My father, Linden recently spent a week at Le Touessrok Hotel Resort in Mauritius to unwind and get away from the cares of the working world. This is his story of how they created a world class customer experience:
Touessrok is the flagship of four hotels owned and managed by the Sun Hotels Group on the Island of Mauritius. It is a 5 star hotel appealing primarily to tourists from France, Germany and England. It has 200 deluxe rooms and 3 villas which provide luxury accommodation and discrete individualized attention to every requirement of the discerning tourist. What sets this hotel apart from its 5 star competitors is not the beauty of its location, the unique relaxing design of its rooms, gardens and buildings or even the “quiet zone” with its exquisite pool, manicured lawns and sweeping palms alongside a superb spa – but its people. This hotel has an unrivaled market culture – and the business performance to match.
Touessrok celebrated its 30th birthday in 2008. But it was completely renovated and rebuilt in 2002 to 5 star specifications at a cost of US$50 million and access to the famed Isle au Cerf, a nearby island with a new Gary Player designed golf course. But this was just the start of the investment. The real competitive advantage of Touessrok is the market culture instilled in its management and staff.
What happens at Touessrok?
Tony, responsible for creating a romantic dinner setting for a table for two and dinner service on a quiet corner of the beach, receives glowing reports from the customers on leaving the hotel, is rewarded with travel vouchers and a commendation by management for his “beyond expectations” performance.
Monique, the Mauritian butler for a group of 6 rooms and their inhabitants, suggests refreshing drinks, completes the laundry list for clients, and enquires how else she can help. She makes it clear that it is important to her and future clients that guests complete the detailed “satisfaction” survey before they leave and that she hopes they will return.
Fabrice, the chef, is fully aware of diet restrictions, food allergies and specific dietary needs of customers and ensures that all his staff know which customers have specific requirements.
But not only do these people excel as individuals but everyone in their teams seems to know who their customers are, what are their current concerns and how they can make their stay memorable.
How does this happen?
It goes back to the very essence of the business – its vision and its culture. Everyone knows why they are there and what they must do to give the customer an experience they will remember and broadcast to the world. They are well trained, well informed and above all work as committed teams. One of the secrets on how it is done – the hotel recruits from the local part of the island where the hotel is located. Already the newly recruited staff know each other – they are brothers and sisters, cousins, family and friends. They are committed to each other’s wellbeing. Work is a fun place to go because they are working with “family” and they are fully committed to each other, the team, the customer and the business.
Now I realize this is a 5 star resort.. isn’t that what you would expect? Well yes and no, there are many 5 star resorts around the world but not many pull off the people/service side of the equation. They may have great facilities in beautiful locations but that is only half the story.
What do you do to ensure your people create the experience your business with profit from?