A cautionary tale about guest loyalty

For hoteliers – based on a true story all about ‘the customer experience’ that either leads to guest loyalty or the silent feedback of decreased footfall.

Guest expectations

You know when you travel to a hotel, perhaps for a last minute weekend away or for a long awaited holiday, you have all the anticipation and expectations of your awaited stay fluttering inside.

You reach the estate and make your way down the beautiful long drive leading to the hotel, allowing all your cares and stresses to drift away. There’s a designated parking bay ready for your arrival, and you’re warmly greeted by a porter who carefully carries your luggage through the grand entrance to reception for check in, before showing you to your stunning room. It all goes smoothly with very little waiting around – perfection!

Upon the dresser is a hand written welcome note from the owners and posy of flowers which smell divine. A good cup of tea and a slice of freshly baked cake are served whilst you relax, explore your room and carefully unpack your luggage. There’s everything you could need. (Although maybe an extra plug socket would have been useful to charge up your phone). The room looks immaculate and fresh, with a large picture window overlooking the beautiful surroundings.

You peruse the dining menu for the evening – it all sounds delightfully good. So you head down early for pre-dinner drinks and soak up your new surroundings.

The sound of cutlery gently clinking starts to come from the dining area calling to your appetite. Yet no-one has come over to show you to your table when they said they would. The ‘standard protocol’ is not obvious – other guests are faced with the same confusion. Should you make your way over? Will you lose your table? Unease starts to creep in. When the host eventually turns up they are somewhat curt and brisk with you, making you feel unwelcome, embarrassed even. You feel your cheeks burn and your hands start to sweat as you quickly sit at your table.

What happened?

Now the meal that followed could have been amazing (simply as promised from the delightful menu), but all it has taken is one incident to completely undermine the entire experience. It was probably insignificant to the member of staff and they didn’t give it a second thought. ‘Perhaps they were having an off night’, or ‘run off their feet’, you justify to yourself. We Brits have a tendency to not want to cause a scene and let things seemingly slip pass by, but which moment from your stay will you remember?

What happened to the beautiful drive in? The stunning welcome and delights experienced just a few hours before?

The tasty ingredients after?

It’s all gone a bit sour…


Guest loyalty

In everything you say and do as a hotel, in all that’s seen and heard, it is imperative to ensure they are what you as a brand and business want to be remembered for. These are the ingredients to making an amazing stay. The ways in which you go the extra mile. The ways you show you care about your guests. Your guests are only with you for a short amount of time, though they’ve likely been saving up for and looking forward to this stay for a long time.

Get the experience right and they will fondly remember it for a long time and share it with friends and family.

Get one part wrong and that will be the overriding memory.


Overcome the challenge

If you’d like help overcoming the challenge of how to differentiate your business and strengthen guest loyalty – let’s talk.


Becks Neale is a Dorset Designer & Brand Consultant, working alongside charities, community initiatives and purpose-led organisations to achieve a brand they love and live, by distilling their brand story.

Design to tell your story.

© inkshed design studio