Family Vacation: Arrival Experience


This is the second post in the last few weeks about family vacation, but it was the one I most wanted to write due to the pivotal nature of the welcome moment. My family drove for about eight hours to reach our destination this year, and if you’ve ever spent that long in a car (with multiple youngsters, no less), you know that the check-in desk was a welcome sight for us.

Our check-in was efficient and friendly, but marred by a fairly long line and a full ten minutes of upselling which was something I have never seen before, thus prompting these five quick tips for a great welcome.

  1. Be rid of the line – by whatever means necessary. If lines seem unavoidable, there’s an app for that.
  2. Smile and listen. A welcoming demeanor is the best show of hospitality.
  3. Let guests know ahead of time what you will expect them to have at check-in, and be sure that the files are already loaded with as much of their information as possible to increase efficiency.
  4. Do not use this time to sell things. I don’t think this is a common practice, but it bears emphasizing that a weary guest would like to get settled as quickly as possible.
  5. Offer help and the absolute easiest way for guests to find hotel and local information rather than adding a stack of paperwork and maps to already full hands. (There’s an app for that too!)

Instagram + Hospitality: 5 Great Examples

Today’s post is written by our Marketing Coordinator, Angie Ford. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her posts on Instagram.

It’s been almost 5 years since Instagram was first released, but it seems in the last year or two that hotels have discovered the power of a (free!) photocentric social media platform. While I share photos of our devices and our lovely Bricktown office in Oklahoma City, I get to see hotels on beaches, luxury spas, 5-star restaurants, and other photos that make me try to convince the boss I need to visit those places for “business”. This made me realize how powerful Instagram is for hospitality.

I took to Instagram to find examples of hotels doing it right.

blogoneJW Mariott Cancun
I learned something- guests can check out a
GoPro 4 for free. Guests are commenting
about that on their Instagram takeover
photo, which is another great idea. Liz, a travel
writer from The Lemon Bowl, took over their
Instagram while staying at the JW Marriott.









blogtwoAccor Hotels
There are a lot of photo contests on Instagram, and
that’s okay. We like contests if it means fun and getting
free stuff. Accor is requesting entries use their hashtag
#welcomeinmycity and tag them @accorhotels.












blogthreeHoliday Inn Pensacola Beach
There’s nothing revolutionary to report here, but the
Holiday Inn Pensacola Beach’s photos caught my eye.
If you’ve got it, flaunt it. This is easily done if you’re by
the ocean, but don’t let your landlocked property stop you…









blogfourCamelback Inn Scottsdale
For 2 years, they’ve been showing beautiful photos and
plenty of videos. They embrace their Arizona environment,
share golf course pics and info, and show us the gorgeous
weddings. They’re sure to tell us about what’s happening
on-site right now.













blogfiveHilton Hotels
Lots of brands are taking advantage of the repost
tool. Share a guest photo! What a fun way to interact
with guests.











Takeaways: If you’re new to Instagram, keep posting. You may feel like you’re sharing photos with nobody, but before you know it, you’ll have a following. If you’re already on Instagram, make your own hashtag, run a social media contest, let a guest take over, and most importantly: engage. Ask questions to get comments and then reply. Comment on photos you’re tagged in. Repost and say thank you

Family Vacation: Booking


It’s time for our annual family vacation, wherein I put my children in a car for eight hours, spend a week corralling them in a strange environment, then squeeze back into the car for the exhausted drive home. We stay in the same place every year, and I have to remind myself each year that this place caters more toward an older generation than my own. It does highlight some omissions in the planning and booking stage.

Although we are loyal to our chosen property, I always check reviews and social media for anything new before we book. This particular place has abandoned its Facebook page, and has never been on another social or review site as far as I can find. If I wasn’t already emotionally invested with this place, I would skip it. Review site and social media presence tell me that a hotel is genuinely invested in the guest experience; they want to know what guests have to say and they take the time to listen and respond. A lack thereof (especially an almost non-existent online presence) suggests an outdated property and unwillingness to listen.

