NH Hotel Group provides an excellent service along with an innovative offer, and invites its customers to participate and get involved in ethical, social and environmental commitments. In its commitment to sustainability, NH Hotel Group seeks to include and involve customers in its Sustainable Business initiatives, whether by generating opportunities for social contribution or by promoting environmentally responsible behaviour.
In the 2017-2019 Strategy, NH Hotel Group has identified the need to bet on the intrinsic value of each of its brands. It therefore seeks to pursue maximum efficiency in media investments and an improvement in the customer experience with the development of Guest Intelligence analysis tools, identifying the “moments of truth” and providing support to an experience undergoing continuous redesign and implementation, as well as monitoring its acceptance. In recent years, as a result of the Company’s new business strategy, the quality bases that characterize NH Hotel Group have been laid down.
Principal initiatives in 2019:
Following its presentation in Spain in the NH Collection Madrid Eurobuilding, Germany took over with new rooms under the Mood Room™ concept.
In April 2019 the Company presented the Mood Rooms™ at the NH Collection Berlin Mitte (Germany). This concept has been designed around three main parameters: personalizing the guest’s experiences, connected technology and sustainability. Using a tablet, guests can regulate the lighting, music and temperature of the room and adapt them to their personal wishes. Specifically, guests can choose from six main ambiences and 19 moods, to enjoy an unparalleled technological experience.
City Connection is a new service that allows guests to enjoy the city without limits. Under the claim “Stay in one hotel, enjoy them all”, NH Hotel Group presented City Connection in November 2019, a selection of services that guests can enjoy in any NH Hotels, NH Collection, nhow, Tivoli or Avani property in the city they are visiting, regardless of the hotel they are staying in and throughout the duration of their stay.
City Connection, available in a total of 129 hotels in cities in Europe and Latin America, is a pioneering service that offers an extra to guests, who can now take a break or use other NH hotels and their services and take advantage of their excellent locations across the city. In this way, when guests check in, they receive a passport that explains which Company hotels have this service, where they are and until when they can use the service.
Notable services included in the City Connection initiative are the use of public areas such as lobbies, leaving luggage at the hotel that is most convenient for them, using the Business Corner or enjoying a 10% discount in any bar or restaurant of the Group.
Other notable experiences:
The main purpose of this initiative is to offer guests the possibility of quick and convenient services such as Online Check-in and Online Check-out. The added value has been the inclusion of the “Choose your Room” option within the Online Check-in, which gives guests the option of choosing their room, exploring the hotel’s architectonic plan.
User generated content in Digital Signage:
An innovative project that seeks to enhance Digital Signage in the Group’s hotels with content generated by guests. This initiative is based on the images that guests share on Instagram, so our customers will feel more closely identified with the content we show, as they are non-professional photos taken by other users. This project will also provide dynamic and interactive content for the hotels’ screens, continuously updated and highlighted by each brand territory.
The way that new generations travel and their needs have changed. The current trend is to create socializing, dynamic and multifunctional spaces that offer visitors an added experiential value. Accordingly, NH Hotel Group has started to implement its Lobbies Alive concept, a coherent and harmonious proposal that transforms the lobby from a place you pass through to the place to be, with different areas: a quiet area with a fireplace in which to read, a leisure area, a work area equipped with a business corner, a computer and a printer; and an F&B area which opens onto the entire lobby so that you can enjoy a refreshment in any area and at any time.
In 2019 the project was implemented in the NH Collection Milano Touring (Italy) and throughout 2020 it will gradually be introduced in other hotels such as the NH Dusseldorf City (Germany) and NH Buenos Aires 9 de Julio (Argentina), with the intention of making the lobbies of these hotels locations of reference in their cities.
NH Hotel Group is committed to offering high quality gastronomy and the latest trends in the sector, and therefore the Company is constantly in the process of innovating and developing exclusive gastronomic concepts and standards. Furthermore, processes that combine local and global values are implemented with the aim of enhancing the services offered to customers. Some of these processes, which have been consolidated throughout the Company in 2019, are:
- M&E Tempting breaks, including the Healthy Corner and Sweets Corner
- Minibar, with new contents to raise quality.
