In celebration of the season, Best Western Great Britain is sharing a new idea for a summer expedition every day on its blog. Suggestions include taking in a sheep race in Moffat (between Carlisle and Glasgow), sampling some 4,000 cheeses at the International Cheese Awards in Nantwich (the largest cheese event in the UK), and catching the first few stages of the Tour de France in Yorkshire (who knew the Tour started in Northern England?).

It’s all part of its “hotels with personality” campaign, which aims to celebrate the unique story behind each of the brand’s 276 properties in the UK. In addition to rebranding around this vision, Best Western had to improve its customer experience to live up to its brand promise. But getting support from independent hotel owners and operators to fund its ambitious customer experience strategy wasn’t easy. To win support, the brand had to:

  • Gradually build credibility. Instead of winning support for the entire strategy at once, Best Western tackled some easy changes first, including redesigning its website and improving its internal communications to make them consistent with the new "hotels with personality" vision. Best Western also ran a TV ad campaign featuring hotel employees highlighting the individuality of each hotel. The result was that its hotel owners and employees felt a renewed sense of pride in Best Western as a brand, not just a logo, and confidence in the customer experience strategy. It certainly didn't hurt that the TV campaign drove a year-on-year sales increase of 30% — the highest increase in Best Western Great Britain's history.
  • Pilot the experience. Best Western devised a pilot scheme to develop and test the intended customer experience before rolling it out to all Best Western properties in Great Britain. First, it partnered with customer experience consultancy Smith+Co to conduct research and customer journey mapping to identify the drivers of customer satisfaction and advocacy. It used this research to inform the intended customer experience at key areas in the journey. Then it held workshops and employee training at six pilot hotels, which were selected to include a mix of customer experience quality and owner buy-in — to prove that the strategy could work at all hotels.
  • Tie the strategy to business results. Using customer research, customer stay data, results of internal customer experience surveys, and TripAdvisor ratings, Best Western and Smith+Co modeled the relationship between areas of the customer journey and Net Promoter Score (NPS). It then calculated the impact of improving NPS on hotel market share and profit to point to tangible financial results from the planned customer experience initiatives.

To learn more about Best Western Great Britain’s customer experience story, check out the full report. And to learn how you can make a compelling business case to support your customer experience strategy, please take a look at my new report, "How To Make The Case For Customer Experience."