When people are asked to provide an example of superior customer service they almost always point to hotels. Indeed many individuals idea of great customer service comes from that at luxury hotels such as those operated by the Ritz Carlton chain or the great hotels in cities like New York, London, Paris, and Mumbai.
No business is probably as dependent upon customer service as hotels. Most large hotels generally depend on a high level of customer service to attract and retain guests. In many countries, hotel employees depend on tips from satisfied customers for a large part of their income. This means that hotels could be the perfect example of a customer service business.
Therefore anybody that wants to understand customer service should take a close look at the hotel business. Indeed one renowned hotel chain, Ritz-Carlton, is often held up as an example of an exemplary customer service business.
Types of Hotel Customer Service
- Basic hotel customer service. This service is often provided at motels in the United States. It usually just involves a desk clerk that checks customers in and maid service in the room. Customers have to carry their own bags and meals are only provided in restaurants. Instead of service, such hotels offer amenities such as television, coffee in the rooms, bars in the rooms, exercise areas, swimming pools and a free breakfast.
- Traditional hotel service. These are the services that travelers historically get at larger hotels. Examples of this include room service (delivery of meals to rooms), bellhops to carry bags to rooms, on call laundry service, a concierge (customer service manager) to arrange for sports tickets, taxi cabs and other services, checked baggage and more. Many of these hotels feature businesses such as barbershops, hair salons, and bars in the hotel. Another traditional service is a van that takes guests to and from the airport or the train station to the hotel. Such hotels often cater to businessmen and tourists.
- Luxury or five-star hotels. These are luxurious hotels that generally cater to the wealthy and leisure travelers. The services provided are similar to traditional hotel service but the staff is often much more attentive. Managers will reserve favorite rooms for regular guests. Concierges will go to a great deal of trouble to meet guests’ demands. Special service is often available for wealthy guests that pay extra. Many such hotels will prepare special meals for guests.
- Resort hotel service. These hotels are often designed as a retreat from the world and maybe associated with a casino, skiing or a beach resort. A resort hotel will often have a spa and other recreational facilities on site. Many resort hotels are in isolated and exotic locations and emphasize peace and quiet.
Developments in Hotel Customer Service
Traditionally hotel customer service has not been very sophisticated for example many hotels don’t train employees. This has begun to change in recent years. Some hotels now have training programs and rely upon surveys and customer service software.
Since the hotel business has always been very competitive these trends will continue. The biggest trend is the paying special attention to customers and creating customer service packages aimed at specific customers (for example dog owners). This is often done by hotel chains in an attempt to get customers to always stay at their hotels.