Guest satisfaction soars as hotels cut back

This Hotel News Now article describes how hotel cutbacks have actually improved guest satisfaction in some cases.  It mentions that hotels are doing this mainly by two methods and uses the Wyndham Austin Garden as an example.

1)      Identifying ways to cut back without sacrificing guest satisfaction

2)      Cross-training for efficiency

In the first case, the article provides the examples of newspaper and bathrobes at the Wyndham Austin Garden.  The hotel used to provide newspapers and bathrobes daily in each room.  Most guests left these items untouched, which wasted newspapers and water to wash unused bathrobes.  In order to cut back, the hotel left a stack of newspapers in the lobby.  Also, guests who want bathrobes could call to request one.

I could see how a newspaper stack in the lobby could increase satisfaction for guests.  The lobby is a prime spot for waiting guests.  Perhaps a stack of newspapers by breakfast outlets would be helpful as well.

However, I’m not sure guests would take the effort to request the bathrobe.  Wouldn’t they just assume that the hotel did not offer bathrobes or housekeeping forgot to add one?  In the worst case, they’ve heard horror stories about how the hotel charged guests for bathrobes taken out of the room and will call about their concerns that they’ll be charged for a missing bathrobe.  Assuming that guests are aware that they could request bathrobes, front desk staff members have another opportunity to offer future assistance at check-in.  The staff members could simply say during their check-in routine, “If you need anything, like a bathrobe, just call down and ask.”

The article also mentions that cross-training has helped the Wyndham Austin Garden with their labor cuts.  While the hotel used to have dedicated staff members doing shuttle runs, now any employee trained can do it, including sales associates and dishwashers.  Communication is crucial for the new process with shuttle runs, and I wonder how the hotel handles communicating who needs to go and when.

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