- Breakfast Juice Corner, with healthy shakes and freshly squeezed juice upon request.
- Memorable Element, which offers a surprise smoothie every day.
- Regional Corner in breakfasts, which offers special local products.
- Welcome Corner, offering a fresh and healthy welcome to guests arriving at the hotel
In 2019 NH Hotel Group has continued to renew the breakfast service, the Company’s best-known service, enhancing its values of a warm welcome and the use of local products. Breakfasts include a great variety of products and a wide assortment that combines local and global values, offering more than 110 different products every day. Aware of the importance of healthy and sustainable food, the Company includes gluten-free, organic, low-sugar, low saturated and trans-fat products.
NH Hotel Group has an exceptional cuisine offered by chefs recognized with a total of 9 Michelin stars:
- Dabiz Muñoz, 3 Michelin stars with DiverXO at NH Collection Eurobuilding
- Paco Roncero, 2 Michelin stars with La Terraza del Casino
- Chris Naylor, 1 Michelin star with Vermeer at NH Collection Barbizon Palace
- Randy Karman, 1 Michelin star, with White Room at NH Collection Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky
- Miguel Barrera, (1 Michelin star) consulting chef at Re Levante, NH Mindoro
- Marcos Morán (1 Michelin star) consulting chef at Hispania Brussels, NH Collection Grand Sablon
Furthermore, the Company has also designed and implemented its own gastronomical projects during 2019, such as Tablafina at NH Malaga and in NH Plaza de Armas in Seville (which, like the one in NH Madrid’s National University, bases its gastronomic proposal on the quality product of the Denomination of Origin and local produce, combined with classics of Spanish cuisine); Bottles & Jars in NH Collection Barbizon Palace in Amsterdam with a unique concept and offer designed by our chef Chris Naylor, the new Vane concept has also been incorporated into the NH Collection Eindhoven Center as High level gastronomic restaurant run by chef Casimir Evens that includes a Sky bar and lounge.
At NH Collection Madrid Colón, Bar Colón has been opened with a gastrobar concept innovative; Sonata 32 (a space created by Lorenzo Castillo, fresh and Mediterranean, with the chef Carlos Monsonís is at the forefront of offering an incredible local cuisine with fresh products all year round) and Caraacara by Diego Cabrera (a selection of drinks and cocktails designed by the well-known mixologist) in NH Collection Valencia Colón.
Quality Management System
With the implementation of different projects in 2019 and thanks to the Company’s Integral Quality Management system, perceived quality ratings among NH Hotel Group customers have increased slightly, maintaining a positive trend year after year. The number of evaluations recorded has also increased.
In addition, in 2019 NH Hotel Group has continued to rely on the role of “Quality Influencers”, to boost our network as quality ambassadors for NH Hotel Group, who provide support to the Quality Directors in the different Business Units, with the aim of improving the quality of service and satisfying customers’ expectations.
Evolution of Quality measurement tools in 2019
An essential part of the customer experience continuous improvement process is monitoring perceived quality and the action plans that have been put in place. A significant example of a measurement tool is the Quality Focus Online that makes it possible to monitor customer reviews through internal and online channels.
Notable among the main improvements in the tool in 2019 is the creation of a new automatic response alert module, focused on negative opinions, which gives the hotel manager more ease and flexibility to respond to such comments, therefore increasing the service perceived by customers. The tool has also been translated into Portuguese due to the Company’s expansion in Portugal, in addition to a number of technical improvements and new features that improve the end user’s experience.
To maintain the Company’s high standards in relation to quality and customer satisfaction, the heads of quality of each Business Unit visit practically all the hotels, focusing first on those where areas for improvement have been identified in order to implement the necessary corrective actions. The main tool for carrying out quality control in the hotels is a smartphone app called Iristrace.
Furthermore, and with the aim of understanding its guests better every day, the Company has continued to use the services of Trust You, a semantic analysis tool that makes it possible to have greater visibility of what customers are saying about NH Hotel Group and which has helped to identify the main areas for improvement both in terms of service and product.
Single Customer Service Centre Tools
The Single Customer Service Centre provides support to hotels and to customers. It combines the areas of Customer Care, NH Rewards and the VIP Desk and has continued to consolidate its service in 2019, extending its capacity for response and improving the level of service.
