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In 2021 we were contracted by the owners of a hotel to assess the strength of the hotel's personality. In order to execute our analysis to a high level, we required that the owners provide us with a very short list of adjectives or attributes that they considered paramount to their very existence.  Our job was to take these attributes and see how they were truly reflected by touchpoints during the stay phase of a guest experience.

The following information was provided by the owner:

  • We are luxury but not ostentatious - a more "practical" luxury property

  • We are personable

  • We are approachable

  • We are stylish/fashionable/hip

Distilling this down further, the attributes became

  • Stylish

  • Personable

  • Approachable

The owners identified their target audience as independent cultural guests that travels many times a year.  Current guest age ranges were identified to be between 35 and 50 years of age.  The hotel aims to have a leisure-business ratio of 50:50 however they were recording approximately 75% leisure and 25% business at the time of analysis.

Question: What is your greatest asset?

  • Our people (acknowledging some inconsistency because of changing staff during the Covid 19 pandemic)

The Methodology

Our goal was to take those personality elements or attributes and ensure they were being communicated correctly through all relevant touchpoints that we analyzed.  Before that, however, we needed to convey the philosophy we employ in looking at each relevant touchpoint. Our process examines the functional (the what of the experience) and the emotional, including mechanical and humanistic (the how of the experience).  To illustrate what this means, we can look at Starbucks. Starbucks coffee is the functional touchpoint, a pleasing physical environment is the mechanical and the service minded employees the humanistic. Consider that more often than not, functional and mechanical touchpoints are most important in meeting guest service expectations whereas humanistic ones are crucial in exceeding them. Guests consciously and unconsciously filter touchpoints or experience cues and organize them into a set of impressions - with some being more rational or calculative and others more emotional. 

We performed some light sourcing from the hotel's website as well as from some of their social media channels, guest reviews and in the news. While onsite, our Anonymous Guest honed in on exterior and interior touchpoints in addition to food and beverage, spa and pool facilities. The feedback was, as is always the case, presented through the eyes of their target guest persona - with their intended personality attributes as the benchmark. 

The Results

The following includes an extremely brief summary of observations.  The report received by the hotel was extensive and specific.

  • The front entrance was deemed to be uninviting and therefore unapproachable.  We offered recommendations such as using the hotel's accent colours and freshening other physical elements. 

  • The lobby further needed to have more opportunities to communicate approachable.

  • The front desk staff truly drove the desired essence of the property with one employee standing out as the model. We recommended to take the learnings from our multiple encounters with this employee and use it to build personable and approachable touches through other employees.  Other recommendations at the front desk centred around the check in process, and the welcome drink to name a few.

  • Affinity partners were present on the main floor of the hotel. An analysis of the affinity partner's touchpoints were shared with some not being in alignment with the hotel brand.

  • Other inner areas analyzed deemed to be relevant to our work included tv advertising in the elevator, lighting, inner courtyard and the assigned sleeping room itself. We presented many opportunities within the room to drive the attributes and offer suggestions on prospective marketing campaigns. 

  • The pool areas presented an interesting opportunity to be more approachable with the subtlest tweaks of ensuring all sunbeds were open and accessible since many were not at the time of the visit. The uniforms and demeaner of the staff at the pool areas really hit a high note for us.

  • For the most part, the guests staying at the hotel were aligned to the property - meaning that the intended target audience was achieved from our observations.  Should a prospective guest expect the highest level of conspicuous luxury, there were other options in the destination.  A reading of the guest reviews confirmed that they were serving their target audience well.

  • A look at the food and beverage offerings at the hotel presented some very interesting observations. One restaurant really hit the high note for approachable and personable through staff encounters whereas the other outlets did not.  We recommended taking the model of the one restaurant, with tweaks, and employ the same philosophy with the others. 

The above is just a slice of what was executed for the property. All of the observations, through our report, were well received by the owner and was communicated to the executives of the property to take action.

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