Is Your Hotel in Need of a Chief Experience Officer?
Trends in the business world come and go like clouds. An example of this is open-plan office spaces. As millennials entered the workforce, they opted for open, flexible, and fluid workspaces instead of cubicles and offices. Studies and anecdotal reports showed that tearing down the walls could lead to healthier, more collaborative team environments.
It was until recent studies showed otherwise. BBC published a story in January 2018 about why tech companies have reverted to “closed office” layouts. They cited problems such as losing focus and decreased memory ability. Many people need to be more productive when distracted or constantly moving around. We must reassess when we think the boundaries are being pushed meaningfully.
What comes to your mind when you hear about certain hotels bringing on a “Chief Experience Officer” or a “Chief Customers Officer”? Is the concept a good one? Is it like spending millions to convert your office into an open plan just because the trend is excellent and makes sense? In five or ten years, will we laugh at this trend?
Most likely not. We can say that the trend is good even before we know what “CCEO” means. Why can we say this? The guest experience is the center of everything in hotels. Your hotel will only be able to compete if you can create a consistently great (or good) guest experience. Lower the bar to allow for a lower price. There are many ways to make the guest experience more appealing. In the age of Airbnb, someone is constantly pushing the boundaries to improve it, whether it’s the hotel manager or the apartment host. Someone who finds a formula for great guest experiences will try to exploit it.
Dedicating an entire position to the guest’s experience is reasonable if you have a hotel collection or chain. It would help if you had a supervisor who is up-to-date with the latest research. Recent press releases have been released by Dorchester Collection, Hilton, and others announcing the hiring of this type. Hilton’s CCO “will oversee the Global Brands, Marketing, Loyalty & Partnerships, IT, and Strategy Teams,” while Dorchester’s CCEO “will implement the overall customer experience strategy.”
What does it mean? What does this mean?
This may be more important for a brand as large as Hilton. A large organization can quickly lose focus because of so many moving parts.
A CCEO is a luxury that boutiques and independents cannot afford. It would be great to have someone on your team whose daily focus is the guest experience. This focus is the responsibility of the manager and every staff member. The boundaries of the customer experience are fluid and hard to define. From booking to checkout, no part of the business is connected to the customer’s experience.
CCEO may sound trite, but it is not a brand-new position. Many of the responsibilities that the CCEO held were previously part of every job at the hotel, from upper management to maintenance. The classic hotel book “Everybody Sells Strawberries,” suggested that the Sales Department was not the entire hotel. However, the hotel as a whole IS a Sales Department. Customer service is incorporated into the same department.