Best Western® Hotels and Resorts has been awarded a silver award from the Brandon Hall Group for a ground-breaking customer service training program called I Care®, Every Guest Every Time. A key feature of this innovative program includes a live hospitality virtual reality (“VR”) simulator that enables front desk, housekeeping, maintenance, and breakfast staff to practice and develop their interpersonal and guest communication skills in realistic, lifelike scenarios.
Since the launch of the training, the program has proven to be a valuable resource and a key driver in moving the brand forward. Training has been successfully implemented at all 2,100 Best Western North American hotels, totaling more than 20,000 participants, and the results of the program have been staggering. Hotels that received the training experienced the largest short-term gains in Medallia customer satisfaction ratings that Best Western has ever tracked. Gains were strongest for problem resolution, the main focus of the simulation-based training.
“Through initiatives such as I Care® Every Guest Every Time, we are using cutting edge technology to take customer care to the next level,” said Ron Pohl, Senior Vice President of Brand Management for Best Western Hotels & Resorts. “We are thrilled that this incredible program has been recognized with such a prestigious award from the Brandon Hall Group. As a brand, we will continue to ask ourselves how we can use the latest technology to meet the needs to today’s consumer and anticipate the needs of tomorrow’s consumer.”
To help Best Western Hotels & Resorts reach its vision to “lead the industry in superior customer care,” Best Western partnered with Mursion®, a San Francisco-based start-up that is reinventing the way professionals master their craft. Mursion® worked shoulder-to-shoulder with Best Western’s learning and development team to embed VR simulations into the site-based training program, including customized scenarios that match the most common challenges facing Best Western sites.
Mursion CEO Mark Atkinson, a pioneer of new technologies to support learning, and an Emmy-award winning documentary television producer, echoed his excitement about the success of the program: “Mursion is thrilled to join with Best Western to deliver this cutting-edge training program, and we are even more excited about results it is producing. Just 60 minutes in our simulator at each site is driving customer satisfaction gains at the sites that you’d expect from days of training delivered in more traditional methods. Best Western’s trail-blazing approach to customer service training will soon be the new norm for how the hospitality industry builds these essential skills.”
Best Western will receive this award at Brandon Hall’s Human Capital Excellence Conference in Palm Beach, Florida in January. As the first company to leverage VR to improve customer service, Best Western is taking bold steps to lead the industry in the use of this technology. Apart from the I Care® Every Guest Every Time program, Best Western has also launched the Best Western Virtual Reality Experience (BWVRE). Through the BWVRE, guests are now able to view a virtual reality tour of nearly 2,000 properties. These videos are reinventing how guests view hotels and choose where to stay. Best Western is the first major company of its size and scale to utilize this cutting-edge technology in this way, setting a new industry standard for how virtual reality can be used to enhance the consumer journey.