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Ready, Aim, Relax


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An Initial Inquiry into Guest Expectations for Areas in Conflict or Transition

Published in: Travel, Business
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Ready, Aim, Relax

  1. 1. Ready, Aim,…Relax An Overview of Lodging in Regions of Perceived Unrest What calms the Guest, & strengthens Hospitality brand loyalty
  2. 2. For This Special Report We consider a situation that was recently defused to obtain a perspective from well traveled professionals Compiled by Alin Maxon – Director of Architectural Design Hospitality, Retail & Special Projects
  3. 3. Rest in Unrest <ul><li>Ready for a cruise – </li></ul><ul><li>you have your lifeboat drill… So when conflict </li></ul><ul><li>develops nearby, </li></ul><ul><li>Do guards help to </li></ul><ul><li> re-assure the guest? </li></ul><ul><li> Are cocktails & </li></ul><ul><li> hors d’oeuvres a </li></ul><ul><li> wise strategy? </li></ul>
  4. 4. What we found may surprise you <ul><li>When Messaging and Experience does Not Align, What’s an Effective Strategy for securing the Guest Experience and Brand Loyalty? </li></ul><ul><li>Ready for an Adventure? – travel incentives, corporate and national re-assurances, but what makes the guest really feel secure when there is any uncertainty in the region? </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>The Government of Egypt has imposed a curfew from 6:00 p.m . to 7:00 a.m. in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez until further notice.  Given this situation, the Department of State urges U.S. citizens to defer non-essential travel to Egypt at this time and advises U.S. citizens currently in Egypt to defer non-essential movement and to exercise caution. This Travel Alert expires on February 28, 2011 .  </li></ul><ul><li>So the date has passed </li></ul><ul><li>and the traveler can “Relax ” </li></ul><ul><li>… Right? </li></ul><ul><li>Starwood Hotels & Resorts </li></ul><ul><li>seems to think so </li></ul><ul><li>First we consider State Department postings & status reports </li></ul>
  6. 6. May 07, 2011 News Release: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Continues To Highlight Egypt As An Attractive Tourist Destination When lodging for business or pleasure is impacted by regional perceived or real cultural unrest … Will positive promotions and messaging soothe safety concerns and expand business?
  7. 7. To tackle this question a random survey was recently taken from a pool of upper end executives to determine what these consummate professionals, (many being extensive travelers on the domestic and international arenas) would hope for in their guest experience in a volatile region. The instructions indicated that though the state department did not have warnings posted that there may be some unresolved “issues” in the region. What did we find? Listen up Starwood!!! - Some of these results may surprise you. What is presented below is a first pass at a range of options. Respondents were asked to select those actions or items from a list of items – specifically to help you (the guest) feel more secure. Did guns and de-briefings win out or are our guests looking for something else?
  8. 8. Here are the Top Three 1) Cocktails won out – at top of our guest options 2) Guest rooms on upper floors were perceived by 58% as being safer, while 25% perceived lower floors safer 3) Tours to specific “safe sites” away from conflict were favorable
  9. 9. <ul><li>In addition to the questionnaire, </li></ul><ul><li>Respondent’s comments include: </li></ul><ul><li>Provide Online access / whenever possible realizing communication </li></ul><ul><li>complications may occur within the region </li></ul><ul><li>Entertainment choices are a large factor when traveling with children, but need to be addressed proactively / would not bring children there </li></ul><ul><li>Briefing on do’s and don’ts would be informative and appreciated / identify </li></ul><ul><li>safe activities </li></ul><ul><li>Would search for low key boutique option to avoid focus and becoming a possible target in large exclusive properties </li></ul><ul><li>Would avoid travel to the area – (to safe destination without complexity) </li></ul><ul><li>Some find the gathering of guests for updates to be disturbing, not calming </li></ul><ul><li>About our questionnaire - The questionnaire was provided to a focus group with a 43% </li></ul><ul><li>response rate. One may question if the questionnaire format and / or topic contributed </li></ul><ul><li>to the moderate percentage of sample respondents. </li></ul><ul><li>Further research may be warranted for additional scrutiny of these variables. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Some initial hypotheses drawn from the survey: <ul><li>A sales job needs to have action plans to support the guest experience regardless of promotion and buzz. </li></ul><ul><li>Experienced travelers want to see the sites and region in some capacity when they travel afar so they need accommodation with that. </li></ul><ul><li>Special activity options for guests with children must be addressed. </li></ul><ul><li>Creating a memorable experience in a conflicted environment seems to relate to guest perceptions and preferences which cover a range of responses and desires. </li></ul><ul><li>Customization of the guest experience and communication in a meaningful manner is important. </li></ul><ul><li>The guest room needs to respond to the guest expectations and needs (for a sense of normalcy and comfort) one might infer. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Design for the Exceptional Guest Experience Personalized, Memorable, Enriching <ul><li>Contact: Alin Maxon </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>(619) 224-5200 </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>05-2011 </li></ul>