While working alongside one of the biggest names in the Hospitality and Travel industry for over 13 consecutive years, we have learned a few things about what makes a successful employee recognition program for folks working in Travel & Hospitality. Employee recognition within the Hospitality and Travel industry must be directly tied to the customer experience and to creating guest satisfaction during every phase of the travel experience. From the initial booking of the reservation to the check-in process to the departure and every step in-between, employees are entrusted by hospitality brands to deliver the types of experiences that will prompt a guest to become a repeat customer and ultimately an extremely loyal customer.
A recent article by Emilia Jaakkola on hotelspeak.com shared by IARE (The International Association of Reservations Executives) on Twitter provides some insight into the idea of creating memorable and emotional customer experiences with hotel guests. The main point of the article is that these connections which hotel brands are seeking to create happen one guest at a time and are ultimately facilitated by employees who create exceptional customer experiences for those guests. American author Tom Peters is credited with saying: “Why do customers switch from one store/brand to another? 14% switch because of price, 15% switch because of quality & 71% switch because of lousy customer service.” The opposite is also true, a customer/guest who has been made to feel important and valued and whose expectations were exceeded will return again and again even if price and quality factors are not equal.
In building an incentive & recognition program for employees within the Hospitality and Travel industry, rewards and recognition must be tied directly to specific aspects of the customer experience. In Customer Service Contact Centers, rewarding agents for positive call quality scores and customer satisfaction scores are paramount, but they are also just the tip of the iceberg. While this type of metric-driven incentive is the basis for any successful incentive program, attracting and retaining the best talent who will repeatedly create those meaningful customer experience connections with guests requires your incentive program to be more robust and creative.
Recognizing staff who receive positive customer feedback by name and having a platform capable of tracking and rewarding those instances reinforces to employees that creating meaningful experiences for guests is the expectation for every employee in every interaction with a guest. Offering bonuses to employees who initiate conversations that help drive customer loyalty through enrollment in guest loyalty programs, branded credit card referrals, or other partner-company loyalty programs encourages employees to get to know their guests, to listen to their needs, and to present the right up-sell opportunities and additional revenue opportunities to those guests who are interested in those services. Each of these aspects of the customer experience is an opportunity for an employee to create a meaningful emotional connection that can be worth additional revenue for the brand in the future and should be included within an incentive program as opportunities to earn additional recognition/rewards.
At the end of the day, guests in the Hospitality and Travel industry are won or lost – often for life – via the seemingly small interactions they have with the representatives of your brand – your employees. Creating a robust and flexible process for recognizing the behaviors of employees that drive guest satisfaction and loyalty is one of the best investments you can make in attracting and retaining the best talent…the type of talent that will pay huge dividends in the form of customer loyalty. Creating a transparent and easy to manage employee recognition program that empowers and rewards employees for helping guests feel a connection with your brand is as easy as connecting with Snowfly and letting us put our years of expertise to work for you. Our knowledge is real and our experience is just a connection away, just as your employees’ knowledge about and experience with your brand is only a connection away.