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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Boutique Hotels Guest Experience Program

Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Service Design to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, KPIs, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. We followed this management consulting approach for this case study.

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Consider this scenario: A boutique hotel chain is struggling to differentiate its guest experience in the highly competitive hospitality industry.

Despite a loyal customer base and high-quality offerings, the company has not been able to capitalize on its unique properties to drive consistent growth. The organization is looking to redesign its service delivery to create a more personalized and memorable experience for its guests, thereby increasing customer loyalty and market share.

Initial impressions suggest that the hotel chain may be facing issues with its current Service Design due to a lack of personalized guest interactions and an outdated approach to service delivery. Another hypothesis is that there might be an inconsistency in service quality across different properties, leading to a disjointed brand experience. Lastly, the use of technology in enhancing guest experiences may not be fully optimized, which could be affecting overall customer satisfaction.

Strategic Analysis and Execution

The transformation of Service Design can be effectively structured through a 5-phase consulting methodology that ensures thorough analysis and systematic implementation. This process aligns with industry best practices and provides a framework for sustainable improvement in service excellence.

  1. Assessment of Current Service Delivery: We begin by evaluating the existing Service Design to identify gaps and areas for improvement. Key questions include: How does the current service delivery align with guest expectations? What are the pain points in the guest journey? This phase involves stakeholder interviews, guest feedback analysis, and service blueprinting.
  2. Customer Journey Mapping: The second phase focuses on understanding the end-to-end guest experience. Key activities include mapping out each touchpoint, analyzing guest interactions, and identifying moments that matter. This helps in gaining insights into guest expectations and behaviors.
  3. Service Concept Development: Based on insights from the previous phases, we develop new service concepts. This involves ideating and prototyping potential solutions, and testing them for feasibility and impact on guest experience. Common challenges include balancing innovation with practicality and aligning new concepts with brand values.
  4. Implementation Planning: Here, we create a detailed roadmap for rolling out the new Service Design. Key analyses include resource allocation, technology requirements, and change management strategies. Interim deliverables might include a project plan and communication strategy.
  5. Monitoring and Continuous Improvement: The final phase involves establishing KPIs to measure the success of the new Service Design and creating a feedback loop for continuous improvement. This ensures that the service remains relevant and exceeds guest expectations over time.

Learn more about Change Management Continuous Improvement Service Design

For effective implementation, take a look at these Service Design best practices:

Design Thinking (225-slide PowerPoint deck and supporting PDF)
Design Thinking - Poster (printable in A0, A1, A2) (1-page PDF document and supporting ZIP)
Design Thinking Frameworks Reference Guide (324-slide PowerPoint deck)
Design Thinking - Overview (46-slide PowerPoint deck)
Empathy Map - Poster (A0, A1, A2) (1-page PDF document)
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Implementation Challenges & Considerations

Leadership may wonder how this methodology can be tailored to their unique brand ethos while ensuring scalability across multiple locations. It's critical to customize the service concepts to reflect the brand's unique value proposition, ensuring that each guest's experience feels personal and authentic. The process is designed to be flexible, allowing for localization while maintaining a cohesive brand narrative.

The anticipated business outcomes include increased guest loyalty, higher occupancy rates, and improved online ratings. These outcomes are expected to contribute to a 10-15% increase in repeat guest visits and a 5-8% rise in average daily rates.

Implementation challenges may include resistance to change from staff and difficulty in integrating new technologies. To mitigate these challenges, a comprehensive change management plan and training programs are essential.

Learn more about Value Proposition

Implementation KPIs

KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.

What you measure is what you get. Senior executives understand that their organization's measurement system strongly affects the behavior of managers and employees.
     – Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton (creators of the Balanced Scorecard)

  • Average Daily Rate (ADR): Measures the average price paid per room, indicating the value guests attribute to the service.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): Assesses guest loyalty and satisfaction with the service experience.
  • Occupancy Rate: Indicates the utilization of the hotel's capacity, reflecting the market demand for the service.

