EP #39 – The Power of Moments with Author Chip Heath

Picture of Author Chip HeathHow To Create Defining Moments Without Breaking the Bank.


In a world full of cell phones, crystal clear video, and instant gratification, creating an impactful guest experience is harder than ever. The good news is there are still ways to create defining moments that connect with your guests, are cost-effective, and create memories and experiences your guests can’t wait to share in their hotel reviews.


In Episode 39 we talk with Chip Heath, Stanford Business School professor and co-author of The Power of Moments. According to the book’s website, Chip and his brother Dan’s book, “explores why certain brief experiences can jolt us and elevate us and change us—and how we can learn to create such extraordinary moments in our life and work.” In this podcast episode, Chip covers the framework laid out in his book for creating a memorable and meaningful experience for your guests and how to implement an effective employee recognition program.


What can you remember from your childhood? Is there a nice smooth timeline of events that’s clear as day where every minute is cataloged and easily accessed inside your brain? Or is it more like a series of memorable moments, each having a profound and meaningful connection to you? It’s more likely the latter, which is what Chip reminds hospitality industry insiders. Guest experience is made in powerful moments, not mundane details. Defining moments can happen anywhere. It’s about stopping long enough to see them through the guest’s eyes and make sure to connect with them on a level they won’t soon forget.


The check-in process for example. The standard greeting, impersonal chit chat about where you’re traveling from, and regular information gathering is necessary, but how can we make it memorable? What if the staff checking the guest in was explaining exactly what they’re doing throughout the process, genuinely connecting with the guest by showing they understand what it must be like to have traveled so long and be ready to settle in (“Leave the hard work to us! You go ahead and relax.”), and offering some sort of token that creates a reason to remember that moment (free cookies, a compiled list of things to do in the area, etc.)? These are the things that cost virtually nothing but can create a caring and memorable guest experience, netting those positive hotel reviews.


Chip talks about elevation. This is the element that takes any moment (like checking in) and brings it up to the next level by creating an intense sensory experience. It involves building a peak, or turning up the emotional volume, with a signature moment and breaking the script, or creating an impactful and good surprise in service. It’s a lot like the Cracker Jack prize inside of every box! Chip gives a terrific example of the Magic Castle in Los Angeles – a story that’s a must hear in the podcast episode, mostly for the popsicle hotline. Elevation is something we in the hospitality industry often get too busy to step back, stop, and think about it from the guest’s perspective.


You might be thinking, “I don’t have all kinds of money to give things away or buy the things I need to create those types of experiences!” That’s okay. There are plenty of great and cost-effective suggestions in this episode. Make sure to listen and get ideas that will work for you.


We also cover team building and lowering staff turnover rather through the use of a solid employee recognition program that – again – doesn’t have to break the bank. Did you know that nearly 80 percent of managers think they’re doing a good job rewarding and recognizing their staff when, in reality, only 20 percent of that same staff says they feel properly rewarded and recognized? Happier staff work harder and happier, which easily shows to guests. It’s all about tailoring the rewards to the individual receiving them. Finding what motivates and connects with them and being thoughtful in rewarding employees in a way that really speaks to them. Listen in for some great and creative rewards Chip has experienced. Like saran wrap. Yes, that’s right, saran wrap! Check out the full podcast to learn exactly how inexpensive plastic wrap can be an impactful and meaningful reward in a staff recognition program.


This podcast episode will also cover service failures. When service isn’t going exactly how we expected, how we recover these failures can make all the difference. In fact, there are several studies out there that show a recovered guest is more likely to become a loyal customer. Chip and I discuss this throughout the episode as well.


You can download the first chapter of The Power of Moments free! The book is available in its entirety October 3.


For more great reads from Chip and his brother Dan Heath, be sure to check out SwitchMade to Stick, and Decisive.


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