The Lanesborough Head Butler’s 10 Commandments for Satisfying the Needs of Today’s Luxury Hotel Guest
1. Thou shalt dare to be different. Don’t be afraid to provide distinctive services and amenities to your guests. There are so many accommodation options to choose from these days; exceptional properties with unique selling points stand out from the so called white noise of the generic chain hotels.
2. Thou shalt keep communication efficient and to the point. Where possible, provide the guest with a single point of contact, or a person who acts as a hotel representative for the upcoming stay and beyond. Nothing is worse for a guest than reading 5 different emails, from 5 different people, regarding 5 different requests (at the same property).
3. Thou shalt not ‘nickel and dime’ people. Be frank in terms of the room charges, and offer added value for the rate the guest is paying. For example, The Lanesborough provides a vast array of complimentary services and amenities that other hotels would normally charge for. In this day and age, nobody likes to pay for internet access.
4. Thou shalt embrace technology, yet keep the personal touches. There is a fine line between ‘personalized service with the aid of technology’ and ‘completely isolating guests with hundreds of buttons and mobile device applications.’
5. Thou shalt build personalized relationships with guests. Get to know them, have conversations with them, find out what they like or dislike. Simple things such as making sure their favorite packet of sweets is in-room on arrival could have a huge effect on a guest, and generally sets the tone for the rest of their stay.
6. Thou shalt know your stuff. If people ask you questions regarding the property, you should be able to answer them competently and without hesitation. This also counts for queries about the location, the guests are visiting. Never say “I don’t know.” If you don’t know something, be proactive and inform the person that you will find out.
7. Thou shalt not pass the buck. Take personal responsibility for any requests or complaints which might occur during a guest’s stay. Make it known that you are genuinely interested in solving the issue and do not leave the guest in the dark. Direct communication is very important and guests would like to be informed of every step which is taken, especially when it comes to complaints.
8. Thou shalt keep it simple. In other words, less is more. Gone are the days of over-the-top pomp and vulgar displays of wealth and fame. These days guests prefer to have all the luxuries, yet feel comfortable in relaxed in their surroundings.
9. Thou shalt be prepared. In my time at The Lanesborough I have been asked to trim a businessman’s hair (he was late for a meeting and didn’t have time to go to the barber), arrange snow, reindeer, Santa and elves for Christmas (we hired a snow machine, dressed up a staff member as Santa, borrowed reindeer from a farm and employed elves from an agency) and had to deliver a confidential and urgent document by hand to Paris and back, for a signature (via the Eurostar – a courier would have been to slow).
10. Thou shalt give recognition, recognition, recognition; "To deliver on the mantra - remember me, recognize me, give me what I want - when I want it. The service product must evoke in the guests, the emotions of: 'I am proud to be a customer here,' and 'It is perfect for me." (Timur Senturk, 2013).
[Photos: Lanesborough Hotel]