The Power of Personal Touches

Columnist Caroline Cooper from Zeal Coaching gets personal about the guest experience.

The chances are if someone chooses a boutique hotel in preference to a chain, they are looking for that element of individuality, personality and warmth.

It’s certainly the personal touches that can transform an average stay into a truly memorable one. People want to be made to feel at home and it’s the personal touches that count.

These might start before guests have even arrived. Send a Google route plan from the guest’s home postcode to their hotel. Forward an events calendar for the period of their visit. Ask in advance if they would like restaurant, golf or theatre reservations to be made for them. Forewarn them by text of known travel delays (and tips on how to avoid them) on the day of their arrival.

Engage in conversation. Not only does this show the guest you’re interested in them, but it may also flag up opportunities for further ways to please your guest; if not today, then for a future stay.

Be attentive to your guests’ needs. Train your team to listen and be observant to what guests are looking for, whether it’s help with the stairs or a last minute birthday card and stamp.

Ensure your team are well informed when a guest asks for recommendations. What’s the quickest way to get to “x”, or the best place to go for “y”? Empower them to take the initiative to help the guest when they can.

Identify the little finishing touches that you can give guests at the end of their stay to leave them with that “wow” factor. Picking up on an earlier conversation you’ve had with the guest enables you to give them a personalised memento of their stay. If they raved about a particular dessert, get your chef to write down the recipe for them and where they can find the unusual ingredients. If they’ve been away on business and missed their wife’s birthday, you could assemble and gift wrap a selection of your luxurious toiletries for them.

What do you do, have or use that is unique to your brand? Homemade preserves, gifts made by local craftsmen, branded toiletries? What could present to the guest as a gift to keep your property in their mind?

If nothing else, a simple hand-written “thank you” note after their stay will keep you in mind for their next visit or when making recommendations to friends and family.

It’s the exceptional and unexpected that gets you noticed, remembered and, most importantly, brings you repeat or referral business.

About Caroline Cooper: Caroline Cooper, founder of Zeal Coaching, works with hospitality and leisure businesses, helping them get more of the customers they love, and keep them. She has over 26 years experience in hospitality and is author of the Hotel Success Handbook. For more information and articles from Zeal Coaching, please visit

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