Dorchester Collection, established in 2006 to manage some of the most iconic luxury hotels in the most iconic cities in the U.S. and Europe, transitions its focus from guest service to guest experience in order to better deliver on bespoke needs and wants of its guests.
Its record of success in this area has been recognized by a number of prestigious awards. In 2015, Dorchester Collection was honored by the UK Customer Experience Awards for developing the top customer strategy and for being among the top two product launch leaders in the field in the awards’ “Loving the Customer” category. In addition, the company’s guest experience was also acknowledged at the Engagement & Loyalty Awards for the best Customer Engagement program. The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards named Dorchester Collection as the finalist in the customer focus category. In addition, Dorchester Collection is a finalist in the 2016 Customer Institute Awards recognizing the most innovative guest experience.
Equally important, Dorchester Collection highlights its iconic hotels – their unique character and heritage – alongside its brand. In doing so, Dorchester Collection has chosen to forgo the benefits of standardization, as well as the typical organizational structures upon which the rest of the hospitality industry has so long depended.
For example, while service at Dorchester Collection hotels is uniformly excellent (as testified by their high Forbes Travel Guide ratings), it varies in character from hotel to hotel. The guest experience in London is different from the experience in Rome, and both are different than the experience in Beverly Hills. Accordingly, there are no Dorchester Collection policies for how to serve a guest in one of its restaurants (which, collectively, have 9 Michelin stars), or how to make up a room. Each hotel does it in a way that reflects the culture of its city, and preserves its special character. Unlike all other luxury hotel companies, there are very few service standards for Dorchester Collection hotels, either contained in a manual or in unwritten understandings. Indeed, no two of its iconic hotels have the same sheets on their beds.
This difference from other hotel companies is reflected in its organizational structure. Whereas most hotel groups have a corporate structure that mimics the function of their hotels – heads of rooms, food and beverage, and operations, with each function reporting up, in military fashion, to the top – Dorchester Collection focuses on the totality of the guest experience.
To this end, Dorchester Collection has partnered with RicheyTX, a San Francisco-based technology company that has developed Metis, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform that allows it to break free of the traditional and standardized tools and metrics used to measure performance in the hospitality industry (mystery shoppers, customer satisfaction surveys, etc) that have not evolved substantially in decades and can lead to commoditization. Metis, by contrast, enables Dorchester Collection to distill the “Wisdom of Crowds” by tapping directly into digital customer feedback. No other hotel company employs AI in such a unique way to provide such a competitive advantage.
According to Dorchester Collection’s director for global guest experience and innovation, Ana Brant: “Our greatest challenge is to gain new insights about our guests by connecting the dots between different feedback channels, and thereby make decisions based on what they are saying they need and want. This is how we will advance the meaning of luxury in the modern era.”
Dorchester Collection has taken a non-traditional approach but its strategic choices have been validated repeatedly by its guests, and by illustrious organizations such as Forbes Travel Guide, which will be announcing its awards in February.
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