I recently heard Will Guidara speak about his new book, Unreasonable Hospitality: The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect. I brought this idea to the HSMAI Marketing Advisory Board to talk about how this concept impacts our work and think about the intersection of technology and the people centric nature of hospitality.
Here are the top three takeaways from our conversations:
1. Lead with Kindness
Embracing unreasonable hospitality is grounded in listening and putting people first. This approach ensures guests feel seen and heard, highlighting the importance of genuine human interactions. This is even more important as technology has automated many operation functions, so the human interactions guests have taken on increased meaning.
These principles can be applied to team management as well. Think about how you can go above and beyond to make someone’s day.
2. Fuse Fundamentals with Technology
Leverage evolving technology to deliver excellence from discovery to check out. How can you use data you gather digitally to improve the guest experience in person? Exceptional stories, like delivering forgotten passports or crafting personalized surprises, exemplify the idea of unreasonable hospitality. One best practice shared was capturing these moments and presenting them back to staff on the brand and operational side.
3. Cultivate a Culture of Empathy
Empathy becomes a driving force in this philosophy. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. Simple gestures, like genuine compliments, can elevate guest experiences and build loyalty. This can be used within teams as well to create a ripple effect on all operations. One example shared was a compliment game where team members gained points for offering genuine compliments to each other to help create an empathetic environment. Empathy or a smile can go a long way when times are tough on property or within your team.
We spend so much time in KPIs and goals, it’s worthwhile to take a step back for a moment and focus on the people aspect of hospitality and remember the guest experience we are working towards enabling.
Questions to Consider:
- How do you see ‘unreasonable hospitality’ fitting into the marketing function for hotels?
- Does ‘unreasonable hospitality’ work in conjunction with, or independently of new technologies that consumers are engaging with AI/ ChatGPT?
- How do you connect with your operations teams for their one-to-one experiences to influence your positioning to the masses? How do you feed social listening to your operations team to deliver a one-to-one experience?
- How do you make sure your marketing teams have direct experience with hospitality to empathize with the guest and influence your Marketing?
Kate Lochridge, Director of Resort Marketing, Universal Orlando Resort, HSMAI Marketing Advisory Board Member. Connect with Kate on LinkedIn.
This article originally appeared on HSMAI.