LRA Worldwide, Inc., a leading provider of Customer Experience Management (CEM) consulting and performance measurement services, has partnered with Meyer Jabara Hotels to create a unique guest experience program at its properties. Meyer Jabara Hotels challenged each location to develop an appropriately “themed” hotel guest experience, reflective of the unique destination, attractions and local culture and began heavily marketing those themed experiences in July of 2004.
The program has been implemented at all Meyer Jabara properties, regardless of brand affiliation. Thus, guests at a Meyer Jabara property might find themselves learning to mix the perfect margarita at the Holiday Inn El Paso, viewing the royal swan feeding as part of their “estate” experience at the Hilton Christiana (DE), or cruising the Inner Harbor on the “Lady Pintail” at any of three Baltimore boutique hotels.
“We were looking for a way to really distinguish both our branded and independent properties as ‘best in class,’ either within their particular brand or as destinations in their own right,” explained Ken Conklin, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Meyer Jabara Hotels. “This was a creative way to de-commoditize our product and really stand out in the mind of the consumer.”
In its role as a consultant, LRA helped both “operationalize” the themed concept at each of the properties and develop the quality assurance audit designed to ensure that each property is properly executing its theme. Currently, LRA conducts mystery shops at each of the properties three times annually on behalf of Meyer Jabara Hotels. Naturally, these inspections are above and beyond any audits mandated by the brand, as the brand program would be ill-equipped to measure the degree to which the property has exemplified the themed experience. Indeed, the program that LRA has designed for Meyer Jabara exists solely to measure how effectively the hotel has embodied the theme, from its physical attributes to its guest service delivery.
“As someone who has been involved in the design and development of countless ‘unique’ hotel experiences and the QA programs created to measure them, this is a truly compelling program,” opined John Roberto, LRA’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Quality Assurance. “Meyer Jabara is on to something – they’ve turned an ordinary hotel stay into a bona fide memory for guests, the type of ‘guest experience engineering’ that one might typically associate with a Disney or Ritz Carlton. And guests who just happen upon the experience their first time at a Meyer Jabara property are seeking it out the next time around.”
The experience begins immediately during the reservations process, as the reservations agent introduces the guest to the property’s theme and the different themed package experiences available. The following day, that guest is contacted by an “Experience Specialist” who gathers enough information about the guest and the traveling party to personalize the hotel stay around the theme. So at the Sheraton Reading (PA) – self-proclaimed as Reading’s Most Fashionable Address – an outlet-shopping spree might be the order of the day, depending on the guests’ whims.
“We thought there was a real opportunity within the mid-price level of the hospitality industry to evolve from being simply reactive ‘reservation takers,’” Conklin continued. “A true service organization is able to anticipate needs and fulfill them, and we felt that level of service needn’t be limited to luxury properties and exotic locales. We’re creating magical, memorable experiences that are accessible to everyone.”
About Meyer Jabara Hotels
Meyer Jabara Hotels is an award-winning hospitality company owning and operating hotels in thirteen states. Their portfolio of hotels includes Marriott, Hilton, Sheraton, Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn brands as well as several independent hotels. For over twenty-five years, Meyer Jabara Hotels has distinguished itself as an employer of choice within the hospitality industry by creating a culture where associates are encouraged to reach their fullest potential and customers receive unique offerings. To learn more, visit their Website at meyerjabarahotels.com.
About LRA Worldwide, Inc.
LRA Worldwide, Inc. is a leading consulting, organizational development and research company that specializes in Customer Experience Management (CEM). LRA helps companies and brands design and deliver the optimal customer experience across all key touch points using an integrated suite of services that measure and improve service quality, customer satisfaction, employee performance, loyalty, customer advocacy and profitability. LRA specializes in “operationalizing the brand” – turning brand promise and customer strategy into operational reality. LRA’s tactical CEM practice areas include Customer Experience Strategy Design, Standards Development & Content Management, Organizational Development & Training, Customer and Employee Research and Quality Assurance & Mystery Shopping; these are either deployed together in a strategic manner to continually monitor and improve the customer experience or deployed individually to address a specific client tactical need.
LRA’s clients include some of the world’s leading companies and brands in the hospitality industry and beyond, including Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Hard Rock, the PGA TOUR, Albertsons Supermarkets, the NBA and MGM MIRAGE.