Creating a Guest Experience Roadmap
There are constant improvements needed within hotels. Ensuring guests are engaged, satisfied and delighted is high on the list. However, it’s impossible to do everything at once. A guest experience roadmap is a tool to record, plan and track improvements made within the guest experience. As there are a number of steps required to establish such a roadmap, let’s start with the essentials.
What we’ll cover:
- What is a guest experience roadmap
- Getting started with a guest experience roadmap
- Structure of a guest experience roadmap
- How to use your roadmap
- Let’s summarise
What is a guest experience roadmap
Hotels engage with guests constantly, and on a very personal level. One unintentional misstep in service, design, offering or an interaction can overshadow the entire stay. This might even lead to a negative review or reduced guest loyalty. As hotels deal with this everyday, making improvements along the way can help both the hotel staff and their guests.
You will hear ‘roadmap’ refer to different aspects of guest experience. This is because roadmap is close to mapping, or guest journey mapping. But let’s clarify. Guest (or customer) journey mapping is creating a visual overview of a guest’s movement between brand touchpoints. This is a tool for teams to understand, develop and improve an experience. This visual overview of the journey can include many things, including potential ideas. However, executing guest journey mapping ideas is a completely different challenge that requires its own tool.
This is where a guest experience roadmap comes in. There are many types of roadmaps out there. Business, product, agile and technology roadmaps, to name a few. These roadmaps are high-level timelines to achieve complex, cross-organisational projects While the guest journey map is more guest-focused, the guest experience roadmap is more organisation-focused. If you want to execute your proposed changes overtime and over a number of teams, a guest experience roadmap is your friend.
Getting started with a guest experience roadmap
Before creating a roadmap, or essentially a plan, there needs to be a greater vision in place. A guest vision is an inspirational strategy aligned with business, brand and guest needs. With its overarching ideas and principles, a guest vision gives higher-level reasoning and guidance for more granular changes. This is usually agreed up and created by key team members and stakeholders. Then, we need to know what is the current and ideal guest experience is, usually visualised as a guest journey map.
The guest vision and guest journey maps are the foundation for a guest experience roadmap. Ideally, during these two task, you’ll recruit the required teams and stakeholders for the ultimate project - your guest experience transformation. With these two things in hand, the next step is determining priorities. Every guest experience improvement or addition won’t happen tomorrow. Initial priorities can include easy wins to create momentum or efficient changes that affect revenue.
Either way, initial priorities should result in a visible or measurable impact. This helps to create project advocates and admirers, which will keep your guest experience transformation alive within an organisation. As the project gains momentum, your priorities will change, and hopefully the pressure to succeed will lessen. But for now, the initial priorities are crucial to achieve long-term success. Now, we’ll map these (aka short-term wins) alongside medium-term adjustments and long-term changes.
Structure of a guest experience roadmap
As a guest experience roadmap is a high-level overview, it will only have select information. This information includes a timeline with key milestones against a task bar. The task bar will feature your initial priorities, medium-term adjustments and long-term changes. This information should outline the deliverable and final achievement, while (again) avoiding granular detail. Your timeline with key milestones can be divided by month or by quarter. As this is a high-level document, it is separate from your day-to-day project management planner.
How to use your roadmap
As you can see, the work needed to initiate, maintain and agree up your roadmap is greater than laying out the actual roadmap. This is because your roadmap is a universal guide that everyone should feel is relevant, valid and actionable. Use your guest experience roadmap to organise task teams, track progress and socialise your project. It’s a powerful tool for communication, especially if your roadmap is clear, concise and visual. Your roadmap is a living, flexible document. Thus, it’s important to update, discuss and maintain your roadmap as the project progresses or other priorities arise.
You might feel like, ‘wait, I did all this work to then change it?’ I get the frustration. By doing this upfront work, you are better able to evaluate changes to your roadmap. For example, let’s say the marketing team proposes a new food immersion workshop to get some hype around the hotel. With your guest experience vision, journey and roadmap, you can have a more objective discussion around their proposal. The unexpected will always come up, especially when you are changing an experience within a hotel, and involving multiple team. But you can do it. With these essentials, get started with transforming your guest experience, step-by-step.
- The guest vision and guest journey maps are the foundation for a guest experience roadmap
- Roadmaps are high-level timelines to achieve complex, cross-organisational projects
- As a guest experience roadmap is a high-level overview, it will only have select information
- Use your roadmap to organise task teams, track progress and socialise your project
- It’s important to update, discuss and maintain your roadmap as the project progresses