Artem Dmitrichenko, Manager of the Friday hostel chain, shared with MC Today his experience of working with Millennials and told how Friday managed to become the best hostel among 21 European countries according to the International Hospitality Awards and get an annual occupancy of 83%.
Smiling is necessity, not an additional service
Remember this and don't pass it off as an additional service. A smile is only your greeting. Modern tourists are able to distinguish between a tight mask and a sincere smile. And the generation of the largest group of travelers - Millennials - pays the biggest attention to relationships. They will only come to places where they will feel comfortable in every sense: communicative, physical and emotional.
I am convinced that the concept of any object in the hospitality should be based on humanity.
Not on paper, not in the site description, not in Facebook posts, but in fact.
Here's an example: one of our guests lost a new Macbook. I was working at the hostel that day. Since he arrived by car, he suggested that the guest go around the places where he could presumably leave the gadget. I sincerely wanted to help, and we drove until late at night. Unfortunately, we never found his laptop. On the way he occasionally told me that he had never seen a person pay that much attention and give so much effort to find a solution to his problems.
That evening, a friend called him. He told her about our adventures and invited her to the hostel. This friend was Lisa Doronko from the acclaimed program "Top model in Ukraine". She came, met our team, and posted some selfies and stories from the hostel on Instagram. As a result, in less than a day, we collected about a thousand clicks on our page and more than a hundred subscribers.
One solid photo zone
Modern generation Y likes to take pictures and be photographed. We have met both of these needs. Not one wall was taken to the photo zone, but the entire hostel. Huge mirrors in the bathrooms and motivational phrases "Enjoy life", "Collect moments", "Fly", and so on. The rest of the space was painted in bright colors.
A third of the entire living area of the hostel was allocated to a common area where guests can work and relax. Believe me, a third of the hostel is a lot. There you could make three huge rooms and make profit. We were faced with a serious choice, but now I am sure that this decision was the right one.
First of all, we thought about the guest: what he will do, how he will relax, where he will work. According to this, we provided for a larger number of outlets in the work area, and did not place them in the recreation area at all, so that people could take a break from gadgets.
Listen and empathize
Negative comments are valuable signals and a test of our strength, humanity and efficiency.
One day our guest from Kiev sat down at the dining table, which had just been washed by the maid. The employee treated the surfaces with an aggressive cleaning agent and did not have time to wipe them for the last time. Without noticing this, the guest put her hands on the table and left white streaks on the black sleeves. Of course, she was upset and began to resent that we ruined her new blouse.
I listened carefully, smiled, and apologized. As a rule, such actions are enough for a person to understand that we are sincerely sorry and will do everything to prevent this from happening again. It is important to be able to admit your mistakes, and even more important – to correct them. Which we did. The woman gave us a ten on booking.com and wrote a very nice review. Then she repeatedly communicated with me on facebook and noted that such a service is very appreciated.
There are, of course, more aggressive people for whom these actions are not enough. If it becomes obvious that the person does not want to solve the problem, but is not averse to embarrassment, then I have a special tactic.
I look the guest in the eye and ask a direct question: "Do you want me to fire this employee?"..
No other guest has ever answered me in the affirmative. As a rule, a psychological toggle switch is triggered, which does not allow you to deprive another person of money.
Of course, we can't foresee all the failures. But we figured out how to minimize them. First, we invite active and sociable people to the position of administrators. Secondly, we have a quality control Department.
The team contacts the guest as soon as they leave our facility and asks if they liked everything, if there are any comments about the staff or the operation of the facility as a whole.
He expresses his point of view, we record all the comments and correct them. As a result, we get a guest who has spoken out, which means that they no longer need to vent their indignation in social networks or other resources. On the contrary, he has an excuse to tell about how quickly they worked in response to his request.
Create the characters of your facility
This is not a rule. But it works. In our hostel "Friday Wood" in Koblevo lives a huge dog named Tyson. Despite his formidable appearance, he is very calm, kind and sweet. Our guests are happy to play, and sometimes even talk to him. Many guests note that the presence of a dog creates a sense of home comfort. It was as if they had come to own dacha.
With Tyson's Instagram photos, we get new followers and direct bookings.
Call us when you get home
I will say a banal thing that everyone understands, but rarely applies.
We treat the guest the way we would like to be treated by us or our loved ones. For example, we do not let a guest go to the city without our business card and a request to call if you need help.
This is not difficult and is included in the category of absolutely inexpensive manipulations. Remember where else you were addressed: "you have a long road ahead of you. Call us back when you arrive — we are worried."