April 13, 2012

Hotel guest’s first impression more critical these days


In the past, guests usually waited until after they checked out before posting a review. Now, with guests tweeting and posting Facebook updates about their vacations almost in real time, a bungled first impression can be immediately broadcast to hundreds - even thousands.

Hotels are amping up their efforts to make a good first impression, writes The Wall Street Journal.

The goal: Dazzle guests during the first, crucial 15 minutes of their stay - or at least avoid annoying them.

Some hotels train front-desk employees to glean information during check-in chitchat that they can later use to impress guests. (Sending complimentary cups of tea to people who say they have a cold, perhaps.)

Others are prettying up lobbies - and even driveways - to enhance views and make them easier to navigate. Some lavish welcome goodies on kids and pets. And at least one brand, Denihan Hospitality Group's Affinia, has hired a body-language expert to train employees how to read travelers' moods to help figure out the best greeting approach.

"If you lose them at the beginning, it is very hard to recover," says Mickael C. Damelincourt, general manager of the Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto, a 261-room property that opened in January. "In their mind they've decided it is a bad hotel."

Get the full story at The Wall Street Journal