Monscierge is an interactive software company that helps hotels connect today’s savvy traveler to the trusted local recommendations, understanding that simplicity and rapidity are essential elements of any new technological implementations. They’ve recently released their Q1 2012 guest experience management (GEM) report focusing on how guests interact with the front desk – what GEM deems as the ‘control center’ for a guest’s experience – of which there are many good takeaways.
First and foremost, GEM listed off the top 10 questions that guests might ask a front desk staff member. Combined for a total occurrence rate of just over 66% were, in order, hotel information, recommendations and directions. Trailing in fourth and fifth respectively were inquiries about internet connectivity and flight information or boarding passes.
Right off the top, if you know that these will consistently be your top five front desk requests (with a combined frequency of 84%) then are a few measures you can take here to improve guest services. Acting on these stats is particularly important when you consider that excessive wait times at the front desk are a major cause of guest dissatisfaction.
Think brochures. Do you have a rack with a separate, well-labeled, handout to describe your hotel operations, how the internet works and recommendations for a number of popular local attractions with directions? This can work either as something for guests to browse while they wait or as something for them to take back to their room and solve the quandary entirely.
Think tablets. Have you given any thought to installing tablets at the front desk? After developing an internal software platform, such devices become incredibly helpful for answering guest inquires, especially when you continually update the program with the latest restaurants and events. Plus, integrating with google maps is great way to answer direction requests.
These two tools are great for temporarily occupying a bored customer, but are not to be thought of as replacements for a staff-to-guest interaction. The response of, “I don’t know,” should never be a part of your front desk’s repertoire. An “I don’t know, but let me check,” is okay, but doesn’t inspire confidence.
Train your staff so that they fully understand the ‘control center’ responsibilities that come as part of working at the front desk. Knowledge is power, and your staff members should be constantly brushing up on local attractions, new restaurant openings, sports and current events.
To round out the top 10, the last five most common requests pertained to F&B, loyalty programs, check-out times, meetings information and the weather forecast. Again, think about having easy access brochures to answer most of the basic questions on these topics. Maybe even have copies of your restaurant menus. As well, tablet software can incorporate many of these aspects into one seamless design (in particular, a seven-day weather forecast).
To view the full report, go here: www.monscierge.com/gem/q1/2012
(Article published on HotelsMag on June 6, 2012)