Sunday, 2 August 2015

Hotel Guest Experience Consultant

I think I have my next career move figured out. I am going to try to position myself as a "Guest Experience Consultant" for hotels and motels. In this role I would not only deal with the issues of making hotels more wheelchair accessible; I would also deal with the kinds of things which get in the way of a truly great experience for all hotel guests.

Here is how it would work. A hotel, or hotel chain, would ask me to visit their various locations. The would provide a room for two nights, a handicapped room of course. They would also provide for meals and a modest stipend or honorarium, along with covering my travel costs, mostly represented by fuel and truck maintenance. I would come to the hotel, without fanfare but certainly not in secret, and stay in the designated room for two nights.

As a result of the stay, I would produce a "Guest Experience Assessment". This assessment would cover the pre-check-in experience with things like online booking, price comparison, hotel entry, parking, etc; the check-in process including handicap access to the front desk and lobby areas; a room assessment for both handicapped and standard rooms; in hotel services and support such as restaurant and lounge areas, housekeeping, maintenance, etc; and the check-out experience including assistance as needed, flexibility of check out times, and so on.

I would, of course, plan any visits to allow for a collection of sites along a given route, thus facilitating my love of a good road trip. It would be perfect for me, and potentially quite helpful to any hotels using my service. Since I don't want to do this as a permanent job, and most hotel chains aren't looking for someone to do this on an ongoing basis, it would be a terrific fit with a consultative model.

Of course there are two drawbacks to this whole idea, aside from the amount of work involved in selling this service to a market already working on paper thin margins. First of all, it assumes hotels, particularly hotel chains, actually see any value in this kind of service. Let's face it, the already get a lot of feedback for free.

Secondly, the competition would be pretty fierce. Lots of people have opinions and experiences as hotel guests, although not with the hundreds of hotel nights and dozens of locations I have under my belt. I also doubt the ability of many of these potential competitors to take a systematic and organized approach to this kind of assessment, nor are many of them literate enough to produce a decent documentation set. Finally, I doubt there are many Guest Experience Consultants who know the ADA guidelines for access as well as I do. But still, there would be plenty of people in most major towns who would be willing to try.

It's a fun idea, fun to think about. I just doubt it is realistic. After all, why bother? There are lots of customers out there and the hotel business seems to be doing just fine without me.

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