Customer Expectations and Market Research

For the moment, I am not only working on new menus, but overall on the strategy of Skylite.

I made quite some progress - but finally got stuck on one important question: Customer [or better said guest] expectations.

Now, you could tell me know 20 different guest expectations - however, are you really sure about this? And even more importantly - do these obvious guests expectations have priority, for the guest?

Don't get me wrong - I think cleanliness, attentiveness of the server, food & beverage quality and so on are essential - but maybe, just maybe we can make the difference, if we are really sure about the priorities of guests.

You can find a lot of discussions and studies about customer expectations - but surprisingly, they are based on assumptions and not evidence - and I could not find one study related to F&B, gastronomy or hospitality, which goes beyond the surface.

Wanna have a practical example? There is a whole list of standards [which are based on how to satisfy our guests] in the usual standard check lists. Was the guest greeted within 2 minutes, was the guest seated, was the menu offered within x minutes, [...], was the room clean and well maintained, was the room consistently set up, and so on.

One obvious point was missing: »was the outlet well visited?«
I know, that has nothing to do with the service, or with the hotel's employees work.
However it is often a deal breaker! Have the most beautiful bar, but a lack of guests, and you are in trouble. No - I don't agree, if people say, that you just have to have the standards right and the guests are coming themselves. Well - let me revise my statement - off course this is related to the quality of the hotel's employees work: them in the marketing department.

Anyway - people don't like to sit in an empty bar. And people think, that something is wrong. They spend less time there, visit further less often [or no more at all] the respective bar - the hotel will then reduce the costs [especially the lovely payroll] of the outlet. And the quality, authenticity and concept of the venue is suffering.

But the utilization of the outlet will never appear anywhere...

And there are more points, which will support or hijack the decision of guests to visit a bar [and they have a big influence into the perception and experience of the service].
Reputation is one point, coolness and posh factor another one.

One absolutely amazing and eyeopening video is the TED conference presentation of Malcolm Gladwell, who used the example of the "spaghetti sauce industry" to showcase, that we might not get the true or whole picture, if we make some surveys with guests.

There is a huge variance between the rational of an individual and the "emotional" driven decisions he or she does. Ventures, which understood this point, became very successful and nowadays all Fortune 500 companies are investing a ton of money into their market research, to get to know, what really drives the customer.

As always the hospitality industry is a little bit behind...

But now, I give the question further to you: what do you think are the conscious and unconscious factors and expectations of a guest to be satisfied with a bar?

Please comment right below...


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