Welcome today is also the mirror of our society, handling its contradictions: the rush for time, for efficiency and digital life, while our body and soul claim authentic contacts, resourceful experiences in real life… Customers value a two-way conversation with the ability to be a part of creating what they want (co-creation). They are also more discerning, knowledgeable but also confused, with various needs that are more complex, challenging and often competing.
We will explore in this article, what are the profound needs of the guests regarding the welcome and the paradoxes the staff in contact have to deal with.
Paradoxe#1: Over-information and the need for added-value advise
Over-informed and invaded by data and pre-eminence of choices, the guests want to get all the information at a fingers tip to control the situation. And in the same time, they look more than ever for people to devote them the ability to fulfil their strongly held desires. They are also ask for accurate, timely and engaging information with an intrinsic value and a deeper relationship with whom they choose to support and interact. They expect service interaction to provide access to unique skills or local knowledge.
Paradoxe#2: Timeliness and the need for discretionary time
Guests are also today techno-dependent. Whatever their location is, regardless of the time, of the terminal used (ATAWAD), they want to be connected. But their schedule is consequently very tight, and their need is to get “discretionary time”. A time left where they can do something other than working or tackling after administrative tasks or getting connected to screens.
They also want to anticipate everything, or to respond to their desires right away in a world of effectiveness and immediacy. This is contradictory with an attitude of welcome and openness to the present time, in a day-to-day life.
Paradoxe#3: Hyper-connected and the need for human interactions
Customers are so much dedicated to virtual communications, social media and digital devices, that they become isolated from real contact. Solitary living and technological dependency contribute to create a deep lack of interpersonal relationships. That’s why, guests crave in reality for human touch and exchanges in real life.
Hospitality uses less human contacts today than in the past. The service has completely shifted towards efficiency, abandoning most of the direct person care services. “A maid emptied the bags, they laid the shoes that you shined, took the breakfast in the room, blew the butler who came to take your order. There were constant human exchanges in a palace. They disappeared, and all that desire of human contact finds itself in the welcome.” (Gouirand)
Paradoxe#4: Experiences at any price and the need for reconnection
Finally, there is also a contradiction in the guests’ search for authenticity and reconcile inner emotions and sensations. The search for new “extraordinary” experiences could become compulsive and serve as escape routes from themselves. As their real need is to re-connect with themselves, gat time to waste, do nothing, which is only possible if we disconnect from the outside.
In conclusion, customers today are changing the welcome experience to create a personal one according to their needs of the moment. They are looking for a hotel that is unique, offering an emotional experience every time, with cultural and inner immersion. Only a listening staff that demonstrate compassion could bring a highly personalized welcome with these little touches and discreet details that change everything.