There’s a quotation I like, which sums up a prevailing attitude amongst many hotel group corporate offices:
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.” Sir Winston Churchill.
I think that the current success of the big hotel groups is their Achilles Heal. It is preventing their leaders from seeing the inevitable future of the guest experience, as well as the future role of hotels. Their leaders are so locked into the current paradigms, which have made their hotel group successful, that I do not think they can imagine different paradigms or a different direction.
The guest experience of the future will not focus on soulless perfection in the SOPs, on material embellishments, new amenities, exclusive smells, and suchlike as at present, but rather on the core spiritual values of hospitality, which the western service guest experience paradigms have made personas non grata. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to raise any eyebrows amongst corporate folks that love, which is the essence of hospitality, has been banished into exile and replaced by mechanical and emotionless SOPs.
The core spiritual values, which will become the focus of hospitality are loving kindness, compassion, and genuine heart-warming care. The emotions and feelings these create are a pole apart from the kind of corporate care, which is enshrined in the corporate SOP manuals and vision statements. There will inevitably be a reaction against what has happened. Indeed, in my experience many hoteliers and staff know that something has gone wrong.
Corporate SOP-Customer Satisfaction will pass away. The days will come when the cloned, emotionless, corporate guest experience will come to an end. I have no doubt about this. The guest experience of the future will be much softer and gentler, and energetically strong. You create this guest experience in a very different way, and you have to understand energy to create it.
Can you imagine someone standing up in a corporate office meeting and saying, “We can increase our revenue manifold and compete better by increasing the amount of loving kindness we show our guests, and by teaching our staff about energy.” From that day on, wherever that person walked in the corridors of power, people would snigger and giggle as they walked past. “Oh, so he’s the one! Poor chap!” That person’s hope of ever again climbing the ladder to Corporate Heaven will have been dashed.
The problem people face when they create something new or discover a better way to do something, and which can introduce a major transformation, is that everyone ignores the person and dismisses their idea to begin with. Then once someone has found that the idea is beneficial, everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon and people then claim that the idea was their own. Heart-Based Hospitality is such a concept. When implemented properly it makes the 5-Stars guest experience appear to be a very basic level of hospitality.
I created waves several years ago when I wrote many articles satirizing SOP-Customer Satisfaction and the corporate offices which promoted it proudly. Very quickly, CEOs stopped stating how their group satisfies their guests. I wrote about how hotels could move on from Customer Satisfaction by creating truly memorable experiences (CTME). Now every hotel group promotes the concept and some even trademark their version of CTME. However, they all seem to have misunderstood the concept because they ignore the spiritual essence, which is love. They have turned the concept into a glorified and materialistic form of SOP-Customer Satisfaction.
So, I intensified the guest experience concept and changed it to Heart-Based Hospitality and included a wide range of heart energy research techniques, and energy techniques from monasteries in Tibet, the American Indians, and China. I have noticed the profound effect it has in hotels, especially on women, who tend to make up the majority of hotel staff in Asia and the Far East. Men do change too, but often they have to be coaxed to take off their mask and to let their real self show.
Heart-Based Hospitality fits into any hotel, but the focus is different. In 5-star hotels, for example, the perfect implementation of mechanical SOPs is the focus. Feeling and emotion are not important. But in Heart-Based Hospitality loving kindness, compassion, and heart-warming care, and the energetic feeling of the staff and the property are the focus.
You don’t need to tell people to practise this kind of hospitality. There are energy techniques and meditations, which create the desire in you to do so, and which enable you to increase the warmth. Tonglen is an example of one such technique. If you want to become more compassionate and loving, practise this meditation for 5-10 minutes every day. Also, learn how to send love energy. Eventually, you create in yourself very quickly the same feeling as when you fall in love. This affects the guest experience.
Many of the principals and methods are ancient knowledge. Quantum science has, however, caught up with the ancient knowledge and is explaining what happens from a scientific viewpoint. The Australian government under John Howard even asked the whole country to practise an ancient energy technique, which I also use in hotels, to make it rain during a severe drought on May 8th, 2007. Yes, it did rain that day and every day afterwards. It was Australia’s first National Rain Day. Similar techniques can be used to make crops grow better, to heal, and to increase love between people. Some eminent scientists and researchers have been showing for years now what the techniques do.
The hotel industry just needs to take its head out of the sand and climb out of the Rut of Tradition to see what it is missing. All I have done is to use this ancient knowledge to create a guest experience, which feels energetically very different, and which makes staff softer and gentler by opening their heart, and become the people whom they really are.
I have only touched the tip of the iceberg of what is possible. SOP-Customer Satisfaction has a ceiling, but there is no ceiling to loving kindness, compassion, and heart-warming care. There are a limitless number of levels about the ceiling of 5-Stars waiting to be discovered. I write articles to help the hotel industry to bridge the gap between what it is now to what it will become in the future when the role of hotels will surely be energetic places to increase people’s well-being, health, and happiness. Hopefully, hoteliers will explore this new direction for the guest experience, and take it far beyond where I can take it.