For more KPIs, take a look at the Flevy KPI Library, one of the most comprehensive databases of KPIs available. Having a centralized library of KPIs saves you significant time and effort in researching and developing metrics, allowing you to focus more on analysis, implementation of strategies, and other more value-added activities.

Learn more about Flevy KPI Library KPI Management Performance Management Balanced Scorecard

Service Design Best Practices

To improve the effectiveness of implementation, we can leverage best practice documents in Service Design. These resources below were developed by management consulting firms and Service Design subject matter experts.

Key Takeaways

Adopting a data-driven approach to Service Design is imperative. According to McKinsey, companies that leverage customer behavioral insights outperform peers by 85% in sales growth and more than 25% in gross margin. Guest data should inform service improvements and personalization efforts.

Integration of technology in Service Design can significantly enhance the guest experience. Forrester reports that 72% of businesses say improving customer experience is their top priority. Technologies such as mobile check-in and personalized room control systems can differentiate service offerings.

Employee training and engagement are integral to successful Service Design. Bain & Company finds that engaged employees are 44% more productive than satisfied staff. Service staff should be empowered to deliver exceptional service that aligns with the brand promise.

Learn more about Customer Experience


  • Service Design Framework (PowerPoint)
  • Customer Journey Map (PDF)
  • Implementation Roadmap (Excel)
  • Employee Training Manual (Word)
  • Service Innovation Playbook (PDF)

Explore more Service Design deliverables

Case Studies

A leading luxury hotel chain implemented a guest-centric Service Design initiative that resulted in a 20% increase in guest satisfaction scores and a 15% increase in return visits. The initiative focused on personalizing the guest experience through targeted services and amenities.

An international hotel brand leveraged technology to streamline its service delivery, introducing a mobile app that allowed guests to customize their stay preferences. This led to a 30% uptick in positive online reviews and a 10% growth in direct bookings.

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Additional Resources Relevant to Service Design

Here are additional best practices relevant to Service Design from the Flevy Marketplace.

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Increased repeat guest visits by 12% through the redesign of service delivery to enhance personalization.
  • Improved average daily rates (ADR) by 6% by elevating the guest experience and perceived value.
  • Boosted Net Promoter Score (NPS) by 20 points, indicating higher guest loyalty and satisfaction.
  • Raised occupancy rates by 8%, reflecting higher market demand for the personalized service experience.
  • Enhanced online ratings by 15% following the integration of technology in service delivery.
  • Reported a 25% increase in employee productivity post-implementation of the employee training and engagement program.

The initiative to redesign the service delivery for a boutique hotel chain has been markedly successful, as evidenced by the significant improvements across key performance indicators such as repeat guest visits, average daily rates, net promoter score, occupancy rates, and online ratings. The increase in employee productivity further underscores the effectiveness of the employee training and engagement program. These results are a testament to the well-structured 5-phase consulting methodology that was employed, which ensured a thorough analysis and systematic implementation of the new Service Design. The integration of technology and the focus on personalizing the guest experience have clearly differentiated the hotel chain in a competitive market. However, the process was not without its challenges, particularly in terms of staff resistance and technology integration. Alternative strategies, such as more intensive change management efforts or phased technology rollouts, might have mitigated some of these challenges and potentially enhanced outcomes further.

Based on the success of the initiative and the insights gained, the recommended next steps include scaling the new Service Design across more properties to capitalize on the positive momentum. Additionally, continuous monitoring of KPIs and guest feedback should be maintained to ensure the service remains relevant and exceeds expectations. Further investment in technology that enhances guest personalization and experience should be considered, alongside ongoing staff training programs to sustain high levels of employee engagement and productivity. These steps will ensure the hotel chain continues to build on its competitive advantage and achieve sustainable growth.

Source: Boutique Hotels Guest Experience Program, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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