A Road Warrior's Cry: Micro Matters in The Guest Experience

by Jeannie Walters

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I’ve been traveling a lot lately. I’m nowhere near true road warrior status, but I’ve spent more time in hotels in these first two quarters of the year than I did pretty much all of last year. When you travel consistently, you start noticing the small things that make a big difference in your guest experience. Some micromoments create moments of delight and loyalty. Others can do the opposite.

Here, as a plea for all the true road warriors and baby road warriors like me, I ask for a few considerations for those in the travel and hospitality industries.

guest experience

1. For the love of all that we charge, please provide more outlets!

In a recent Marriott hotel, I appreciated the outlet in the base of the lamp next to the bed. With laptops, iPads, phones, extra chargers, wifi hotspots, and who knows what else, the more accessible outlets, the better. But then I saw this.

Somehow the thoughtfully placed outlet for guests had been used to plug in the bulky alarm clock in the room. How is this useful? I ended up unplugging it and using my phone for a clock. Not ideal, but better than not charging, right? This could not have been the original design of the room, right? Utterly perplexing. And quite irritating to the guest.



2. Water, water everywhere!

One of the strangest compliments I received recently was how my commitment to hydration was inspiring. I drink a lot of water. When I travel, I try to keep it at a near constant rate. I carry a water bottle with me, as many travelers do, and fill up after I make it through airport security. At my hometown airport of O’Hare, there are several “hydration stations” throughout the terminals. These specially-designed fill-up stations provide filtered water for travelers. They work well, are spaced throughout the corridors, and provide just what I’m seeking.

Some hotels provide ice water in the lobbies, which I also rely on to fill up. The tap water in the rooms is often, well, yucky. A recent hotel  provided the pitchers of water with citrus or berries during the day. These pitchers unfortunately disappeared after dinner time. Hydration is 24/7 in my world, so I would appreciate it around the clock!

guest experience3. A little fun, please.

In a recent strategy session, we had the benefit of using a really great design space at a client’s headquarters. The room, with plenty of rolling white boards and stand-up tables, also had a basketball hoop.

I was thinking of how there are times I would love this in a hotel room, and I bet I’m not alone. I get antsy when I’m cooped up or waiting for a meeting in a room that isn’t much different than the others.

Why not provide a little whimsy and fun to liven up the guest experience? Some Hard Rock Hotels provide electric guitars for guests to try. It would be great if other hotels found ways to provide a little something to kill the monotony of hotel rooms.

What would you add? Travel is great in many ways, but it’s painful in so many others. What should the travel and hospitality industries do to make small moments matter?

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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