Michelle de Haaff

The hospitality industry is famously competitive when it comes to delighting guests. But despite this stiff competition, Hilton Worldwide has won consistent acclaim as a leader in guest experience. This year, that acclaim included some prestigious hardware — the 2014 Gold Medal for CRM Excellence from Gartner and 1to1 Media. There’s an inevitable question that arises from awards like these in such a competitive environment:

How did Hilton do it?

Last week, we were lucky enough ask Launika Arya — a senior manager from Hilton’s guest experience team — just that question. In a webinar we co-hosted, Launika shared a lot of great information from Hilton’s guest experience playbook.

She talked about how to build a gold-medal-caliber customer experience. One of the first things she touched on: it’s not enough to just share customer voices with people at different levels of your organization. You also need to give them the tools to understand those voices and act on them productively.

Launika’s example for this strategy concerned problematic stays. After some research, Hilton realized these more than halved the loyalty the average guest felt for a property. The obvious solution: Hilton needed to create more problem-free stays. But it knew this goal alone wouldn’t enable its frontline to get results. How could it be sure its properties would all define a “problem-free stay” correctly? And how could properties react when something had already gone wrong?

So Hilton embarked on a range of strategies to empower its properties — from studying key drivers of guest satisfaction to creating new training modules to developing tactics for getting stubborn property owners on board with helpful initiatives. In all, these strategies tripled the number of Hilton guests who said their stay “exceeded expectations.”

If you’d like to learn more about their approach — and how they rolled these strategies out across one of the world’s largest hotel chains — follow the link below below to watch the full interview and view a full slide deck outlining Hilton’s tactics and results.

Photo credit: Jim Epler