Delivering a quality customer experience is important for all businesses, but for the hospitality industry where service is paramount, it’s even more critical. Stewart Moss, former Sales and Marketing Director at the Cedar Court Hotels, understands this all too well, and was recognized for his ability to bring new ideas to market quickly as a 2020 Innovator of the Year nominee by Boutique Hotelier. “The customer perception of value is becoming more important than ever before,” Moss said. To stay competitive, “We all need to be bigger than we ever have been before,” he said.
According to Deloitte, today’s guests are expecting more and “in order to win and retain guest preference, hotels should be more thoughtful about how people and technology, powered by insights, weave together to deliver authentic hospitality.”
During a discussion with Thynk’s Nigel Van Broekhoven, Moss shared four ways that hotels can improve service for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) by following practical guidelines with their people and technology.
While every customer’s MICE request may be unique, their initial questions are likely to be the same. “If you don’t have menu downloads, capacity charts, 3D walkthroughs on your website – it’s a mistake,” Moss said. “I am a big believer in cutting through the noise.”
To create a frictionless experience, basic information needs to be readily available and service packages need to be flexible and customizable. “You should be able to compile all the answers to every event inquiry as an agent before I have to speak to the account manager,” Moss said. “You have to make it as easy as possible for people to do business with you first and foremost.”
The sheer volume of accounts makes it difficult for employees to serve guests and recall important customer information without a CRM. A poor impression over the phone can lead to unnecessary frustration. “If the people on the end of your phone lines aren’t knowledgeable about my business when I call you up, I am going to find that frustrating,” Moss said.
Moss stresses the importance of data. “You’ve got to have a great hospitality CRM system and it’s got to have up-to-date data,” he said. It’s even more embarrassing when employees are not aware of a customer’s loyalty and value because their account details are not within arm’s reach. “Imagine if I put half a million pounds into your hotel and you don’t know who I am,” Moss explains. “It's just frustrating, and that happens because the CRM data isn't up to date.”
For an industry with high turnover rates, centralizing guest information in a single tool is important if the account owner leaves. Moss emphasized that service should be seamless, regardless of the employee the customer interacts with. “If I were hit by a bus today, a client would still be serviced tomorrow, and that comes down to a CRM and account management,” said Moss.
When Moss joined the Cedar Court hotels, it was his top priority to review the status and health of every account. “The first thing I addressed was a complete audit of every business account,” he said. “They're either red or green. And when I say red or green, it's either in decline or it's going up.”
Improving accounts that are declining is a more efficient way to improve business. According to Moss, before seeking out new markets look “you've been historically stronger already.” If you have been better before, get that back as a bench[mark],” he said.
Streamlining the guest journey creates a pleasant customer experience, but also frees up bandwidth for focusing on important activities like selling. “You need an excellent hotel CRM,” Moss said. “If you can automate anything that isn’t selling, that's a win.”
Moss talked about how technology is getting more and more prevalent and will be an important key to success. “Companies that are using digital connectivity to really make their events hybrid and expand the arena of who is in the room are in a smart place,” Moss said. “They're going to win.”
Thynk is the hospitality cloud designed by hoteliers for hoteliers. Book a demo today to learn more about how Thynk helps customers like the Cedar Court Hotels.