What’s More Important – People or Product?

hands-presentThis Christmas, my wife decided to go all out and really make this year special. She decorated the tree to make it look department store ready! She took pride and care to ensure each package was carefully wrapped and with beautiful ribbons. Needless to say, the tree looked amazing and the presents to the kids were carefully wrapped and beautifully arranged. It looked like an something from a Martha Stewart show. My kids were very impressed with this display and gave my wife many compliments on the tree and the presents! After a half hour my son pulled me aside in and asked the question, “OK Pops, what’s in the boxes?”

Hotels today are in a arms race to make the physically property beautiful to the eye. New beds, new lights, even new flooring is all the rage. Hoteliers are looking at their product with a critical eye so they can capture the attention of today’s traveler who are demanding newer and brighter.

But shouldn’t we also be examining the age-old question of People vs Product? Does our customer value a beautiful new product or do they value the customer service experience more? Simply put is it about the look of the property or is it the people inside the building that matters?

I, for one, think the two must go hand in hand. Our associates become the product in the sense that they shape and define the guest experience in every interaction with the guest. With guest interactions sometimes limited by technology, we must examine and ask ourselves are our associates trained and ready for that moment of opportunity to make that interaction legendary, or will they let it be an “ordinary” interaction?

We at Signature Worldwide, recognize that legendary guest interaction can be achieved each time if we can do four actions: Connect, discover, deliver value, and close. When we take the opportunity to connect with the guest, our associates open dialogue that can discover actual guest needs. Delivering value helps our guest have a stay with the hotel that they want to share with others. Also remembering that closing in such a way the guest feels that they are important not only builds loyalty, but encourages them to be an advocate of your hotel to the world and to friends on social media.

Training the associates of a hotel to recognize that interactions with the guest, like the appearance of our rooms, must evolve. Each opportunity to serve our guest has be to be made special. We can update the building, our rooms, even our technology but let’s not forget to update our customer service to make each guest interaction legendary.

When hoteliers are updating their product, they must ensure they update their most valuable assets: their associates!

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