In 2015, Holiday Inn made significant changes to their brand globally. This included a major refurbishment of their whole estate, redefining their guests and the guest experience. This required a major learning and development programme to support staff to understand “Making Guest Smile”. We worked with Holiday Inn on the Making Guests Smile project from 2016-2018. We were commissioned to equip colleagues to bring to life the Making Guests Smile brand experience.
We needed to create a suite of learning and development solutions that could be used for all staff throughout Europe. So, we needed to be mindful of:
- developing a learning journey with different touchpoints that could be managed within the day-to-day operations of a hotel.
- the learning had to raise knowledge and awareness and also embed behaviours.
- General Managers and Assistant General Managers would be responsible for facilitating a lot of learning with their colleagues
- All of the content is relatable and relevant.
- Meeting tight deadlines to coincide with the launching of the brand experience in the UK and Europe.
What we did?
We worked with Holiday Inn for over 10 months in the development phase of the project. We began the project whilst a lot of the detail was being worked through globally and in Europe. This meant we were able to contribute our ideas and thoughts for Making Guest Smile using our experience from hospitality, retail and automobiles. In addition, our experience of working on other Europe wide projects was invaluable, because this allowed us to be mindful of testing prototypes with a wider audience than originally scoped for to ensure we took account of tone of voice and cultural nuances that would be important. The final design of the Making Guests Smile learning journey included:
Storybook – this was an animated ebook for all staff to read pre-classroom learning. It was the first part of the journey and provided a high level introduction to Making Guests smile.
Learning Map – we designed a bespoke learning map (board game) for Making Guests Smile. This provided a fun way for colleagues to gain greater knowledge and awareness of the ethos, principles and behaviours that underpinned the programme. We provided a game with a basic and advanced level. This meant that hotels had the option to revisit behaviours with more complex scenarios and focus on creating moments of delight. This was delivered in a 2 hour workshop.
Three card game – a deck of cards that is used to help staff, create moments of delight spontaneously. These were delivered in 5-15 minute huddles at the beginning of a shift.
Making Guest Smile App – The app had a dual role. Firstly, it was used in connection with the learning map, which included an electronic dice, the questions, team scores and facilitators notes. The second function gave managers/supervisors a platform to have feedback conversations with managers. A manager and colleague could have a conversation, referring to the Standard Operating Procedures, use videos to highlight service behaviours and for both parties to score performance. This information was recorded on the app.
Videos – We created a series of videos that highlighted important points within the guest journey bringing to life the service behaviours, product hallmarks and service signatures present at that stage for colleagues. These videos were used as part of the game but also as standalone learning aids. Click here for an example
All of the material was piloted in 4 UK hotels. All of the pilot hotels had improvements in Service on Heartbeat and Social Reviews. The highest increase in Heartbeat score was over 7 percentage points as compared to the same period the previous year. What was especially pleasing was that one hotel that was already receiving a very high score (90.00) achieved a 1 point digit increase in Heartbeat.
The feedback from staff was very positive. They found the learning fun and very easy to engage. They particularly liked the practical aspects of the learning (e.g. creating Moments of Delight). General Managers and Assistant General Managers also provided great feedback, stating that the assets were really easy to use, came with clear instructions and made the whole learning experience very easy to manage.
Enhancing Customer Experience – A Case Study for Z Hotel
Z Hotel is a boutique brand offering well-designed compact rooms in exceptional central locations. Currently, they have 11 central London locations as well as Bath, Liverpool and Glasgow. Z Hotels opened its first hotel in 2011. We began working with Z Hotels in 2017.
We were commissioned to design and deliver a customer experience programme for colleagues across all the hotels.
Z Hotels had great locations and a unique proposition for visitors staying 1 or 2 nights. The leaders of Z Hotels wanted to achieve a number of things from the training:
- A deeper understanding of the Z Hotel guest personas
- Greater understanding and ownership of the customer experience
- Supporting colleagues to deliver wow moments
What we did
Z Hotel really wanted to use the Enhancing Customer Experience learning map. They loved the concept of combining playfulness and the power of conversation. We worked with a group of leaders and General Managers to customise the content. We then facilitated a 2-day train the trainers programme for the Learning and Development team and a group of General Managers.
The programme was rolled out across all the Z Hotel. The feedback from leadership was that Enhancing Customer Experience was the top learning programme that they had rolled out. The feedback was that colleagues had a greater understanding of the customers and how they could tailor a customer experience to different customer personas.