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Saturday, April 14, 2012

First Impressions

I have learned to listen to my initial "first impression," whether be it in regards to people, places, products,  or problems. I enjoy meeting people, and exploring life. My initial reactions to situations don't predict my future. Instead they grant me curiosity to better explore an opportunity or meet a new friend. I like karmic and charismatic pull of opportunities. First impressions matter, the impression has to be strong in either a negative or positive allure. As my mom always says; "The opposite of love isn't hate it is indifference."

In managing image and impressions the worst placement is in the indifferent category. If a brand were to have an indifferent personality it would be indistinguishable from alternatives. Strong initial emotional connections pull an audience in forcing brand awareness.

Many hotels recognize the importance of first impressions: stating that they only have 15 minutes to wow or annoy guests. In North America alone, over 90% of travel accommodation and itineraries are made online. With heavy Internet sales the importance fro hotels to make a good first impression is magnified. If the virtual presentation of the facility exceeds the actual facility then there is a brand disconnect problem.

In attempts  to maximize first impression management, many hotels are stressing the importance of well trained and knowledgeable front desk employees. The front line staff of an organization has the ability to make a direct impact on customers experience. Front line employees have to power to "up the ante,' of guest experience.

Uniform presentation of amenities in any business is important, as it effectively communicates product consistencies. When I travel, I immediately notice the front lobby. A nice lobby accented with friendly staff in clean uniforms  will heavily impact my overall impression of the hotel/resort. A beautiful lobby showcases the hotels personality as well as its attention to overall detail.

As a kid, getting ready for a flight was an adventure in itself. I loved the promise of plane food in flight entertainment, and pillows. The days of hassle free air travel are long gone replaced by a skeleton service with expensive add-ons. The more inconvenient air travel becomes the greater the importance for hotels and attraction venues to maximise customer first impressions.  As a consumer I love nothing more than a product or service that surpasses my expectations.

Simple Ways To maximize first impressions:

- Be prepared: Know who you are meeting, where you are meeting the basic reason for the meeting.
- Be Respectful: Address guest and customers by their proper name (I.e Mr. Smith) until instructed other wise. 
- Be proactive: Mention gym facilities, Internet passwords, and kids programs when applicable. Show guest that you know how to enhance their customer experience.
- Be personable: Smile, welcome guests, and share your favorite part of the hotel/resort/business with your guest/customer.
- Be accommodating: Life Happens, and understand the various needs of customers is important. Make it easy for customers to make changes or to enquire about alternatives. 

As customers we have the power to choose where we eat, stay, and shop. If a business wants my dollar, I let them work for it. 

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