Award-winning hotels can be found in all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s a boutique bed and breakfast, a luxurious resort, independently owned, or part of a chain, each has a different story to tell. Many properties have made a name for themselves over the generations, while others seem to pop up and attract guests with ultra-modern offerings. But there is one thing that ultimately unites these award-winning hotels despite their many differences: providing an exceptional guest experience.

To become a service-minded award-winner yourself, what better way to begin than by learning from the best? To help you, we interviewed two trivago Awards 2017 winners to talk about how they conceptualize and deliver exceptional services for their guests—each and every day.

We also encourage you to visit the websites of these particular award-winners. There you can check out the guest experience from the moment a traveler looks to the minute they book—and up until they leave a review online. When you do, you’ll discover new ways in which your hotel can truly delight guests with a unique experience, and maybe even become one of next year’s trivago Awards winners.

The Black Dolphin Inn Talks Guest Experience 

The Black Dolphin Inn talks about guest experience

The Black Dolphin Inn located in New Smyrna Beach, FL, is a family-owned business run by a team of polished hospitality service professionals. When it comes to providing the best care and comfort for guests, they pride themselves not only on their wealth of experience, but also on their passion. What’s more, the guest experience at this historic inn is not just a series of interactions with employees—it’s truly a family affair.

Brett Smith is general manager of the Black Dolphin Inn, and his son Taylor is assistant general manager. Brett’s wife, Sheila, is the property’s innkeeper, and their daughter MacKenzie runs the kitchen as executive chef. It’s safe to say that the Smiths live and breathe hospitality, and the Black Dolphin Inn’s trivago Award 2017 is testament to that.

We met with Brett Smith to learn more about what an exceptional guest experience means to him and his family. With almost four decades of experience in the hospitality industry, credentials as a Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA), and a natural ability to connect with people, he had some valuable insight to share:

“Our goal is to achieve a remarkable level of intuitive service in a refined but relaxed ambiance, where our guests feel more like “house” guests than paying guests. We are passionate about paying attention to the details, offering much more than ever imagined with absolutely no compromise in quality, and a razor-sharp focus on the continuous enhancement of guest service. If we give our guests exceptional service it will translate into our guests giving us increased sales, market share, profit, and growth.

In conceptualizing our vision for the delivery of exceptional service to our guests, we were seeking to find the “sweet” spot between intelligent design and special touches that are so memorable, they create a compelling reason for guests to return. Our open-air exhibition kitchen, dockside webcam with live streaming of our native bottlenose dolphins to our guest rooms, and an array of “lifestyle” packages that enable our guests to interact with our nautical surroundings, present the perfect platform in which to connect with our guests.

It is of paramount importance that they thoroughly enjoy their stay and identify with certain visual, sensory, and interactive engagements with our staff that cause our guests to have a special touch or defining moment that is unforgettable, and which serves as a catalyst for them to return. Inevitably, we are looking to create moments that our guests can relive, and just as important, share with others through the unique storytelling of their experience at the Black Dolphin Inn.”  

The China Clipper Inn’s Approach to Guest Experience 

Guest Experience of the The China Clipper Inn, in Ouray, CO, USA.

The China Clipper Inn – Bed and Breakfast, located in Ouray, CO, has built a reputation by consistently exceeding guest expectations. You don’t have to look further than the property’s online reviews to see that innkeepers Pam and Jeremy understand what makes an exceptional experience for their guests. With an eye for detail, hard work, and an appreciation of each guest’s unique needs, they have perfected the harmony between a welcoming bed-and-breakfast atmosphere and the luxuries of a top-rate hotel stay.

We caught up with owners Hans and Ingrid Vander Ploeg after their recent trivago Awards 2017 win to learn more about how they define and deliver an exceptional guest experience. They see the recipe for their success as a combination of hard work, smart positioning, and a skilled and knowledgeable staff. Here’s what the Vander Ploegs had to say:

“We, as team of the China Clipper Inn – Bed and Breakfast, feel honored to receive this award. We strive every day for excellent service for our guests from the moment they walk through our doors until the moment we say goodbye. We do believe, though, that the beauty of the town of Ouray plays an important role in our guests’ experience.

Ouray is a jaw-dropping mountain town with spectacular 360-degree views. It’s been named ‘The recreation capital of Colorado’ and we live up to it. Our staff at the China Clipper Inn is very knowledgeable about all activities in the area, and this helps to enhance a vacation experience even more. We top this off with a comfortable clean room and a delicious, home-cooked breakfast every morning. We make all our guests feel right at homewithout overdoing it.”


trivago Hotel Manager Blog

A dedicated group of industry researchers and journalists make up the team behind trivago’s blog for hoteliers. Covering key topics in the hospitality industry, they publish articles on hotel technology and marketing, trends, events, and expert insights to help keep hoteliers up to speed and equipped with the knowledge they need to compete online.

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