Some Boutique Hotels in downtown Calgary cost a lot more than others. This is for the most part justified, but there’s one element that should be the same for all of us, and that’s the level and quality of the Customer Service. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons Boutique Hotels have become as popular as they have over the last few years.
Because Boutique Hotels operate on a smaller scale than traditional hospitality accommodations, we are capable of a much more personalized level of service. For example, here at Nuvo Hotel Suites, there are a number of ways in which we try to go the Extra Mile for our guests…
Really Nice Rooms + Excellent Personalized Service – Some facilities = Boutique Hotel.
One of the many challenges of being such a small property is the lack of a 24 Hour Check-In Office. From talking to other hoteliers with the same setup I’m somewhat reassured that it’s a pain in the butt for everyone having to deal with it. However, it has pushed us to work harder to make personal contact with every guest before Check-In, which goes a long way towards boosting our service record.
We’ve also developed a rapid-reaction system for our On-Call Managers. If any of our guests call the emergency line that they are provided upon Check-In, and in their Room Guides, we can have qualified staff at the property within 15 minutes.
Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try to get in touch with them, there are always some guests who book through a lazy travel agent or a 3rd party service such as Expedia, leaving us with no way to contact the guest.
(On a side note, when you book a room through the internet, or through a travel agent, please pleasepleaseplease call whichever hotel it is to confirm the details of your stay before your arrival. Most Hotel-related problems stem from a miscommunication in the booking, and calling in to confirm the details helps to ensure everything goes the way you expect it to.)
Frequently, we don’t have any way to contact certain guests prior to their arrival. This is why when we have a Late Arrival we produce the most comprehensive Late Arrival package possible. There’s no guarantee that we’ll be able to talk to a guest before they step into the building, so we need to make sure that everything they could possibly need is contained in a single, easy-attainable envelope. To date, our Late Arrival Packages include Property Maps, Parking Maps, Basic Instructions as well as Room Info, and of course phone numbers for our On-Call Managers.
I keep insisting that we include Knock-Knock Jokes. But so far no one’s with me.
Every hotel from this century (or the last) should track their reviews. All of them. Positive reviews are useful because you can use them as examples of what to do to maintain and improve your level of customer service. Negative reviews are even more useful. Well, most of the time*. There’s a rule of thumb with negative reviews; “If one person says something, 20 people were thinking it”. When a guest has a complaint and they’re taking it seriously enough to post about it online. You’d better listen and do something about the underlying causes.
*(On another side note, we seem to be running into a phenomenon more and more frequently where a guest attempts to blackmail us into giving them a free, or cheap, room by threatening to fake negative reviews and spread them around on the internet if we fail to meet their demands. It’s a little sad, and I usually direct these misguided souls to a nearby schoolyard where that kind of behaviour is a bit more age-appropriate.)
Of all the ways a hotel can go wrong, this would be the worst offense. Your regulars are your most important guests. Firstly, they keep coming back and spending their money at your place. But more importantly, they act as unofficial brand advocates. Having someone trust you enough to stay with you regularly out of all the hotels, boutique and otherwise, in downtown Calgary is solid gold.
For our us, we like try and excel at the making the little things special for our regulars. We usually give out little “Anniversary” gifts of sorts. For example, if a regular has stayed with us 10 or more times we’ll leave a bottle of wine in their room with a card.
Some regular guests have favourite rooms. Here at Nuvo, our rooms all have individualized furniture. Even within the same room type there are no two rooms totally alike in our little Boutique Hotel. As a result, most of our regulars end up having favourite rooms. Whenever they book with us, we always try and get them into their preferred suites.
We also try and streamline the Check-In/Out process as much as possible. For our regulars especially, we want them in the door and in their rooms within 2 minutes. Sometimes, we even make that ambitious goal a reality.
Jonathan Meier is the Online Marketing and Social Media Coordinator for Nuvo Hotel Suites, a small boutique hotel in downtown Calgary, Alberta (to learn more about the Nuvo peruse the rest of the site, or check out our Facebook Page). When he’s not at his desk, he’s usually out in the mountains near his hometown of Canmore where he can be seen climbing, skiing, or doing anything at all that doesn’t involve computers.