|Observation in the Experiential Hospitality.|
By Osvaldo Torres Cruz
Wednesday, 18th January 2012
One of the key ingredients in the successful formula of the Experiential Hospitality is, without a doubt, the Guest Management Information, since knowledge of guests will enable us to design tailor-made experiences which will lead them to reach their hopes and aspirations.
There is no better source of data about the guest than the guest himself may provide to us, therefore, in the Experiential Hospitality is essential to use tools that allow us to discover our best customer. It is true that, unfortunately, we do not always have enough data about the guest prior to his arrival; hence we must get it while we interact with him in our daily attendance.
However, it is also true that fortunately the guest is constantly transmitting information, although much of it goes unnoticed as we are not adequately prepared to grasp.
That is why the Experiential Hospitality takes up the use of an old technique employed by man in his constant quest to discover his environment, I am referring to observation. From Latin observatio, observing is the action and effect to observe (look closely, look demurely, warn).
This is an action performed by human beings to identify, collect and assimilate information. In order to make good use of observation in the Experiential Hospitality we need to answer some questions like:
1 - Who is the observer?
All those who are involved in the attention to the guest, become observers capable of examining carefully the guest or interact with him through their own senses.
2 - Why should we observe?
First of all we should be convinced of the importance of observing the guest, for it gives us the possibility to obtain information types which start emotional and differential meanings in the guest, the prelude to his fidealization.
3 - What should we observe?
The observation of the guest is directed to aspects such as his body language, behavior, habits, actions and reactions, likes,dislikes, preferences, belongings, that is, everything related to his emotional and behavioral patterns.
4 - When should we observe?
The observation is continuous, provided that the guest is detected by an observer across all the Hotel sites the guest usually visits, places that become par excellence observation posts. One of the key advantages of observation is, quoting Van Dalen and Meyer (1981): "Observation provides one of the fundamental elements, the facts," which are merely validations for what is observed, say an example:
Every morning we notice that the guest gets up early, always at the same time, go to the gym and comes back eating an apple. Which facts do we get from this observation?
1-The habit behavior, i.e. his wake-up time and activity to be performed.
2-The food preferences: fruits and specifically, apple in this case.
How will those facts influence our daily attendance?
Most significantly, the use of observation in the Experiential Hospitality, being part of the daily care offered to guests, makes that the observable events (information or data taken from the guest) are produced as naturally as possible and without any influence from the observer or any other factor, so that the guest never feels observed. This facilitates to surprise him with special details he perceives as unique and of his own, which therefore, will have an important effect on his emotional satisfaction.
- Offer a wake-up call service at the usual time in anticipation of his order to guarantee that he can perform his daily routine.
- Let apples in the room’s fruits basket or make sure that there are apples among the fruits offered at the Spa.
- Offer power drinks or leave some of them in the room’s mini bar.
- Surprise him arranging a relaxing bath in the hot tub after having finished his physical activity.
- Use the tool my habit-your habit (see article The Experiential Hospitality and habit of the guest) as a link booster to obtain new data.
“How did you know…?” Or “How did you realize…?” They are two of the questions from guests I enjoy most about, especially if accompanied by a big smile of satisfaction.
Osvaldo Torres Cruz
Guest Experience Advisor