cure-all, Forrest notes.

That seems to be an economy-wide phenomenon where companies were so eager to move to self-service technologies that allowed customers, again, in a variety of industries to make their purchases and consume the goods or services without the interaction of human beings. From the company's perspective, it's wonderful, right? It creates efficiency leading to ideally greater profitability. The problem is for consumer that want a personal touch, it's not going to resonate as well with them. And so we've seen companies across industries that are sort of scaling back a little bit on what I think we all agree is an inevitable march towards more and more self-service technologies. We're seeing some companies scale back a little bit and say, we need to maintain that human element. We need human service delivery at some of these key touch points. And if we don't, it will impact us negatively in terms of the customer experience.

Forrest Morgeson

The takeaway: Technology isn’t a replacement for good people on your teams.

Question for you: How can your hotel use technology for efficiency without compromising the personal touch that so many guests value?

TOGETHER WITH SOJERN

The “funnel” offers a roadmap for understanding a guest's journey from dreaming about travel to booking a stay at your hotel. It is broken down into four key stages: Discovery, Planning, Booking, and the Guest Experience. Learn how this framework can guide you in effectively attracting, engaging, and delighting guests at each stage.

How to stay consistently creative and relevant (in F&B and beyond)

Marc Lorés Panadés

Context: Marc Lores Panades is VP of Food & Beverage at Aethos Hotels, a European company recognized for its innovative approach to hospitality. Marc’s background includes experience as a chef and a commitment to health, wellness, and sustainability within the culinary world.

What’s going on? Marc believes in the importance of integrating health and wellness into hospitality. He shares his own journey towards healthier living and how it influences his professional approach to hospitality today. A move to Bali in 2016—combined with an influential mentor—led him to incorporate sports and a vegetarian diet into his lifestyle, which he now promotes through his work.

Takeaway: A dedication to health and wellness needs to manifest in practical actions to mean anything. Marc's commitment to holistic wellness (in every sense of the word) shows through his work building relationships with local producers and incorporating regional products into the hotel’s F&B offerings.

Challenge: How might you integrate local suppliers and sustainable practices into your business to elevate the guest experience?

And that’s a wrap! This email was handmade for you—it took me an 48 minutes to write this. If you found it helpful, I’d be very grateful if you could forward it to a friend or colleague who might also enjoy it.

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A few final things:

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Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a great weekend ahead.

-Josiah

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