By JC Thompson

The pent-up desire to “hit the road” is forecasting a strong travel comeback. Are you ready? With hotels not fully opened and yet occupancies are at max capacity, the challenge will not likely be revenue or REVPAR. The challenge will be expectations. Customers will expect the same levels of service. They won’t care much about your challenge with finding employees or that your customer service skills have been out of practice as they were replaced with COVID-19 regulations and survival skills.

“You have got to be kidding me. I paid $350 for a room that no longer includes daily housekeeping services, there is a stain on the chair, and the room needs maintenance! I had to wait 10 minutes because there was only one front desk person available, and the concierge is a voicemail. Not to mention your service people seem not to know what they are doing. I am an x member. Someone should care!”

“I am so sorry, sir. Please accept our apology. You are correct. We had to make many challenges to our services due to COVID-19.”

The guest interrupts and says: “Yes, and now that we are moving out of COVID, when will you provide real guest service?”

The front desk manager stares aimlessly into space, takes a deep breath, and sincerely with a touch of his own frustration, says: “I don’t know.” 

Sound scary? Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to take off. Please secure your seat belt!

As crazy as it’s been the next 24 months, hotel leaders and owners will need:

•  A renewed focus on service delivery. Customers are not likely to give hotels a “pass” on weak service as expectations will return to “normal,” and platforms like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Alexa have more influence than ever. All indicators predict that their influence will continue to grow and be a key data point in consumers’ buying decisions.

•  Leaders will need to rethink processes, training, and unique experiences to ensure their brands have market value. Change will equate to success.

•  Even more agility to find the way back to profitability.

The influence and impact that leaders have on their business culture has always been critical. With the added reality of people being stretched and exhausted, finding the energy to engage your people has never been more important. Service culture aligns people. It synergizes them through a sense of higher purpose even when they think they have nothing left to give. It is the glue of any organization, and leaders lead culture.

As in the past, hospitality is about people and how your people feel remains the single greatest indicator of how your customers will feel. Location, physical plant, and even extraordinary beauty become secondary importance when a customer experiences an incompetent or sassy employee. As customer service expectations will be heightened and rates will continue to rise, having your service delivery basics sharpened will be critical.

See what Heroic Hospitality can do to help your team find the way back to delivering outstanding service. For a free 14-day online service training trial, please reach out to JC HERE.