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Transactions vs. Interactions

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

Hospitality properties can provide one of two types of service: transactional and interactional. Transactional service has its place in hospitality; however, not in luxury. Interactional service is what should be expected in any luxury property.

Transactional service is one that you can typically receive anywhere. It’s a type of service where the employee goes through the movements, gets the sale, and moves onto the next person. You don’t normally feel like a guest, but rather as a customer whose sole purpose is to give the company money. However, transactional service has its place is hospitality. When you go to certain places such as fast food restaurants or basic hotels, you should expect this type of service. Fast food restaurants are great when you just want your food and don’t need an entire conversation asking about your day, where you’re from, or what brought you in. All customers want when it comes to transactional service is a knowledgeable employee.

On the other hand, when you are in a fine dining restaurant or a luxury hotel, you should expect interactional service. Interactional service is when the service is memorable and focuses on the guest's needs rather than the monetary outcome. There is more thought in interactions that leave the guests truly amazed. Proper interactional service is where the staff member investigates their guest and obtains beneficial knowledge. They will then prove their knowledge throughout the experience. For example, during a conversation the staff member learns about how the guest is on their way to the pool and the staff member then takes it upon themselves to escort the guest to the pool and provide them a towel. Interactional service provides ease to the guest so they can enjoy themselves and feel like a true guest rather than a customer.

Now let’s learn how to transition away from transactional service and towards interactional. Think about a hospitality destination you’ve been to or work at. What areas could be strengthened? This could include improving service personalization, understanding the guests' needs, expanding an ability to go above and beyond basic service, and creating memories for the guests that will last a lifetime. It is crucial for the success of any luxury property that guests experience interactional service.

This article is intended to provide a simple introduction to the concept of transactional vs interactional service. To continue understanding the interactional service concept, please review our blog titled “Providing a G.I.A.N.T. service Experience” and focus on A – anticipate needs and T – thoughtful gestures. They are important factors in transitioning the service into interactional. Luxury service, interactional service, is anticipatory and thoughtful. Continue to think about how you can transition any transactional service into interactional.


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