A key insight from the Japanese "Omotenashi" customer service culture comes from their version of our "The Customer is King" idea. They use the word "O-kyaku" for "customer" which, in Japanese, also happens to mean "guest". From that stems the transformative idea that "customers" in all "business spaces", not just the hospitality industry, are actually guests and should be treated as such.
But it works the other way round as well - the idea that guests are also customers. This is something that some conservative hoteliers sometimes forget.
A stay in a hotel is an opportunity to enjoy many new experiences - culinary and otherwise - because a hotel should be more than just a place to put your head down. And guests are happy to pay for these experiences, especially if organising them is made attractive and effortless.
But some hotels operate as if, once pre-payment for the room has been received, their scope of influence to persuade their guests to eat and drink and use other fee-earning facilities in-house is minimal.
This is where technology can play an important role and state of the art in-room information tablets such as those from crave-emenu.com , based here in U.K., are delivering rich information about their inhouse FnB outlets, activities, other fee-earning facilities and much more functionality besides, that contributes to positive customer experiences.
But why a tablet, not a smartphone?
A tablet is the ideal size and form factor to deliver rich multimedia information experiences. A form factor, resolution and performance the hotel has control over. A smart phone is too small to do justice to the information and the in-room TV in a fixed position is too large and far away to browse with.
What about in-room printed directories?
While most hotels still provide printed directories, in-room information tablets offer far more functionality. They earn their keep by helping to integrate rich multimedia information into systems that cross-sell other services and experiences. And cross-selling doesn't have to mean 'hard-sell'. Rather, it is part of the customer service to inform the guests of their options and facilitate their booking.
Integrated Resorts lead the way
The casino/gaming "integrated resort" world has been first to recognise the commercial R.O.I. benefits of this technology because their business models require them to optimise and manage EVERY MOMENT of their guest/customer's stay.
But much of the rest of the hospitality management world is still fairly conservative and adoption/leveraging of these technologies is still only in its early days.
In the hospitality industry, it is no longer enough to merely play host to your guests. The industry is now challenged to provide for and manage every aspect of their guest's Customer Experience. Perhaps the industry needs renaming...
The Japanese call this approach to delivering an extraordinary customer experience, "Omotenashi".