4 Lessons Your Hotel Should Learn from Zappos

Tony Hsieh Zappos

Delivering Happiness, the book from Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh, was in my bookshelf for a long time. That day, I decided to finally read it with no expectations. After I started reading, I realized I should be reading it way sooner. The book is indeed inspiring and I found several Zappos’ ways of doing business to be applicable (or, maybe, inevitable) for hotel industry. Because delivering happiness to guests should become No. 1 priority of each hotel!


Deliver WOW to your guests

In Tony’s book, a thing called “The random act of WOWness” is described. In general, it means that you should not be affraid of doing unconventional things for your customers. You should be able to provide your guests with things they don’t expect. And it doesn’t have to mean it needs to be expensive. Sometimes you just have to switch your mindset a little to do big things.

Let me use the example from Zappos itself. If there is a client who wants to buy a pair of shoes on their website but shoes are neither available in her size or the company doesn’t ship to her country, Zappos’ employees google possible stores (yes, their competitors!) where the shoes might be available for the client. It doesn’t require much effort, however, the customers are definitely positively surprised.

By delivering WOW to your guests, you will improve your hotel’s rating and word-of-mouth because unexpected things are things people talk (and want to talk) about!


Embrace and Drive Change

In business, staying at the same place is actually step backwards. Being affraid of moving from status quo might be killing your business. Building a culture that embraces the change might be a tough task as people are affraid of change by nature. Don’t be affraid of adjusting your hotel based on new guests’ trends, or to implement new hotel technology.

By evolving based on your internal or guests’ needs, you will be able to differentiate yourself, become more effective, become the best choice for your guests, and at the end of the day, you will stay competitive on the market.


Build a family spirit in your team

It is a public secret that hotel industry itself is among industries with the highest employee turnover. By switching your employees very often, you increase your hiring and training cost, and it also takes time for employee to become 100% productive in a new job.

Tony recommends to build warm and friendly environment inside your hotel. People spend 1/3 of their time at work, so make it a place your team actually enjoy coming. It has been proven that working relationships directly affect the performance of employees. As people are your most valuable asset, don’t loose them because of unpleasant working environment.

Moreover, even your employees can bring additional potential employees to your hotel by sharing their experience. In other words, they can make your hotel to be the place where everybody wants to get a job in.


Be passionate and determined

Having optimistic and positive attitude about doing things is contagious – says Tony. Passion is what moves the company forward. When your guests will see people who passionataly do their jobs, they will be amazed, too.

Another advice – don’t judge any new ideas and consider them to be wrong until they are proven wrong. Refusing the ideas coming from passionate people with no serious reason might destroy their passion. Don’t forget, passion is contagious, so is the anger. Instead of infecting your employees with anger, try to infect them with passion!


There are definitely more things you can learn from Zappos. If I catch your interest with this post, you can find way more in Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness. And if you will share how your transformed your hotel, I will be glad.


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Marketing Specialist and PhD. candidate
Lukáš takes care of questions connected to modern marketing, analytics and optimization of processes.

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