Do you really want to step up your game and wow your guests to the point they never stop talking about what you did to make their stay so perfect. How about if I told you this isn't difficult and anyone can do it? What if I shared just one thing you could do to power up your personalization? Well, I'm going to share several, so gear up for some over delivery, but I want to start off with a story.
About 16 years ago, my son Mike and his then girlfriend, Andrea went to the Far East and they did a backpacking tour and they stayed in . Hostels and cheap hotels across Japan and China and Vietnam. And coming towards the end of their stay, it was , Andrea's birthday and they were in Phuket Thailand, and they decided to treat themselves, so they booked into the Hilton Garden Hotel.
So they arrived at the hotel and got checked in and went up to their rooms and unpacked. And then they went out to a spa and came back and they were going to have a drink on the terrace before they went to dinner. And there was a knock on the door. And when Andrea went to the door, there was a hotel employee there carrying a birthday cake, with a lit candle on it.
And of course they were super surprised and Andrea couldn't figure out how did they know it was her birthday? She hadn't told anybody. But you know, it was easy. All it took was the receptionist to see in Andrea's passport that it was her birthday. And what happened next was baked into the hotel's, hospitality systems .Baked. Do you see what I did there? Yeah, so hotels have used the concept of collecting guest data. They call it rich guest data for decades, and this allows 'them to personalize the experience for returning guests, such as providing their preferred newspaper in the morning and making sure they have the type of pillows they like.
In our business, we've got so much more scope for great service delivery like this, as our guests are so often coming for multiple days, and it's a long planned- for vacation and there's probably much more communication backwards and forth. Well, let's step back a bit and talk about what I actually mean by data, because it's so much more than the numbers.
It's more than the average daily rate and occupancy stats and, and the rest. Qualitative data is like the flavor of information. It's all about descriptions and stories and opinions rather than numbers. Just imagine you are talking about your favorite ice cream flavors with friends, and you might say chocolate.
The chocolate is so rich and creamy, and that's qualitative. But if you say, I ate three scoops of chocolate ice cream, and I do that every day, that's quantitative numbers. So qualitative, I'm not gonna say that too much. More is the non number stuff that helps us understand things in, in a much more colorful and descriptive way.
And it's really, really useful information that can guide you to understanding your guest's wants their needs, their desires, and their preferences. And the data is all out there. You actually don't have to go far to find it. So let's talk about how you can get to all this juicy information and then use it to create your guest's best experience.
I. It's all about following the breadcrumbs and paying real attention to the questions that guests ask, as well as the information that they offer to you in calls and emails. Because every communication is an opportunity to collect more data. I mean, think about the emails that you get from guests, the long, long emails with so many questions in them.
And asking for so much detail, but there's so much information in that communication. Don't ever complain about it because this is gold. A guest might mention a birthday or an anniversary. They might tell you why they're coming to your location. And then of course they're asking questions. They ask questions about the location, the house, the weather, conditions they should expect, the activities they can do, and so much more.
And each of those provides a little nugget of detail about them. So here's some examples of questions, and these were ones that came into our property management company over the years. So I've just, I've just picked out a few. Are there any local restaurants serving gluten-free food.
We hear that a lot. It means that there's somebody in the group that is on a gluten-free diet. So what did we do? We left them as a gift in the property for when they arrived, a box of gluten-free cookies. And that just blew them away. And we had that same question that Andrea asked. How did you know?
Another question or, or another email was, it's my wife's birthday and I want to take her somewhere nice. Where should we go? Of course you're gonna provide a few alternatives, and you'll probably offer to book a table for them, at least, I hope you will. And then you liaise with the restaurant to deliver them a complimentary cocktail or a glass of wine while they're there.
That goes down really, really well. Another one. I have a senior dog. Is there a local vet with an emergency service? Well, clearly you're not gonna be providing a vet, but they're telling you they've got an old dog. What do old dogs need? They need a good night's sleep with a heated pad. So you could provide a heated pad for the dog bed that the owners are probably going to bring.
Another one. Do children need a fishing license? So you'd be sending info on catching fish in the river or wherever they're planning on going fishing because you've gone into your data and you find that they've got an eight year old boy in their group who maybe is gonna go fishing for the first time.
. Another one last one. We'll be doing some hiking in the area.
Can you recommend some good trails? Well, of course, once again, you're gonna send a list of your favorite off the beaten track trails. But why don't you just leave a bag of trail mix. The property and, and not just any old trail mix, maybe there's a local, a local place that does natural trail mix and you can package it up with a nice little bow, something like that.
So there's lots of different ways that you can deliver. What will g in Unreasonable hospitality calls the little doses of excellence, tiny doses of excellence. So often the really good questions are in your guests initial emails and communications to you. So after they book, it's always worthwhile going back over previous correspondence to check to see if there were any nuggets that they left.
Before they booked. Now usually, you know, you, you go backwards and forwards with a guest before they book, and then when they do, then you're into your booking process probably forgetting about all those earlier emails you had from them. So it's really worthwhile spending some time on them if you're not getting information in that way.
If they're not asking any questions, if they're just going straight in and booking. Then ask for it. Create a fun survey asking what they like to do to see and visit the types of restaurants they like, and any special requests they might have. But make sure that in your survey they've got space to write comments rather than tick boxes. Because once again, that's getting that qualitative, I'm using that word again, that that really extensive information from them and then you can use it to customize their experiences. Maybe providing specific amenities or local recommendations. As I mentioned before, let's say they mention an interest in live music and you know of a local concert venue that's not widely advertised.
Send them a schedule of events. Then of course you can follow them on social media to find out their likes and preferences. And yes, there's some stalking involved here. Hey, it's out there. For you to find really, you could even have a VA do this for you and have them tasked to go find interesting information on your guests that you can add to your database.
When you're just using the data guests have given you to personalize the services you provide, you're, you are not likely to fall foul of data protection regulations. It's only if you use it for anything else, any marketing purposes, that you have to have explicit consent and provide options for your guests to opt in or out of any further data collection and marketing communications. So there you have it. Now do some brainstorming on how you can collect rich guest data and build an experience your guests will never forget. Now, to help you out, we've we've created a download on all sorts of different Tiny doses of excellence you could offer for your guests, and you can go down below if you're watching this on YouTube and click on it in the description.
If you're on the podcast, go to the show notes and you'll be able to click on the link there. I hope you enjoy doing this. It is so rewarding to create these amazing experiences for your guests and just getting that reaction from them. I be looking forward to hearing from you about what you are doing to create excellence and great experiences.