IT’S ALL ABOUT GREAT EXPERIENCES!
Ever wondered why it has become so common to walk into hotels, restaurants or other eateries only to find empty seats with a handful of waiters gathered in a corner or doing their own things?Even some of the most beautiful properties have not been sparedthis ‘disturbing sight”.
Contrary to the common understanding thatpeople patronizehospitality establishments for food, beverage and accommodation, the game changer has always been the ‘how’ factor which always manifests itself in the form of guest experience. By nature, any hospitality oriented business sells experiences.
To help you understand what it really takes to sell an experience, picture this: a frozensamosain a supermarket is a product, delivering it to your door is a service, but serving it with a smile in a restaurant is an experience.
An experience needs constant engagement between the buyer and the seller throughout the life of that experience. Such engagement is necessary because an experience does not have a “warranty period.” You would not like a restaurant that guarantees only the first hour of your lunch or dinner, would you? The seller has to be around the whole time to ensure that they deliver the total experience.
An experience is also more than the sum of its product and service. In a restaurant, beyond the food and service, what also matters is the ambience, other patrons and many minordetails. Any of these have the potential to spoil the entire experience. That is because an experience is inherently short-lived (but long-remembered) and often completely discretionary. Hence, the onus is on the provider to get it right in its entirety, every time, for every guest.
The shorter the duration of the experience, the more amplified every little annoyance the customer feels. A baby screaming at the next table can spoil a two-hour restaurant experience more easily than a two-week holiday.
A true experience is where the expected value proposition is the experience itself; not just the product or service.
The writer works as General Manager, Nyungwe Forest Lodge –Rwanda