Ghana’s top 50 hotels agree customer service is the tourism industry’s biggest challenge
As part of the customer service week on the theme “Service is magical” the Chamber for Tourism Industry Ghana has trained the General Managers of Ghana’s 50 top hotels in Ghana. Out of every 11 people employed in the world, 1 person is from the tourism industry including hospitality. At the customer service masterclass, more than 85 percent of all participants agreed the major challenge for the hotel industry today is customer service.
Though Airbnb’s presence may not be an immediate threat the next five to 10 years will see the business topple many hotels over with small hotels coming together to give customers a homely feeling which they may not be getting from the big hotels.
Head of payments at Stanbic Bank Nii Odartey said the level of innovation in hotels to counter the various sources disruptive technologies and innovation, should also be targeting Google, Facebook, Alibaba among the rest who are also major competition.
“These platforms are so personalized with so much data on your customer you cannot afford not to know”.
He challenged the participants mainly owners and general managers to use the personal data these platforms collect to their advantage. “imagine I go to a hotel on my birthday, the hotel should be able to know from my personal data either on Facebook or Google and give me an extra treat I will not be paying for, this will produce customer loyalty immediately and next time it will be the hotel I choose anytime I am in that part of town”. Nii Odartey was of the opinion hotels should embrace the many innovative payment platforms to make the life of the customer easier.
Mystery guests can help improve customer service
87 percent of the participants including Royal Senchi, Fiesta Royale, Tang Palace, Golden Tulip, Red Mango Apartment Hotel, eastern premier Golden Tulip, Peduase Lodge among others want people sent to their hotels mysteriously with feedback. “This will present us the real state of the kind of service given to our clients” they indicated.
61 percent of the participants will want their hotels constantly filled and won’t mind giving discounts to their clients through a discount card and giving clients points they can redeem any time they sleep in a hotel. Some basic tips include:
1. Quickly acknowledge the customer
2. Listen carefully
3. Fix it on the spot
4. Find a way of saying yes
5. Coach each other
Adjoa Commey from Stanbic also took the group of 50 hotels through the customer journey she stated that managers can best find out from customers the quality of their service by questions.
‘The overall success of a hotel depends on customer service” head of training at Stanbic, Ivy Mawuko took participants through what she calls WAYMISH-why are you making it so difficult for me to give you my money”. Key on the slides were the need for managers to understand their personal responsibilities in preventing and solving customer problems
Google on the other hand indicated that the 2500 hotels and guest houses in Ghana do not have a strong presence on the web. Head of online optimization for businesses at google, Samuel Alangde therefore took the participants through optimization.
Job potential of tourism industry
According to the United Nations world tourism organization, tourism provides more jobs for women than any other sector and could be one of the major industries to cause a paradigm shift when it comes to jobs. The quality of personnel however in many countries have been put to the test with the advent of Airbnb taking away many businesses from hotels where this business is a major disruptor. Poor Customer service and pricing are believed to be the major drivers making the hotel industry lose customers to this new wave.