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Experience vs. Service

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

Have you ever left a luxury restaurant or hotel thinking ‘I could have had the same service somewhere else for half the price’? If so, these locations may not be thinking about the guest experience. In this article, we hope to express upon you the simple differences between providing simple service versus a true experience.

Creating experiences involves more key features than just service. When training luxury service staff, the focus should be on how to create unforgettable experiences for their guests rather than only thinking about service.

Service can be found anywhere; you don’t have to pay high prices to receive it. Basic service is when you help someone or when you do work for them. You can find this anywhere, whether you go to a McDonalds, Target, or even Pet Smart. It is not difficult to perform a service, the part that people could struggle with is good service. Always use your manners, smile, be respectful, and overall treat your guests how you would want to be treated if you were in their position.

When you stay at hotels, you would like good service but overall you expect service in general. If you are staying at an average hotel, you are paying for the service you receive. Think about it this way, you go to a McDonald’s and pay around $8.00 for a Big Mac meal with a medium soft drink. You receive average service for a low cost, it balances out. Next, imagine you sit down at The Capital Grille and order their $18.00 Cheeseburger with a $4.00 soft drink. You should not receive the same level of service at The Capital Grille that you would receive at the McDonalds, rather, you should receive an experience.

Experiences create memories. In order to properly create a memorable experience, it is important to understand the idea and benefit of it. When you go to Walt Disney World Resort or Ritz-Carlton, you are paying a lot of money to enjoy their amenities. If you receive the same treatment at these properties that you would at a smaller theme park or a below average hotel, why continue to spend your money if you’re going to receive the same service? Instead, I’d rather pay at least half the price and have no difference in the service then pay above average prices for a below average service. If you are staying at a luxury hotel, you are paying for an unforgettable experience not a service.

So how do you work on putting the focus on experience rather than service? Good question! Focus on the guest, what they want, and try to exceed their expectations. Learn about what they like, where they’re going, and what their plans are. The guest will feel like an individual person rather than dollar signs helping the hotel generate revenue. However, don’t let that experience end after they check in, or even after they check out. While they’re on property, check in with the guest to ensure they have everything they need and if not, help them. After learning more about them, offer them recommendations for activities or restaurants. If you learn they love tacos, tell them about your favorite Mexican restaurant in that city. Create a memorable relationship with the guests while they’re there. They will feel more at home and less like they’re just passing through, make them want to return.

Now, while they check out, make sure all their needs were met, and urge them to come back soon. Take notes on what you learned about them and their visit so when they do come back, you can remember some of their favorite things. You want to ensure that when they return, they don’t feel like a stranger rather they feel like part of the family. This could be achieved by either welcoming them back and letting them know how happy you are that they returned, or maybe surprise them with a nice gift. This could be their favorite drink is sitting in the mini-fridge in their room or a small token of your appreciation to show how happy you are that they are back. Chances are, guests are paying a lot of money to stay at your hotel, whether it is for one night or one week. Make sure they are paying for an experience rather than just a room. The more you push creating experiences over service, the more time and money the guest is willing to spend at your property and will already have their next trip booked.

If you are normally a guest, next time you visit a property think about your experience after interactions with staff. Do they focus on service or creating experiences? If you are normally apart of the property team, next time you interact with a guest, think about how you want them to feel after this interaction, you should want the guest to remember this moment weeks after. Creating guest loyalty begins with unforgettable and unmatched experiences.


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