SAP module: TMS4 Customer Care
This is a module that lets any interaction with customers be recorded from the time the complaint is received. Customers can manage their complaints through multiple channels: e-mail, telephone, website, hotels, social media…
The types of contact can be divided into comments or suggestions, complaints, congratulations, requests, claims or technical incidents.
Every week data is drawn from the satisfaction surveys received, identifying which will be managed by Customer Care.
Depending on the type of comment received, the type of response varies from direct interaction with the customer -by e-mail or telephone -, to a standard e-mail response for neutral comments.
In 2019 the Customer Care area has handled a total of 13,440 contacts coming from the Single Customer Service Centre (including congratulations, requests, suggestions, complaints…). This number represents an increase of approximately 12% in contacts handled by this area compared to 2018. It should be noted that the number of direct complaints in 2019 decreased by 24%, despite the increase in the total number of communications and the increase in requests for contact through the surveys. Complaints are handled by sending a letter of apology, response by the hotel or another department (for example, Legal); and, sometimes, compensation in the form of a discount voucher, free NH Rewards points, free room upgrade, etc.
The Customer Care area has also managed to reduce response time from 72 to 48 hours in 93% of the communications received in 2019. The target set and towards which the team’s work every day is for response time to be a maximum of 24 hours. This reduction, together with direct interaction by hotels, Managers, Guest Relations personnel and Heads of Reception through Quality Focus, has contributed to faster and more effective solutions. The Company continues in this way to focus on customers and their satisfaction.
In addition to the tools referred to above, the Company also has official complaints forms in accordance with ruling legislation in each country.
CONTACTS RECEIVED BY CUSTOMER CARE*
** The scope of these figures includes hotels under management as well as the consolidated perimeter, as many of the complaints received cannot be assigned to a hotel.
Complaints received by solution provided by NH HOTEL GROUP
* Technical incidents – solution provided by IT
Solution provided by type of hotel management
* Technical incidents – solution provided by IT
*** Includes comments on internal policies, reservations and other services that depend on HQ and not on any hotel.
Impacts on visibility and perception of Quality
The overall perception of the Company’s quality has increased by 0.1 pp compared to last year, with an overall score of 8.5 at the end of 2019 (overall score from online reviews). These results have driven the Company’s visibility forward, especially on Google, where the Company’s overall score has increased from 8.5 in 2018 to 8.7 in 2019.
As far as the NH brands are concerned, NH Collection continues to consolidate its success in terms of customer rating, quality perception and visibility. The hotels of this brand have also increased their score by one tenth, with a total score of 8.9* (average of internal NH questionnaires and online ratings).
Communication with Customers
Direct contact with customers is key in order to offer them personalized services and make their experience in NH better and better. In 2019, more than 120 million e-mails were sent to customers.
NH Rewards programme
NH Rewards has more than 9.5 million members and is one of the most complete loyalty programmes worldwide.
Through its four categories (Blue, Silver, Gold and Platinum), the Company’s programme recognizes and rewards the loyalty of recurring customers on each stay with benefits that range from earning points -equivalent to euros- that can be redeemed for free nights or extra services in the hotel with no date restrictions.
NH Rewards also offers flexibility by allowing payment using points and cash, special price conditions, exclusive privileges when reserving on the website as well as a range of differential services that enhance the experience in hotels of all NH Hotel Group’s brands.
NH Rewards is an important commercial tool, as its members contribute to more than a third of the Company’s total nights. The incentive of obtaining extra points stimulates booking through direct channels, to the extent that more than 70% of reservations on the NH website are made by NH Rewards members, whose spending and frequency of stays are also higher than guests who are not members of the loyalty programme.
The transparency, flexibility and generosity that define the NH Rewards value proposition led to it being the winner in 2019 of a Freddie Award, one of the most prestigious recognitions for loyalty programmes in the industry worldwide in which awardees are selected by a demanding community of frequent travellers.
NH Hotel Group seeks to include and engage its customers in its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, whether by generating opportunities to contribute socially or by promoting environmentally responsible behaviour.
An example of these inclusive actions is the NH Rewards programme’s UNICEF donation project, in which members donate their NH Rewards points to UNICEF.
