Over the last several years, I have shared ideas in columns that have addressed the guest experience and delivering service. These columns have generated a high level of reader interest and a future article will recap of some of their comments on impressions of service levels, customer expectations and service codes.
An underlying theme in these columns is the ongoing need for all of us to retain the “high touch” personality that is the heart in hospitality. Technology is an important ingredient in the guest experience, but it is not the reason guests list when sharing why they make the decision to return to a hotel or to demonstrate loyalty.
Time for reflection
If you think back on your career, a major step was when you were entitled to your first business card. That “entitlement” was sort of a rite of passage – a sign of having “made it.” Chances are that you gave that card to as many people as you could – at least for a while. As time wore on, you did not have to re-print as many as the first year. Other things took priority. Technology took more of our time and communication focus.
Many successful people continue to re-order their cards regularly, as they find that business cards are one of the most under-utilized sales tools in the hospitality industry by many people.
Today, successful hoteliers, sales managers, general managers and owners value this low-cost, easy-to-carry, easy-to distribute sales piece as one of their most valuable tools. Prior to the late 1990s, most business cards were fairly basic – name, title, company name and address, phone number and perhaps the company slogan or motto. Today’s cards contain much more information
- the above basics
- proper brand identity if you belong to a referral group or franchise
- email and web-site address
- social media information
- cell or home number if you have the kind of position or personality that is service sensitive enough to warrant the kind of commitments that tell existing and POTENTIAL customers that you care MORE than your competition. (Yes, I have a bias here regarding service.)
Today’s cards may be a dual or a tri-fold in design, listing
- your property’s facilities in some detail, such as number and types of accommodations
- banquet or meeting capacity
- special services, such as saunas or spas, casinos or recreational facilities
- amenities such as managers’ receptions or continental breakfast
Some include detailed maps from nearby interstate highways and others feature four-color photographs of the hotel or perhaps the view from the hotel’s front door. The decision is yours on content, but your local printer, hotel association or franchise director can give you a wealth of options that have been successful for others.
After the cards are printed, what is next? The next is the fun AND critical part of using them effectively: distribution.
Following are some ideas we have seen used at hotels throughout the world:
- As an introduction to almost everyone you meet for the first time – one never knows when they might need lodging/meeting/food services in your area
- In all correspondence – even with technology, everyone has some kind of card case or the option to paste the info into their computer from your card
- In all billing – a thank you on the back of your card can have great goodwill!
- In all payments – your suppliers also need edging/meeting/food services in your area at some point. We must all learn to regularly ASK FOR THE SALE!
- At all industry and business meetings – we all need to network
- In your restaurant – if you meet and greet guests (as either the GM, sales manager or restaurant manager). Let them know you care about them
- At check-in/out – A rack at the desk works for some hotels, but a sales manager or GM personally thanking EXISTING guests at checkout and asking them to return impresses many travelers. Giving business cards is a reminder of the experience that they might relate to others back home. This is great referral potential and a way to build guest loyalty.
- For complimentary or discounting purposes when appropriate
- With all sales and marketing promotional pieces – put a name with the hotel and finally
- As a thank-you; a personal note is just that – a time taking, individualized sign of appreciation.
Business cards today can cost as little as five cents each. Giving 20 out per business day equals roughly 100 per week, 450 per month and 5,400 per year. Can you think of any other personally delivered message that exists for under $500 a year?
“In sales, you must make the customer remember you” Victor Kiam, former owner, New England Patriots, Former CEO, Remington Shavers
Keys to Success Hospitality Tip of the Week:
Focus on Operations & Profitability Recognize that supporting and offering English as a 2nd Language is an investment, not an expense for many areas in the hotel. It helps everyone to improve communication, to feel more involved and that the person learning English is cared about as an individual by the employer.
Feel free to share an idea for a column at John@hoganhospitality.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements …………. And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense. 602-799-5375
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