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Setting The Standard: 10 Guidelines From The Hospitality Sector To Get Your Enterprise Ahead In an industry where fierce competition is the norm and customer comfort, pleasure, and contentment are key, it is imperative to invest in customer services at the highest of levels, presuming that success is your ultimate goal.

By Christophe Schnyder

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"In a world where things increasingly become commodities (especially services), the real differentiator becomes the personal experience you are able to create in the lives of your customers." – John Bessant.

Today, we address you; every one of you who may benefit a great deal from the expertise and successes of those who walked down the hospitality path before you. You most definitely heard of that "extra mile" we all rave about. Well, in the world of client service and customer care, there is no way around that principle– none that we know of, at least. You have to walk the extra mile. In an industry where fierce competition is the norm and customer comfort, pleasure, and contentment are key, it is imperative to invest in customer services at the highest of levels, presuming that success is your ultimate goal.

Delivering great and –mind that– consistent service, every hour of every day, is the means not only to stand out, but also to achieve sustainable success. It is around this policy that the five-start resort and spa, Sofitel The Palm Dubai, has built its years of accomplishment and brilliance in the field of hospitality and leisure, and in an industry where success is attainable, but sustainability often seems far-fetched.

Sofitel The Palm Dubai.

Approaching the subject of "perfection" in terms of customer service may seem somewhat dread-worthy; a way-too-complicated path to follow. However, with a clear and precise goal, an "eyes on the prize" attitude, and unyielding dedication and passion, every endeavor will start to seem uncomplicated, if not enjoyable. Nonetheless, there are a set of binding guidelines you should follow to a tee and never deviate from, no matter the circumstances, in a bid to build a resilient brand, and knit a customer service system that can easily become an investable competitive advantage.

1. STRIVE FOR LOYALTY Learn to be flexible and adaptable to the customer's every need, no matter how irrelevant those may seem. Give your guest all the right reasons why he/she should come back. By doing so, you will be creating trust between the customer and your product, and building a network of loyal clientele, essential amid the prevailing fierce competitiveness, the numerous well-established brands, the varied concepts overflowing the market, and the guests' more-than-high expectations. Customers who are satisfied with the hotel's overall experience will certainly be visiting again, regardless of the price, package, or deal they are getting, as comfort and trust are everything, and price is nothing but a factor in the selection process.

2. CONSISTENCY, CONSISTENCY, AND MORE CONSISTENCY As stated earlier, consistency in the hotel and service industry is as essential as the air we breathe. Without it, the business and the brand you are building will eventually lose its pillars and crumble. Consistency covers every single aspect of the business; it is the most guaranteed form of maintaining high standards and quality in all things, all of the time. Providing excellent service all year long can suddenly prove insignificant if wrecked by a single misstep or a minor blunder. The customer may actually swear off the brand because of that one mistake– and that is a big no-no!

Related: Five Business Truths From The World Of Hospitality That Apply To Every Industry

3. SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS (AND GO ALL-OUT TO EXCEED THEM) Having recognized the importance of loyalty and trust between the customer and the business, it goes without saying that the service provided to the client –in our case, the hotel guests– should be equivalent (if not higher) in quality, superiority, and standards to the expectations set by the hotel on the offered and promoted products. The slightest disparities between "what is expected" and "what is actually offered" can have a detrimental effect on the client's trust in the services provided by the hotel chain as a whole.

4. BUILD A TEAM ENVIRONMENT Sofitel The Palm Dubai owes its success to its staff, from the bottom to the top of the career ladder; men and women from all across the world, working hand-in-hand to uphold the brand's reputation and name, and provide the guests with an unmatched luxury experience. We believe in teamwork, and so should you. Our mantra is: all team members should be working as a collective unit to achieve the brand's goals, and overcome the day-to-day challenges and odds.

Sofitel The Palm Dubai.

5. LEAD BY EXAMPLE Positive team leaders instill in their subordinates a sense of target, a resolve for success, and a strong belief in their ability to achieve the set goals. Leaders must lead by example, set the tone for the staff, and teach them the best methods to interact with the guests, and the safest, most efficient ways to tackle arising issues, and handle potential problems beforehand.

6. CARVE A NICHE Amidst an already crowded service industry, Sofitel The Palm Dubai, as a five-star resort and spa, succeeded in positioning itself as a tropical retreat and a top hotel destination for guests seeking subtle French elegance, relaxation, leisure, and rejuvenation. It carved up its own niche, winning against competition, and attracting clients with its high-standard services and its one-of-a-kind luxurious hotel experience.

7. WORK ON AN EFFECTIVE PR STRATEGY Public relations (PR) professionals are essential to every business venture, as they rely on word-of-mouth communication to help build a positive reputation to any given brand, and sell its product to a target audience, under different arrangements. Adopting an effective PR strategy will not only help you organize your PR activities, but also make strategic decisions around the best ways to market, and sell your products smoothly and effortlessly.

Related: Three Things You Need To Know Before You Develop Your PR

8. REWARD LOYALTY When Ten Best Hotel Loyalty Programs to join in 2019 is the first link to appear as you type the words "reward" and "program" in your search engine, then you know exactly where you should be; up on that list, boasting an unrivaled rewards and loyalty scheme to your guests. Such programs are generally utilized by hotels to attract and retain customers, and entice business travelers or other frequent hotel guests to favor that particular brand or group of hotels over others, when running through the ample number of choices. It is no secret that customers, especially the frequent ones, would rather book hotels that offer such reward and loyalty programs.

Sofitel The Palm Dubai on Instagram.

9. MASTER THE SOCIAL MEDIA GAME Social media has taken the world by storm. Nowadays, not a single business, industry, or idea can carve its way through to the public, unless it is social media-smart. We at Sofitel The Palm Dubai believe in the power of beautifully crafted messages and aptly-delivered ideas, not only through content marketing, but also by means of social media, so as to reach the widest range of customers. You can be a click away from feeling that virtual sentiment of relaxation and zen offered to you by our hotel's spa facility, or a scroll away from indulging in an unmatched luxury experience –again, virtual– only accessible if you choose to book a stay at our hotel. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter proved to be of great value in terms of fueling the audience's –followers, in social media language– sense of craving for our hotel's product and services.

10. SKILL IS KEY Invest in a team of seasoned professionals whose skills can be mirrored in the hotel's growth, advancement and success. Having the right talent in the right place is essential to organizing the business and developing the team's abilities, each in their field of expertise. Leadership, creativity, time management, organizational skills, strong work ethics, positive attitude, and ability to accept criticism and learn from it are all qualities and skills you should be looking for in potential staff members. Last but not least, permeate your team members with a customer-centric approach to all they do, and invest in building up their knowledge on hospitality, leisure, health, and wellness.

Related: Plug And Play Debuts Travel And Hospitality Accelerator Program In Abu Dhabi

Christophe Schnyder

General Manager, Sofitel The Palm Dubai

Christophe Schnyder is the General Manager of Sofitel the Palm Dubai


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