Personal touches that increase hotel success

Google the phrase ‘personal touches’ and you get nearly 2.5 million listings!

So how hard can it be to find something to do in your hotel to make a personal touch?

It’s certainly the personal touches that can make an average stay into a truly memorable one. People want to be made to feel at home and it’s the personal touches that count.

When I was talking Nina & Gérard Basset at Hotel TerraVina, (I am interviewing Nina and Gérard as part of my forthcoming interview series ‘How to Give Your Hotel a Competitive Edge‘) they were telling me of the teddy bears they have for children. This came about purely by chance, after one child forgot his teddy. Now they have a supply of them for visiting children, so they have something to cuddle.

The personal touches might start before guests have even arrived. I know of one hotel that sends a Google route plan from the guest’s home postcode to their hotel. Or you might forward an events calendar for the period of their visit. At the Isle of Eriska Hotel (Beppo Buchanan-Smith is another of my guests in my interview series) they ask guests in advance what activities they would like to do during their stay so they can get them organised.

Personal touches might include being aware of your guests’ circumstances – are they there to celebrate a special occasion? A small gift, flowers or something as simple as a cupcake and a candle. Do they have special requirements e.g. dietary? Are they off to a wedding and need a buttonhole, confetti or gift-wrap?

Your personal touches might not be pre planned, but as a result of being attentive to your guests’ needs. Train your staff to listen and be observant to what guests say or are looking for. Whether it’s help with the stairs, needing a needle and thread, or a last minute birthday card and stamp.

Are your guests away from loved ones, and want to take a gift back home? What do you do, have or use that is unique or unusual and reflects your brand or identity? Homemade preserves, gifts made by a local artist or craftsman that reflect your location, branded toiletries…

Do your guests want to be reminded of their visit after they’ve returned home? What could you give as a little memento?

And if nothing else, a simple hand written thank you note after their stay will keep you in mind for their next visit or when recommending to friends and family.

It’s the exceptional and unexpected that gets you noticed, remembered and most importantly brings you repeat or referral business.

The ‘How to Give Your Hotel a Competitive Edge’ interview series hosted by Caroline Cooper starts 5th July 2010. Read more about it here.