Recently Hotel F&B featured an article entitled “Finding the Invisible Guest” which describes a complementary F&B program that some hotel properties are using. Essentially, by taking these carts loaded with an assortment of fruits, cookies, snacks, beverages and toiletries and surprising guests with a knock on the door offering complementary treats when they least expect it, the cart becomes a welcome touch point that allows the property to engage customers in conversation. It gives an opportunity for the managers or associates to personally thank the guest, ask about their stay and listen to their feedback. This personal interaction allows them to ‘find the invisible guest in the hotel.’ This is the guest who may be dissatisfied with something but not dissatisfied enough to report it. This is the guest who keeps things in the back of his mind and over time just disappears, taking his business elsewhere. This WOW Cart, as the Hospitality Ventures Management Group (HVMG) who thought of this concept, aptly names it, is key to retaining these customers. The cart is always met with such positive response and customers not only say that because of this cart they will be returning with their families, but the headcounts do speak for themselves. Properties once perceived as merely ‘party’ and ‘Palm Springsy’ hotels, for example, are now becoming also family-friendly ones as a result. That’s quite a transformation on account of one cart!
The cost of the cart is built into the room rate but the increase is very negligible as low-cost, high-volume items such as cookies, candy, water bottles and sodas are offered. Properties can also certainly tailor the treats offered to meet the interests of their guests. The cart is a brilliant brand ambassador and can also be introduced to guests by the pool area as well. It’s certainly better to have direct and personal one-to-one interaction with guests rather than reading surveys after the fact or listening to hearsay from associates. Overall, it’s a win for both the hotel property as well as for the guest.
To set up similar carts for your property, check out Cambro’s KD Utility Cart which offers smooth transport and optional side panels that will keep your treats safely within.