Creating an Unforgettable Guest Experience

Creating an Unforgettable Guest Experience

Published on Mar 6th 2024

We spoke with Liz Robinson from Heritage Hotels & Resorts in New Mexico.

She oversees the guest experience for a portfolio of 12 hotels, from limited-service boutiques to full-service luxury and several group properties. Learn what it takes to make guests feel personally welcomed and appreciated in this fascinating interview.

BT: Could you share insights into your professional background and experience?

LR: Traditionally, my background is in Sales, Marketing & Branding. I first got into the world of hospitality as an Event Manager with one of our larger group properties and have continued to work in Operational, Corporate, and General Manager capacities for well over a decade.

BT: As the Corporate Director of Branding and Guest Experience, could you elaborate on the key aspects of your role?

LR: The depth of my background allows me to speak “many languages” in our industry and because of that, I’m able to build programs and standards for our teams while being mindful of each and every guest touchpoint. What I do sets the stage for ensuring that each interaction with our brand is thoughtful, intentional, and will resonate. It runs the gamut and I love it – From vetting the actual product that goes into our guest rooms, curating the music selections in each outlet to working with our designers and operations teams to craft the feeling of and ensure the execution of those specific experiences, it all has to be in line with our brand’s strategy and long-term goals. My position is the through-line of the multitude of conversations that take place at this level – all to serve our guests and communities in the most impactful ways.

BT: How many hotels fall under the purview of your corporate umbrella?

LR: Twelve, our portfolio spans the service ranges of limited-service boutiques to full-service luxury and several group properties.

BT: In your capacity as a corporate hotel entity, could you shed light on your approach to branding and marketing while ensuring the distinctiveness of each property? Alternatively, is there a standardized strategy applied across all hotels? From planning to opening day, what does the process of opening a hotel look like?

LR: A little bit of both. Our brand’s ultimate mission is to preserve and advance the culture of New Mexico and showcase some of the state’s most significant stories through our hotels. Each property has its narrative that represents a piece of New Mexico’s rich history so we focus on offering an experience that showcases that narrative at its finest. So, each hotel’s architecture, design, programming, and guest experience are distinct in that way. We do, however, standardize our approach in terms of service level, training, quality of design, and product choice – those aspects of the guest experience should be equally as thoughtful and intentional no matter the hotel’s size or classification.

BT: What measures do you employ to elevate and enhance the guest experience, and why is this aspect considered paramount?

LR: Many, just as I mentioned above. Outside of that, however, we continually stress to our teams (both in the field and corporate capacity) that relationships, and face-to-face, very “human” interactions will always be a cornerstone of our brand and the way we serve our guests. For example, we’ll never replace our Front Desk teams with kiosks and a fully automated check-in system where you bypass any sort of human being upon arrival. While programs like that have their place in providing efficiency, Guests still value human interaction and genuine service just as much as do we.

BT: Could you elaborate on the strategies employed to create memorable guest experiences?

LR: When making guest experience decisions, we continually ask ourselves questions like: does it look right, does it feel right, does it support the brand’s purpose, does it support the narrative, does it support our guest’s expectations, does it meet our guests needs, how does it function for the teams on an execution level? By doing so, we have a consistent guide for ensuring whatever decision we’re making, whether it’s operational, guest-facing, at the brand level, etc. is as impactful as possible.

BT: In what ways does Boca Terry contribute to your branding and guest experience initiatives for your properties? Additionally, how do the hotels incorporate elements such as embroidery and personalization into these efforts? Which Boca Terry products are your personal favorites and why?

LR: Boca Terry’s approach is very similar to ours – customization and the ability to tailor programs for our guests and teams are great, but never compromising on quality and valuing relationships while doing so is key!

BT: . Where do you see the hospitality industry going in 2024 in terms of customization /personalization? Would you recommend Boca Terry products to other hotels?

LR: It’s not slowing down. Our world has become almost completely customizable, where, and how someone chooses to travel is no different so the way we craft guest experiences shouldn’t be either. 

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