5 Reasons why your Hotel CX is broken
As a person who has spent literally thousands of nights in hotels around the world, I can tell you that for the most part your hotel CX is broken.
Hotel don’t really seem to care what your CX is during your stay. It’s a generalization as I have had some outstanding experiences at high end hotels globally, but for the most part even the best doesn’t get it right, they don’t care enough about the customer, and let me show you why and what you haven’t noticed about your experience.
1) They make pathetic attempts in gathering real feedback.!
- How many times do you check in, get to your room, and there is a message for you welcoming you and asking you to contact them with any issues? Is your in-room experience so iffy that you have to ask me the instant I get to the room?
- My personal favorite, when you are checking out and you get a “how was your stay?” comment. I hate this with a passion, all we want to do is leave, and we will say anything to not delay that from happening, so we fire off a standard “Fine” or whatever so that we can leave to catch our flight, etc.
- Hotels just don’t take advantage of every time they interact with us, they don’t actively set up time to solicit meaningful feedback in the middle of your stay. Buy me breakfast, buy me a drink, if you are genuinely trying to get real feedback I will absolutely accept and tell you anything you want to know good and bad.
2) They conditionally choose to ignore your loyalty
- Status is the only thing that they look at when they deal with you, the higher you are the more they do for you in theory, but reality is they don’t do much. Considering how much road warriors spend in dollars and cents it really doesn’t compare. A few points here, a free drink, its nothing, and people that travel for a living know it.
- Not long ago I was in the top 1% of all customers globally for one of the larger brands, I can’t tell you how many times even my status meant nothing. Great example is that my super-secret top 1% status said I could check in at 8am. I tried to check in early after a long-haul flight and was left standing in the lobby for hours because they didn’t care to meet their 8am early check in “guarantee” that status afforded me. I stood there (because there was nowhere to sit) and just cooked in my own anger, and they couldn’t care less. I would average 150 nights a year at this hotel which was the brands’ flagship and largest location. Give me a temp room so I can shower and change, or access to the gym so I can shower and throw breakfast at me, anything but stand there and watch me get angrier and angrier by the minute.
3) The franchise model breeds inconsistency
- Apart from one or two brands who insist that the franchise staff their hotels with their hand selected corporate people, it’s a free for all. Because most hotels use the free for all model you get situations where you get back to your room on a Saturday afternoon and the ceiling is leaking water from the floor above, and their idea of “fixing” it is to tell you there will be a plumber in on Monday. Ugh!! (true story)
- The small number of high-end chains understand that customer experience is something people can be trained to perform, and it’s not a simple 2 day run through, its intensive and meaningful training on human interaction and hotel management. The avg hotel never really does this and the CX gap between the best and the avg is bigger than the Grand Canyon.
4) They have no idea how to take advantage of customer touchpoints to make you feel valued.
- After having a few hours of lobby time, I set up a meeting with the Customer service manager on my next stay. As I got off the bus from the airport there were two people waiting to see who picked up the bag with my name on it and escort me to the boss. I knew she would look me up ahead of time, and I asked her three simple questions.
- “I assume I am in the top 5 individual customers” she said I was #2.
- “Who here in this hotel knows who I am other than the bartender?” she couldn’t answer.
- “Other than the doormen, who even knows what I look like, and the same goes for every one of your top 50 customers?” Again, no answer.
- I made it clear that the people that touch your customers should all be armed with the information and the ability to make those touchpoints special.
- To their credit the next morning the doormen had dossiers of the top customers in the hotel. My experience when getting in a cab was personalized by the doormen, they knew me and asked if I was going to my office, and they took care of everything for me.
5) You are a room filler.
- Though we all think we are special, at a hotel especially a busy one you are nothing more than a room filler, your value to them really doesn’t matter regardless of status or spend. In the big cities it’s even more so, where hotels often run at 100% capacity and if you don’t have the room there are three others who want it every night of the week.
- The hotel business just does enough that you don’t hate the experience, and you would stay again just because they are conveniently located.
- It doesn’t matter what your status is, you are a percentage of capacity nothing more.
- Even with new ages hotels like Airbnb, you can’t build consistency and you can’t ever be more than a head in a bed (generally speaking)
Unfortunately for you and I, the industry doesn’t really care, you can break away to a new hot chain, the ever-present consolidation of the industry pulls you back into one of the big boys after a few years anyway.
If hotel really cared about you, and you noticed it, you are a unicorn like me, because it’s not something the industry really does at least from a true CX experience.
Outside the look and feel of a room and a lobby, It’s a system based on average being good enough.
This post first appeared on LinkedIn.