Along the same lines, I will also visit their website once or twice when I start to get cabin fever and anxious for a break. Maybe this happens more than once or twice. Maybe a lot more. At this point, I’m looking for a good idea of what to expect on arrival. What does the lobby look like, where is the desk, and how are the rooms set up? For me, this phase is mostly about familiarity, but is also about setting up expectations. I want a good feel for the environment and maybe to spend a few moments daydreaming. This particular property has an excellent variety of photos and videos that showcase the property, but needs to update their site for compatibility across browsers and devices.

I tried to find some recommendations on their website, but they only offer one – an expensive, early morning lobby breakfast one day a week. I would like to see a variety of things to do, for various interests and age groups, both on and off the property. I do know the area well, but a few fresh ideas would be helpful.

This property does not employ modern means for booking (internet, mobile), so I booked via telephone. While I personally prefer not making calls, the process was quick, friendly, and efficient.

All of this aside, a great travel experience is my goal, and I know that this property has been able to provide that in the past. They have guest experience and loyalty down to an art, but may need to update if they want to continue to see new guests over the next few years.


5 Steps to a Great Guest Experience


Last month, in what should have been a fairly commonplace task, I tried to purchase my dad a Father’s Day gift. Instead, I got an example of “what not to do”, easily dissectible for my article this week. Never anger a writer, they say, he’ll put you in his book. Without giving away identifying details, I will point out the five steps that would have transformed this, and most, bad experiences into good.

  1. Make things easy. Easy to find, easy to buy, whatever part the customer plays in the transaction should be easy. I would add to this that contact information should be easy to access.
  2. Contractors should be just as invested in the guest experience as you and your staff.
  3. Remember that each guest is a person who has chosen to spend their time and money with you. Listen to them and be honest, even if you have to tell them what they don’t want to hear.
  4. Meet expectations. If something is promised, whether it be on your website, during a phone call, or in person, be sure that you follow through.
  5. Exceed expectations. You can measure happiness in the space between expectation and reality – any time reality exceeds expectations, happiness is increased.

In the end, my dad received his gift, and the writing material I got out of the situation almost made up for how late it was. In the age of internet, you’re bound to be written about, but if expectations are met or exceeded you should be happy with the story your guests tell.

HITEC 2015 Wrap Up


Our team had a great time at HITEC 2015 in Austin, Texas, last week. They all had different thoughts to share on industry changes since last year, but the overwhelming sentiment was that hoteliers are more tech savvy than ever before.

“This year, the consumers are much more educated on what is possible through mobile apps.  Last year there was a lot of tire kicking and shopping features.  This year, they came with a mental list of must have items, and were well versed in discussing it. It was a much more focused group that was shopping mobile as well as lobby this year.

“HITEC 2015 brought the brightest minds in hospitality technology to Austin.  It was refreshing to see how well educated and focused on the product they were.”  ~ Kristen Tsitoukis

“It was amazing to see the difference in the questions and understanding that the buyers had this year.  Last year, mobile seemed like a ‘cool idea’ and not really defined. This year, they knew it was a must have and understood the type of questions they needed to ask.  It was interesting to see how far they had come in just a year. It spoke to how quickly the industry changes and how we must always be ahead of the curve.

“We had competitors congratulating us and buyers telling us our product was the best they had seen on the show floor.  It was an awesome feeling.” ~ Elizabeth Robinson

“HITEC allows for a large platform to build your network as well as work with today’s leaders.  Being able to see the transformation in technology is inspiring and it is exciting to be a part of the pivot happening in technology as a whole. Most importantly, for me, HITEC also allows for today’s leaders to grow and build the future of our industry with the students in attendance who will be the leaders of tomorrow.” ~ Daniel Salazar works / payday loans online / instant payday network / payday loans near me / payday loans online / payday loan / payday 2 mods / easy online payday loans