Running a boutique hotel has always been a tough job. It requires being everywhere at once, catering to each guest’s specific needs while also keeping an eye on those special touches that make your hotel unique.
In the wake of COVID-19, things are even tougher. The time-sapping monotony of sanitising touch-points, distancing restaurant tables, and adapting to ever-changing guidelines is not only gruelling, it also distracts from the key aim of delivering the boutique service you promise.
Those necessary COVID-related tasks are not going away any time soon, but by working smarter instead of harder, it is possible for you and your staff to get back to the business of delivering the best experience possible for your guests.
Rethink Your Traditions
Many of the old ways of working are gone. Whether it’s face-to-face check-in at reception or customers ringing the bell at the concierge, the coronavirus pandemic has consigned many hotel traditions to the past. This is no bad thing as so many of them were inefficient.
Check-in was never anyone’s favourite part of a holiday, and if your guests can now do it themselves remotely, all the better. Your reception staff will have more time to focus on what’s really important: the smooth running of your hotel.
Empower Your Staff
As your most important asset, your staff are the best tool you have when it comes to working smarter. So empower them to make life easier for everyone around them. Of course your staff must follow COVID guidelines to the letter, but they will also have their own unique ways to make your guests more comfortable.
Ensuring your staff are impeccably trained and allowed the freedom to improvise is the best way to guarantee that any problem that occurs will be solved quickly and without fuss.
One of the surest ways to empower your staff and provide a better customer service is to digitalise your boutique hotel experience, just like Budock Vean did. Even before COVID, customers were crying out for the hotel industry to catch up with the rest of the world when it came to technology, and recent research suggests as many as 80% of guests would download a digital hotel app if it was provided.
Why wouldn’t that be the case when everyone has a smartphone in their pockets? A digital app allows you to provide more information to your guests—from the latest safety guidelines to local points of interest—at a time when that is absolutely vital. And in a much more experiential format than a weighty room directory or a long exchange of emails. Meanwhile, in-app instant-messaging means a staff member can permanently be on hand to answer queries even when guests may not want face-to-face contact.
Boutique means exclusive, it means special, it means custom. Each of your guest’s demands will be different. Some will need regular attention, while others will want to just be left alone, but all will want quick responses to any requests they make.
The key to delivering on that promise is to be flexible and treat every guest as an individual. By doing that you not only personalise each and every visit, but ensure that time is never wasted.
Listen to Your Guests
Properly hearing what your guests tell you is the best way to both provide better service and work smarter in the post-COVID world. Because if you are currently offering something your guests do not want, change it, streamline it, potentially get rid of it. And if there’s something you’re not offering that guests do want, provide it. It’s blindingly obvious, but it bears repeating; a sure sign of good service is when you get what you want.