Creating the Wow Factor in Hospitality

Sean Flakelar

By Sean Flakelar

Jul 10, 2024

We have all heard of the Wow Factor. We see it in architecture, the view, the interiors of a resort or in a sensational meal. We feel it in the smallest and most unexpected touches and gestures.

The Hospitality Wow Factor

Creating the Wow Factor in hospitality involves going beyond your guests’ expectations to deliver memorable and delightful experiences. Bringing the Wow Factor into your business will set you apart from the competition and build brand integrity.

Wow Factor Contributors:

Know your Surroundings 

Utilise the surrounding landscape (rural or urban). Know what’s in your backyard and develop local partnerships to create unique experiences with visually stunning and comfortable spaces that reflect the local culture or a specific theme.

Draw on Local Knowledge 

The local community can be a wealth of knowledge whether it is in the country or in a city. They know the best places to visit and when. It may be a special annual cultural event, where the best fishing spots are or a small hole-in-the-wall food outlet that serves the best chili crab. Tailored guest experiences can be created by gathering local intel to help craft something that is truly WOW.

Go the extra Mile 

Utilize guest data to personalize experiences. For example, remembering a guest’s favourite drink or meal, offering personalized room settings, knowing their birthday or anniversary, etc. Reach out prior to arrival to gather guest preferences and during their stay check in with them to ensure the attention to detail has exceeded all expectations.

You’re only as Good as your Team 

Invest in comprehensive staff training programs that emphasize empathy, anticipation of needs and problem-solving skills. Empowering employees allows staff the autonomy to make decisions that enhance guest satisfaction without needing managerial approval.

Be a Generous Host 

Small, thoughtful gifts or gestures like a handwritten note or a complimentary upgrade. Recognizing special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries) with complimentary treats or services makes a big impact.

A Place of Learning 

These days the high-end luxury traveller is looking to experience and learn about their chosen destination. They are interested in local communities through partnerships and are eager to sample local products and support local causes. There is a strong interest in knowing where the chef sources the produce from and how it is treated. Sustainable practices such as reducing waste, conserving water and using renewable energy are on everyone’s minds. Resources such as cooking classes, guest lectures, a visit to a local orphanage or a nature walk will contribute to the Wow Factor and an appreciation of your location.

Challenges We’re Solving at SFC

At SFC we have extensive experience and a proven track record in the development of unique Wow Factors. Areas we are often asked to assist in:

Strategic Planning and Development:

Conduct detailed market research to understand target demographics, competitive landscape and emerging trends. Supervise feasibility studies to assess the viability of new projects or expansions. Develop unique concepts for hotels, resorts, restaurants or other hospitality ventures that stand out in the market. Create detailed business plans outlining vision, mission and strategic goals.

Guest Experience Enhancement Services

Provide comprehensive training programs for staff to ensure exceptional service delivery and consistency. Develop service protocols and standards that exceed guest expectations. Implement systems to capture and utilize guest data for personalized experiences, such as custom welcome amenities and tailored services. Design unique guest interaction touchpoints that create memorable moments.

Unique Amenities and Services

Recommend and help implement unique amenities that enhance the guest experience such as high-tech gadgets, luxury spa treatments or special dining experiences. Develop special programs and events, such as themed nights, cultural activities or exclusive excursions.

Marketing and Sales

Develop and execute marketing plans that highlight the unique aspects of the property and attract the desired clientele. Utilize digital marketing, social media and traditional marketing channels effectively. Implement revenue management strategies to optimize pricing and maximize occupancy. Train sales teams on effective sales techniques and customer relationship management.

Operational Efficiency

Conduct comprehensive audits of existing operations to identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement. Recommend and implement best practices for operational excellence. Advise on cost management strategies to improve profitability without compromising on quality. Optimize supply chain and procurement processes for better efficiency.

Creating the Wow Factor in hospitality is about crafting a holistic experience that delights guests at every touchpoint. It’s a blend of exceptional service, personalized touches, creativity, innovative technology and a deep understanding of what makes each guest feel valued and special.

Focus on these elements to create lasting impressions that turn first-time visitors into loyal, repeat customers, allowing your business to grow and capture that WOW FACTOR your guests will remember and return for. 

About the author

Sean Flakelar

Sean Flakelar specializes in hospitality management consulting utilizing his breadth of experience in luxury travel and hospitality. With his unique knowledge in the operation of small boutique resorts, creating unique guest experiences, and Food & Beverage operations, Sean provides advisory services to his clients with exceptional skills and passion for excellence at the core. He became a seasoned General Manager having led 8 Aman Resorts to critical acclaim during his 27 year tenure with the revered brand. Sean began his career with the pre-opening team for Amanusa, Bali as Executive Chef, and went on to be appointed general manager of some of Aman’s most iconic properties such as Amanjiwo, Amanoi, and Amangalla. Sean was Aman’s Country Manager for Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Sean’s approach to managing boutique luxury resorts is hands on with both staff and guests, cultivating memorable guest experiences whilst building solid connections globally that share his passion and love for experiential travel. Among his many accolades, Sean was named Best General Manager, Worldwide by Gallivanter’s Guide in 2017. Sean is an active member of Cayuga Hospitality Consultants.

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