The most sophisticated renovations take details to a degree beyond the surface.
As a holistic approach, service design is a useful guide star ensuring that every update contributes to an exceptional guest experience.
Service design focuses on service delivery, meeting customer needs while enhancing any and every aspect of the experience. For hoteliers, the opportunity timeline begins before booking and lasts – ideally – for a lifetime. It includes everything from the hotel website, to physical structural conditions, to sounds and smells, to staff interactions, to engagement via follow-up surveys, social media, and loyalty programs. In short, everything contributes to the overall service experience.
The details make the difference and coalesce to create micro-experiences within the larger context of the stay: What is the booking process like? Arrival in the lobby? Are staff members casual or regimented? What do the hallways smell like? How soundly do doors latch? How does the flooring look, feel, and sound underfoot? What does it feel like to wake up in a guest room? Is the loyalty program engaging and exciting?
Factors that create these specific guest moments are infinite. Controlling every one of them is, by definition, impossible. But a precise and expert design process can identify priorities and leverage them to create an experience that is unique… exceptional.
To begin with, a service design approach seeks to understand the hotel’s target market. Research and analysis provide a deep understanding of guest needs and industry trends that inform the design process and help to create a guest-centric renovation.
The next step is to map the guest journey, identifying all the touchpoints that guests encounter during their stay, from booking to check-out and beyond. This helps to identify areas where the hotel can impact – and ideally improve – the guest experience. It informs the design of the hotel’s physical spaces, services, and overall experience being provided.
Once the guest journey has been mapped, a service blueprint outlines the potential touchpoints. This includes identifying the roles and responsibilities of staff, the technologies required, and the physical spaces needed to deliver the desired results.
Prototyping and testing refine the guest experience, confirming that key targets meet expectations. This might include mockups of sample guest rooms, experience vignettes testing guest interaction scenarios, or focus groups to evaluate food and beverage menus. Testing and iterating prototypes ensures that the service experience delivers on target.
Implementation and Ongoing Improvement
Implementation and final execution of the design plan is critical, particularly when it comes to physical renovation updates. Designers and the implementation team – construction crews and hotel operations – must all be aligned in their understanding of priorities to ensure that the plans are translated effectively and efficiently into a finished project.
Continuous improvement is also key to the service design approach to renovations. Rather than a goal to be reached, the design should be viewed as an exercise to be practiced. Hotel owners and investors should continue to collect input, analyze the service offering, identify areas for improvement, and refine the holistic guest experience. The renovation cycle itself becomes part of an ongoing practice in a service design.
By adopting a service design model for hotel renovation, owners and investors can ensure that their hotels deliver a unique and exceptional experience for their guests. Would you like to integrate a service design approach into your next renovation? Contact us today and let’s start collaborating.