Trends are constantly changing in the business world. One example is open-plan office spaces. Open plan office spaces are a good example. Millennials opted for flexible, open and fluid workspaces when they entered the workforce. Studies and anecdotal evidence show that walls can be removed to create more collaborative and productive environments.
Until new research suggested otherwise, BBC reported recently (January 2018) that tech companies are moving to closed office layouts. This was due to problems such as loss of focus and decreased ability to remember information. People who are constantly distracted and seated in multiple places seem to be less productive. We find that just when we think we are pushing the boundaries in meaningful directions, we discover outcomes that force us into a reassessment.
What comes to mind when some hotels have hired a Chief Customer Experience Officer or Chief Customer Officer? Is this a viable idea? Is it like spending a million dollars to convert your office to an open plan just because the trend seems appealing and makes sense? Will we still laugh at this trend in five to ten years?
Most likely not. We can see that the trend is attractive from a distance, even before we know what “CCEO” means. We can say this because it is true. Everything revolves around the guest experience in hotels. Your hotel can’t compete if you don’t consistently deliver a great or at least satisfactory guest experience. You could set a lower price in areas where you can charge less, but there are many ways to make the guest experience more appealing. Airbnb is where everyone pushes the boundaries to improve it, whether they’re hotel managers or apartment hosts. They’ll likely find a way for guests to have great experiences if they discover a winning formula.
This is not to say that a dedicated position in your company to guest experience isn’t justified. You may need oversight that considers the most recent research. Recent press releases from Hilton and Dorchester Collection, London, announcing this type of hire, included announcements about Hilton’s Global Brands, Marketing Loyalty & Partnerships and IT teams. Hilton’s CCO will oversee the Global Brands, Marketing, Loyalty & Partnerships, IT, Strategy and Strategy teams, while Dorchester’s CEO “implement the overall strategy for customer experience.”
What does this mean? While corporate structures need a certain amount to be understood, what these companies are hiring for is a new type of focus.
This may be more important for a huge brand like Hilton. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when there are so many moving parts.
A CEO is a luxury we cannot afford for independents and boutiques. It would be great to have a new team member focusing daily on the guest experience. This focus (maintaining it, continually strengthening it) is up to the manager and each team member. It isn’t easy to set clear boundaries for the guest experience. The guest experience is connected in every aspect of the operation, from booking to check out.