In our last issue of TEM we looked at how the premises and the Front Desk contribute to a memorable guest experience. In this particular issue, I wish to share some insights into what exactly the room and bath experience should be like. Those of us who travel a lot will confirm that we tend to spend a lot of our time in our rooms; whether travelling for leisure, business or any other reason, your hotel room always tends to take the place of your ‘nest’ and to some extent, home away from home. This fact should actually serve as a pointer as to how much value and level of detail should be given to this ‘little nest’ to create a “legendary.” Contrary to the popular opinion that you need the plushest towels, fluffiest pillows or the fanciest room facilities to create a legendary experience, you only need to fulfill three (3) modest and very realistic expectations.
Modest expectations • Clean, functional and comfortable rooms • Personable and friendly service • Tailor made experiences
Clean Comfortable rooms A great overall experience goes well beyond just having a tidy room: • No scuff marks on the walls or baseboards. • All light bulbs in working order (this is one of my pet peeves and happens a lot). • Television channel card and remote present and/or easily found. • Alarm clock with the correct time displayed. • Alarm is off (Admit it. You’ve been awakened while at the climax of your dream) • Telephone instructions available and easy to find. • Closets neat with a sufficient amount of hangers. • Ceiling is free of cobwebs and stains. • Underneath the bed(s) is free of dust and debris (guests sometimes place items here).
Bathroom Basics Along with the bedroom area, never forget these easy bathroom housekeeping elements: • Room is free of odors. • Floor, sink, shower and walls are spotless. • Light bulbs all working (again). • Ample space for toiletries. • Plenty of clean towels, tissues and toilet paper. • Sockets working • Amenity containers full These may sound obvious, but how many times has your room experience been affected by some of the things?
Personable and Friendly Service Furthermore, the personal touch that comes with the interaction with the housekeeping staff is just as important. Housekeepers are like ambassadors of your hotel, attached to the little nest which happens to be the guests’ most special place. As a matter of fact, I tend to interact with them at every hotel in which I stay – whether I’ve requested additional towels, pillow, laundry or in passing in the hallway. They should follow suggested customer service protocols just like other guest-facing employees, such as: • Acknowledge the guests and look approachable; don’t avoid eye contact and always smile. • Speak in a clear, audible manner. • Exhibit a sincere desire to accommodate any guest request. • Be well groomed with a clean uniform, and always wear a nametag. • Display professional behavior – save eating, drinking and smoking for break time in an area away from guests. A friendly, helpful and knowledgeable housekeeping attendant can elevate a guest’s overall experience with a hotel and none of the above customer service suggestions have a high cost attached to them. In the end, it’s not the finest soaps, plushest towels and grandest views that will leave a lasting impression. In the next issue of TEM, we shall look at how tailor made experiences make a difference and share details of a “legendary” experience I had recently when I stayed at the Queen Victoria Hotel in Cape Town.
The writer works as the General Manager of Nyungwe Forest Lodge, Rwanda.