The evolution of the tourism sector is giving rise to new roles that were not considered a number of years ago. One of these positions is the Guest Experience Manager, increasingly common in hotel chains and large hotels, whose job is to anticipate the wishes of the guests who stay there; in other words, to ensure their experience is not only better than satisfactory but a memorable one.
What is a Guest Experience Manager?
This is the person in charge of the continuous improvement of the customer experience in a hotel. The objective of the manager is to anticipate possible complaints or suggestions from the guests thanks to a deep knowledge of their needs and wishes during their stay. To offer the memorable experience the Guest Experience Manager is striving for, constant feedback from customers needs to be received.
What are the functions of this new professional role?
Collect customer feedback
One of the main functions of the Guest Experience Manager is to gather all the opinions of the guests and make strategic use of them. Thus, the manager has to be in continuous contact with guests during their stay, as follows:
- Before their stay: Ensuring that customers have the appropriate means of communication to transmit their requirements. For example, if a person with reduced mobility is to travel, if a cot is required in the room for a baby or if a guest is a vegetarian.
- During their stay: Customers appreciate being listened to proactively. Therefore, being accessible during the stay is a point in favour to improve guest experience. The Guest Experience Manager is usually located at strategic points in the hotel, such as the entrance or exit of the buffet or reception to see if everything is going well. He/she must also ensure guests can provide feedback easily; for example, by installing a comments box at the reception with a small survey open for suggestions.
- After their stay: At the end of the visit to the hotel, the Guest Experience Manager may send surveys about the stay by email, if considered appropriate. Similarly, they will be responsible for initial response to any complaint from a dissatisfied customer.
Monitor comments on digital platforms
In addition to internal surveys, this new person in the hotel sector must be well aware of what guests think in reservation portals, forums and on social networks. These comments are very useful when it comes to improving future experiences. Similarly, this professional must ensure that the best possible response is given to dissatisfied customers by a Community Manager.
Liaison between hotel manager and guests
Depending on the size of the hotel, the manager or department head may not be able to deal directly with dissatisfied customers. The Guest Experience Manager can gather all these concerns from customers and transmit them to hotel managers. These may, of course, not always be complaints; they may also be suggestions or congratulations.
Analyse information provided by customers
This person in charge of the customer experience will use all this information to analyse points for improvement or to inform particular hotel departments of the full satisfaction of customers. This feedback makes it possible to improve aspects travellers do not like and promote those that receive the most positive opinions.
Important considerations for the Guest Experience Manager
So where will be the main areas of attention for the Guest Experience Manager? What are the main challenges for hotels in terms of customer experience? We look into 3 important areas:
Customers are increasingly seeking (and valuing) more personalised experiences. For example, a bottle of champagne with two glasses if they arrive on their honeymoon; receiving a cake with candles at their table on their birthday; or a family finding information about a Mini Club in the room with a letter inviting their children by name. All these small details are part of customisation, one of the great challenges that this professional faces.
Range of Services
From the business person who stays only one night and uses the accommodation as an office to a couple visiting an all-inclusive hotel who want to make the most of their stay within the hotel. As part of the customer experience, they have to know which services are available according to their needs: e.g. a Wi-Fi password for the executive or the spa opening times and entertainment programme for the couple. Another of the tasks of the Guest Experience Manager is to ensure that this information reaches the guests so they can enjoy all the amenities the hotel has to offer.
Digitisation is another challenge in constantly improving the guest experience. This specialist must be up-to-date on the latest trends in the tourism sector to be able to propose them to the hotel management, if considered appropriate. Examples are the implementation of mobile applications and digital check-in, the modernisation of premises with electronic locks or energy saving devices which are more environmentally friendly. These are examples of improvements that this professional can propose, especially if he/she believes they will substantially improve customer satisfaction; this being, of course, the primary objective.
At Omnitec, we have been working on the digitalisation of hotels for more than 25 years with hundreds of accommodation centres that have trusted us - e.g. via the development and marketing of electronic locks, minibars and safes - all with the final aim of achieving customer satisfaction.