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Hotel Experience: General vs Special

Apr 8, 2012  By 

When we say ‘great hotel experience’, we get this special feeling of enjoyment from using hotel facilities.

Hotel experience is usually defined as a combination of experiences on both emotional and physical recognition levels which therefore results in increasing personal comfort and harmony.

The key to understanding hotel experience lies in the acknowledgment of guest’s personal feelings. The aim for a hotelier in this case is not only to enhance positive emotions of a guest to create harmony and comfort, but to selectively target those personal feelings which are most important determinants of comfort and harmony for this specific person.

Hotel experience is undoubtedly personal, although it has some standard components. For this reason, we divide the concept of hotel experience into general and personal levels.

General hotel experience combines all those elements which include the most expected emotions of a guest as reaction on hotel facilities and service quality. It can be, for example, the feeling of relaxation while using hotel SPA facilities or spending a night on a ‘sweet sleeper’ matrass, it can also be the pleasure from tasting great salmon steak nicely pared with a glass of delightful wine at the hotel restaurant. These are the types of experiences which the hotels are selling every day.

They increase customer loyalty and bring good profits to the owners. They strengthen the hotel brand and target almost all guests.

In this case, the marketing managers usually do a very good job: they help selecting very specific target segment from the market who wants those types of hotel experience which this selected hotel is able to offer. Mutual admiration and happiness are the outcome of these hard and very often long term efforts.

But what if you knew there was more than that in a hotel experience? What if this admiration and success were only 50 per cent of what you can get when you ultimately satisfy your guests’ needs? On a more intimate level? Quite knowledgeably and convincing? When you really understand what the second type of hotel experience – personal hotel experience – means?

For most hoteliers, personal hotel experience is nothing but providing special care to the difficult and demanding guests. For hotels like the Ritz Carlton, personal hotel experience is around 90 per cent of the total value created by the hotel. Guests not only receive special care, they also get known by the service personnel. This usually happens at emotional level, but some hotels have already recognized the importance of personal hotel experience and expanded this to physical facilities.

Let us look at the situation with…cats. When you travel to the faraway place – Cape Verde islands – and you choose to stay at Melia Tortuga resort, you may find yourself an additional hobby – feeding the cat family which lives at the premises. The guests enjoy looking at cats, feeding them and make tons of photographs. In this case, personal hotel experience is created for all guests, no matter if they are demanding or not. And this type of experience combines emotional and physical satisfaction.

Some small hotels which are not part of international chains have chosen personal hotel experience as part of their unique selling points. They attract attention not only by satisfying the guests with those amenities that are typical, but also by providing special types of experiences and targeting personal feelings of their guests.

Meeting personal demands can be challenging at times. But only in the case when the hotelier does not know his guests.

Talk to your staff, get to know your target market, and you will definitely find the means of adding value by creating special guest experience at a more personal level. And then you might find yourself in a list of the top attractions in your area.

Finally, your guests’ personal comfort and harmony are all in your hands.

About Mila Petruk

Mila Petruk

Mila Petruk is a hospitality consultant and a founder of Milina Outsourcing Management (MOM) which provides consulting to hotels and restaurants including mystery guest audit, temporary staffing and training support.

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