The definition of “Guest Experience”

In the hospitality world, there’s one phrase which keeps coming up again and again: guest experience. We’re told that we need to create it; that our customers yearn for it; that it’s the holy grail and the standard on which we are measured.

The problem is that there is no real standard of this rather woolly phrase which gets trotted out in articles, blogs and in board meetings across the globe. With guest experience often appearing to be a mystical force of which Yoda would be proud, but with no real definition, hoteliers are prone to ask “which bit of guest experience are we talking about? And what do I need to do to improve how I deliver it?”

We really should be measuring against a great guest experience, but therein lies the difficulty and the opportunity: it has a different meaning to different guests.

In our view, guest experience is all about taking what you have and making it enjoyable to a wide range of different audiences. The same stimuli can generate different experiences in different guests, so it is all about positioning and perception. At the end of the day it all comes down to your hotel – and what it means – being perceived uniquely in the mind’s eye of customers at one moment in time.

If that all sounds like marketing mumbo-jumbo or psycho babble, have a look at this video. It shows how one product offer, in this case the city of Heraklio, Crete, Greece, can generate totally different perceptions depending on the leanings of the visitor. It is a great example of one product, in this case the city, being whatever the customer wants it to be.

With some lateral thinking and decent marketing, any hotel can improve their business and and create an offer which has wide appeal, offers a great guest experience and will be memorable (for the right reasons) for years to come.

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