miércoles, 3 de noviembre de 2010

Article published in www.hotelmanagementasia.com

Comment: Can the design of guest experiences be copied?

By HMA Staff 23 March 2010
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Nowadays, differentiation is one of the main goals of every hotel, because it has been demonstrated that it influences the positioning and achievement of competitive advantages in the international market. Hotels have thus developed dissimilar strategies to achieve differentiation and obtain success. However, it is well known that success is coveted by all, and each day it becomes more difficult to prevent these tools being copied by other hotels.
The design of positive holistic experiences on the guests is a tool daily used by more and more hotels to highlight their products and services, and this has led me to wonder: Can the design of an experience be copied? Can the guest’s experiences be turned into another commodity provided by the hospitability industry? My answer would be no, unless tailor made and unique experiences could be designed.

It has been shown that when living an experience, emotions and feelings are involved so when designing same and in order to succeed, you have to look for all means and ways generating those two key senses.
The services provided by a hotel are par excellence very useful items when designing positive experiences; however, it is a fact that nowadays many services have become commodities in our industry, and it is more difficult to be able to tell apart the experiences per se. This has moved us to search for actual differential elements by means of identifying attributes for each service which may be used as positive emotions and feelings triggers.

Once these triggers are identified they have to be personalized trying to link them with pre-concepts, expectations and patterns matching the lifestyle of every guest in particular, thus enabling him to identify with those triggers and get the perception of, and live, a home away from home experience designed specially for him.

Identification of services and their attributes that can be used as triggers of positive emotions and feelings is closely linked to the success of emotional relations and bonds established with the guests during the services. The relations personalized service provides the best way to meet this goal.

When emotional bonds and relations obtained with the guest are obtained, doors will be opened to his emotional world allowing us to assess him and use this information as a source to decode his emotions and feelings.

In order to achieve these emotional bonds, we will mostly depend on the know-how, expertise and empathy of the staff provider of experiences, supported by a legitimate service culture.

 The level of relations and bonds that can be established during the guest experience will mark its unique character, that is, the impossibility of repeating same outside the context in which it has primarily been generated and designed.

Even the hotels offering the same services will not be able to establish the same bonds and emotional relations. Consequently, the data obtained shall be different, thus making a dissimilar perception of rendered services. Likewise, the degree of emotional interaction mainly shall depend on the level of culture service achieved by the experience providers, that is: empathy, communication, commitment, motivation, will, expertise and know-how. These basics are undoubtedly impossible to be copied or imitated.

We can round up by stating that an experience can never be imitated, as it is based on the level of interaction or emotional bonds developed during the process. All this will enable us to gather differential information which will be the best trigger to get positive emotions and feelings for each and every guest.

Better empathy, communication and rapport between the experiences provider and the guest will be developed, which will result in a more significant positive emotional and feelings trigger for each guest who in turn will perceive each experience as unique, and impossible to be repeated out of the context in which it was lived.
Osvaldo Torres Cruz is a hotel butler and regular industry commentator. He can be contacted on hotelps@gmail.com

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Revista Cheff&Hotel, Chile.

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