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Exceptional Moments Make the Experience Memorable (EMEM): Insights from BARE’s Hospitality Team, Post-COVID Scenarios

Rounding up the team for an annual meeting resulted all of us staying in a nearby large branded hotel, no room sharing or AirBNBs possible. The team ranged from High to Low Risk, all non-symptomatic, which resulted in guests with a range of expectations.

We wondered: how often do exceptional moments occur to make the experience memorable even when face coverings and barriers were in place?

We polled the team about their experience upon departure, all having stayed across the same time frame with same associates on staff. There were no occurrences that was not handled appropriately. Many used accentuated gestures and smiling eyes to communicate pleasantly behind their face coverings. Overall, there was a feeling that business was appreciated even though plexiglass barriers and six-foot distances were in place.

We discovered that 50% of our team reported occurrences outside of the ordinary, all related to the associates going beyond their duties to connect in a personalized way:

Just great service

My coworker left my briefcase at the front desk of the hotel after the dinner since I was not returning right away. When I arrived to pick it up, the hotel associate informed me my briefcase was removed for the safety of all by the hygiene officer.

The associate read my claim check number from the photo provided and quickly donned protective gear to retrieve my bag. The associate asked if there was anything additional needed or if I’d like something from the snack area, behind the desk. When told they didn’t really need anything and didn’t have a credit card to pay touchless. She handed me a snack and added, “It’s okay, have this on us! I’m sure it’s been a long day for all of you.” EMEM!

Her offer and acknowledgement of the work day made me feel like she was truly paying attention to her customers and thinking about what she could do to make their stay more pleasant.

Service Recovery

We arrived at the hotel after dinner out, and my coworker and I ordered dessert via our mobile phone. While attempting to order two pre-sealed packaged brownies, we received a message there was only had one left. The last brownie went to my coworker in a take-away sealed bag.

I selected an alternate, non-chocolate dessert but added a message I had a chocolate craving. The server added a sealed container of chocolate ice cream to my bag, free of charge. EMEM!

The server made me feel like our business and satisfaction was her top priority. She went out of her way to make a negative experience a positive.

The simple things matter

When returning to the hotel on early evening, there was an employee in the lobby area busily cleaning and polishing. He spoke to my coworker and I as soon as we entered, greeting us with a friendly hello and making ‘small talk’ while we waited on the elevator for our turn, maintaining social distancing as indicated.

My coworker left me at the elevator where I waited and rode up alone. When it arrived, the employee escorted me to the elevator, staying a safe distance, asked my floor number and pushed it for me with a gloved hand while wishing me a cheery “good night!” EMEM!

The associate provided a personal interaction where none was really needed, and his friendliness left me with a smile on my covered face as I went up to my room.

The over and above

I called Room Service to order dinner and, since the room didn’t have any water, also asked for two bottles. I wasn’t aware at the time that it would be charged $5 each! 30 minutes later, the associate knocked on the door and handed me the bag of food and drinks. I could tell he had a big smile beneath his mask.

I reviewed the bill on my phone and remarked that I couldn’t believe water bottles were not provided free. He said one bottle was but, yes, it was chargeable beyond the first bottle. From my body language, he realized I wasn’t pleased, and he offered to get me another bottle complementary, stating he would return in 5 minutes.

A few minutes later, not only did he return with four bottles, he also brought me two cans of Pepsi, all complementary. EMEM!

As he prepared to leave, he added that during my stay, if I needed anything at all, I should send a text message for him and he would be at my service.


These exceptional moments that made the experience memorable cost nothing in half the situations, yet will reap repeat and referral business, positively impacting revenue.

Personalization, even across times where social distancing makes it challenging, is still the key to guest satisfaction, engagement, and strong brand performance.

Ensure your teams create EMEM whenever and wherever possible for your guests, by doing the right thing.


Linda Amraen, Global Director of Client Services, Hospitality – BARE International

+1 (703) 995 3105 • LAmraen@bareinternational.com

Read more insights from BARE’s Hospitality Team on pre-COVID scenarios here!