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Viewpoint: Greater customer interaction can help set your property apart

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Viewpoint: Greater customer interaction can help set your property apart

To be successful in hospitality, we have to delight guests and create memorable experiences. So why is there a misconception that we don’t need to pay attention  to extended-stay guests, asks John Wagner

Aparthotels are the most dynamic segment of the extended-stay sector, with a model that is closer to that of a hotel than a serviced apartment. Although we offer fewer facilities than a full-service hotel, we still have a 24-hour reception, breakfast, daily housekeeping, gym and often a café/restaurant, as well as shared facilities. Most importantly, we need a hands-on manager and team whose  presence, personality and hospitality must shine throughout the property.

We must stay focused on delivering a strong customer service and continue to improve on the guest experience. It is this service ethos and customer interaction that enables operators to distinguish themselves from each other and, more importantly, from alternative accommodation products such as Airbnb and full-service offerings.

Extended-stay guests are away from home for longer. They therefore want to feel
‘at home’ – and that often involves seeking human interaction. Think about the  business traveller who travels alone to a new destination. He or she craves company but, of course, they are without their friends and family, or the familiarity of home.

By its very nature, an extended-stay hotel will tend to check in fewer people. They can therefore invest more time with their guests, ensuring they are settled  in and are fully versed on the facilities and local area. Staff need to be  approachable, neighbourly and extremely knowledgeable.

They need to maintain a relationship on a genuine basis over weeks, not just  ‘smile and greet’ for a night or two. Guest interaction is something at which Cycas Hospitality excels. At its simplest level, it is our team on the floor that will ask how a guest’s day went or share a glass of wine or play a game of ping pong with them at one of our weekly Socials, where they can also get to know their  neighbours.

We follow the mantra of ‘our job is not over until we get a smile’ because we  know it’s more important than ever to continue creating memorable experiences.

If we continue to deliver an outstanding service, ultimately, we know we will  increase guest loyalty. With the support of our dedicated ‘culture team’, we seek  to recruit personality using ‘auditions’ focusing on the quirky qualities, rather than the skills.

Personality is something you can’t teach and this is how we stand apart. A guest who feels at home is a loyal guest who will return to the ‘smile’ every time.

John Wagner is a founding partner of Cycas Hospitality

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