Hospitality Industry
2 min read

Guest experience: Towards authentic immersion

EHL Insights
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What is the importance of guest experience?

At the heart of every restaurant's potential for profit and success is the quality and consistency of their guest experience. A consistent, quality guest experience translates into loyal, returning customers and the best advertising of all, positive WOM.

What is authentic customer service?

Authentic customer service occurs when there is a real culture of "how can we solve this customer's problem?" rather than "how quickly can I get them off the phone?" In short, to have empathy with the customer, provide excellent service and, in turn, build trust in the organization, its products and services.

Authentic immersion

We live in an age of unprecedented freedom when it comes to travel, and low-cost airlines and online deals have made most corners of the world easily accessible. But instead of diversity, a cursory look at social media brings up the same pictures of infinity pools overlooking Bondi Beach, hot air balloons in the skies of Cappadocia and forlorn maiko – geishas in training – hurrying along the streets of Kyoto. A 2017 study by rental home insurer Schofields found that 40% of millennial UK travelers consider “instagramability” a deciding factor when it comes to picking a travel destination.

“‘Instagramability’ is a deciding factor when picking a travel destination”

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Food can be a powerful way to bond with a local cuisine and terroir, when hotel menus go beyond club sandwiches and avocado toasts.

New trends in tourism destinations

Hotels have been adapting, changing their interior design, amenities and activities to reflect popular trends, with no link to their own unique concept. Discovery, escapism and relaxation – what made traveling exciting in the first place – are being replaced by bucket lists, must-sees and like counters. Predictably, however, hotels that blindly follow social media trends are doomed to become very passé, very fast.

Seeking to avoid the masses of tourists on the hunt for a viral post, a growing number of leisure travelers are fleeing popular destinations in favor of more every day or obscure discoveries. The rise of agritourism, where guests can reconnect with traditional nature and food, is an example of this. Coombeshead Farm in Cornwall lets guests forage their own food from the grounds, and offers bread making and butchery classes as well. Dark tourism, a concept where travelers discover forgotten or tragic moments of history, offers another unique perspective while advocating education and remembrance.

Hoteliers eschewing the bright lights of civilization have also found new demand from travelers wishing to disconnect, sometimes literally. Astro-tourism lets guests rediscover the beauty of the clear night sky, unobstructed by light pollution. The Sheldon chalet, located deep within Alaska’s Denali National Park pairs pristine skies with a full digital detox - zero internet, zero cell reception. Whether it’s finding a unique perspective on an apparently mundane destination or offering a few days of total seclusion, immersion travel allows hoteliers to fully leverage their surroundings.

This article is extracted from the Hotel Concept Handbook, developed by Creative Supply in partnership with EHL and has been used to create winning hotel concepts. For hoteliers, it helps to create integrated, compelling concepts that attract the interest of guests and industry professionals alike by linking storytelling to operations or design. The Hotel Concept Framework is taught every year to students at EHL.

EHL Campus (Singapore) 26-30 April 2021  SHORT COURSE Designing Hotel and Restaurant Concepts  How to design and develop a successful hospitality concept - from the  strategic and creative level down to the day-to-day operations  Learn More

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Founder of Creative Supply & EHL Alumni

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