Center for Hospitality Research

Hospitality Leadership Through Learning
Center for Hospitality Research

Improving the Guest Experience through Service Innovation: Ideas and Principles for the Hospitality Industry

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By: Cathy A. Enz Ph.D.

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Executive Summary:

The 2011 Service Innovation Roundtable examined both the mechanisms for service innovation and the innovations themselves. The primary focus of these innovations was improving the guest experience, which includes interaction with employees and addressing technical issues. Numerous lodging and hospitality firms are focusing intentionally on innovation as a way to improve guest satisfaction and, as a result, boost revenues and profits. While the actual measurement of service innovations can be difficult, most participants pointed to such metrics as improved customer satisfaction, greater participation in loyalty programs, and cost savings from more efficiency in the guest service process, since guests usually appreciate service that is as direct and simple as possible. A presentation by Marriott International, for instance, explained how the idea of improving the guest arrival experience in the lobby led to the development of the "great room" concept, which includes additional (and more speedy) food and beverage service. Innovation at Wyndham includes its many sustainability initiatives. Throughout any innovation, change agents will confront different types of support and resistance, and must have a strategy for addressing the concerns of each person. In the end, innovation must be as data-driven as possible, whether that means asking guests and employees for innovative ideas or finding ways to measure service changes as they are initiated.

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