To differentiate your brand from your competitors it should bring out an emotional response such as trust, humor, or achievement. These emotions associate positive experiences with your company. That emotional tie builds loyalty and inspires your customers to tell their friends about you and your products or services.
Whether you are a “brand” or independent, it is very important that your customers feel emotionally connected to your hotel and staff. Remember the mantra….. people buy from people they know and like….. and if your customers are not connected emotionally then, well, ‘Houston, we have a problem!”
Connecting with customers on a ‘warm and fuzzy’ level can be achieved while preserving professionalism. What ‘warm and fuzzy’ does is to make your hotel and you a person – not a number or data on a spread sheet. I would never presume to suggest that you EVER get too personal with customers…. just get to know the people and let them get to know you!
In blogs past, and in conversations and emails with you, I have often referenced the human touch. Get to know something personal about your clients – not intrusive – personal. Do they play a sport, do they have a family, what are their interests? Give yourself a reference point with customers – remember something about them other than the fact that they like a room on an upper floor and away from the elevator! These are great topics to open up conversations. It also gives you something to relate to….. does your customer like to ski? Talk about the first snow. Does your customer collect antiques? Reference a local festival? Does your customer like baseball? Talk to them about the World Series. You don’t have to spend an inordinate amount of time on the topic, but gets the conversation rolling.
Knowing something about your customer also gives you another touch point opportunity with your customer. Come across a great article or movie about a subject or topic of interest? Send it to your customer with a note – ‘just thought you might enjoy this…..’ Every touch point does not have to be a hard sell…. remember the soft sell opportunities too.
On the other side of the coin…. what about an achievement that your hotel, you or a member of your staff has accomplished? Does your hotel participate in charitable events or activities such as Habitat for Humanity or working in a local shelter? Weave these accomplishments into conversations with customers. “Showing trust, humor or achievement” to customers will definitely make your hotel stand out from the crowd.
When you have a personal connection with your customers, you stand out from your competition. People buy from people they know and like….. do your customers know and like you?