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  • Writer's pictureNanci Sherman

The Enormous Cost of Not Leveraging the Emotional Economy™

If you are not #1 in your market, something is missing from your game plan.

The emotional economy is an outgrowth of the experience economy. Make no mistake—people's emotional needs and desires drive their purchasing decisions more than rational considerations such as price or quality.

Consider the following as your portal to the hearts of your guests and staff.

1. To be outstanding in business, you must first stand out.

· Branded or independent, your STR report competitors want to steal your guests. You need to find out what you can do better than anyone else that will distinguish you from the pack and allow you to charge more for the experience guests feel when they stay with you.

· Every leading business has a personality and a distinct vibe. Does your hotel have one? If so, is it reflected in your processes and procedures? You can learn how to create your hotel’s identity statement at Dare to Be Exceptional.

2. “Location. Location. Location…” is no longer the relevant maxim. “Differentiate. Differentiate… Then do it again” is.

· Embrace innovation.

· In today’s competitive climate, it is no longer enough to just be good at what you do. You need to distinguish your culture and your business from your competitors or suffer inventory discount strategies. Business schools do not teach innovation or risk-taking.

· Develop a culture that awards team members that think like entrepreneurs.

· Brainstorm every current process for necessity. Then ask, “Can it be improved? Is it customer-centric or do we do it because accounting likes it?” Then, come up with a handful of other ideas that guests would prefer.

3. Officially ban the term “guest satisfaction” from the hotel’s vocabulary.

· The term is a celebration of mediocrity. It means you did the basics and met the expectation. It is not even close to delighting the guest and attaining their loyalty.

· Exceeding expectations should be the only goal for your guests. A spotless room is an internal goal for operations. Guests expect a room to look like they are the first ones to stay there. What can you do differently so they leave your hotel with a “Wow!” and tell ten people about you?

· Put your customers at the center of everything you do.

4. Borrow the #1 best practice of luxury and lifestyle hoteliers

· Personalize each guest’s experience.

· Whether you are branded or independent, have 100 or 1000 rooms, you can make each guest feel like the most important one there. My secret is to teach the task and then to teach “Performance art.”—how to deliver each process extraordinarily. Good or bad, business is theater. Think of your team as your cast. Use role play and improv in your staff development. If there are “50 ways to leave your lover*,” there are 50 ways to impress your guests.

5. Social Media is the new sheriff in town.

· If you are not at the top of the charts TripAdvisor, Yelp, and the major travel sites, you will not be #1 in your market.

· What can you do to become a customer magnet? As Bonnie Raitt sang, “Give them something to talk about.”

· Do this through the hotel’s vibe, storytelling, personalization, and creating experiences beyond expectation.

· Ask everyone in your cast, “What would constitute an amazing stay?” Tap into the talent all around you. When you make people part of the process, they will own it with all their hearts.

If your business is not currently leveraging the emotional economy, you are missing out on opportunities to create stronger relationships with your customers and differentiate yourself from competitors. By tapping into the emotional economy, you will take the #1 spot in your market, drive greater revenue with less discounting, and earn a reputation for offering unique value to your customers through a commitment to innovation and excellence.

The time to innovate is always now. Get a head start before your competitors wake up and before all that remains is benchmarking the market leaders.

*Title of “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” by Simon and Garfunkel.

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