In 2019 donations for UNICEF made through
the NH Rewards programme reached:
Agreement to donate stays to families of patients suffering from rare diseases
The Group agreed on the donation of hotel nights through its NH Rewards loyalty programme to families of patients with rare diseases when they are in hospital or receiving medical treatment in cities away from their home.
The initiative has been extended to various hotels of the Group in eleven Spanish cities, thanks to the initial collaboration agreement reached between NH Hotel Group and the Spanish Federation of Rare Diseases (FEDER).
NH Hotel Group agreed to donate 7,500 points (approximately 100 stays) of its NH Rewards loyalty programme to FEDER. These nights could be redeemed by those members designated by the Federation.
UN Climate Summit held in Madrid
In December 2019 the Climate Summit was held in Madrid, an indispensable event that is seen as the great annual opportunity to take effective measures against climate change.
NH Hotel Group is committed to the fight against climate change and during the days of the Summit, the Group conveyed to its customers in Madrid both environmental information and the actions carried out by the Company through a corporate video. The video was shown in all the hotels, communicating the Company’s commitment to this critical task, the importance of having a low-carbon economy and in achieving more energy-efficient models.
Special measures were also taken during the COP25 celebration to reduce the environmental impact. These measures included shared vehicle services, decorations using recycles materials, the promotion of local products and the encouragement of adequate waste separation, as well as the elimination of all plastics from the office.
Improvement in direct sales channels
The growth in business generated through the NH Hotel Group website since its relaunch continues. In 2019, looking at any region, channel, segment, brand or domain, none of them has shown growth of less than 20%, backed by the contribution in 2018 of the nhow brand (+30%) and the Latin America region (20%). Growth in the business to business segment is also notable, which has grown by 40%.
This growth has meant that, for yet another year, a record has been broken in terms of the website channel’s contribution to the revenues of NH Hotel Group, and there has even been an improvement in revenue per room.
Marketing of services in other channels
NH has helped to market its products through 20 sites and microsites, using more than 15 languages or language localizations.
This personalization, combined with the systematic application of techniques to improve conversion, with more than 350 experiments in 12 months, have enabled us to obtain double-figure improvements in web conversion.
NH Hotel Group app
La app de NH Hotel Group y su enfoque van más allá de ser una herramienta de servicio básico para los clientes.
The NH Hotel Group app and its approach go beyond being a basic service tool for customers.
In line with the Company’s innovative spirit, the mobile app is used as a key differential tool and as a laboratory, to then launch new concepts massively on multiple devices, such as the launch of the FASTPASS service described above.
Customer health and safety
NH Hotel Group maintains its commitment to guarantee food health and safety at global level, in each of its hotels and restaurants. Thus, the Company ensures that all food preparation and service procedures comply with international regulations on hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) for food and beverages.
For this purpose, the Company has an international agreement with an external company specializing in food health and safety (Diversey), which audits, verifies and guarantees compliance with such regulations, as well as the mandatory legal registrations, laboratory analysis of food, continuous training of personnel in relation to food health and safety, and specific hygiene manuals for each establishment. These processes are audited continuously in all NH Hotel Group restaurants and kitchens. Thus, all hotels undergo periodic food health controls conducted by Diversey and any failure by a supplier means, without going into criminal consequences, that the supplier in question must correct it or face automatic cancellation of the contract with NH Hotel Group.
In addition, the following measures are in place in other areas of the hotels to guarantee customer health and safety:
Customer health and safety measures
Prevention of legionnaires’ disease
In accordance with local legislation, cleaning, tests, analyses, etc. are performed.
Analysis of safety of domestic water supply for human consumption
Annual testing at different consumption and accumulation points of the hotel.
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Testing
Indoor Air Quality tests are carried out in some hotels.
Maintenance of elevators
All elevators undergo monthly maintenance and every two years they are subject to legal inspections by an authorized entity.
Maintenance of fire protection installations
Fire protection installations undergo quarterly maintenance, in addition to the periodic legal inspections carried out by an authorized entity.
Maintenance of boiler rooms and heating and air-conditioning installations
Boiler rooms and heating and air-conditioning installations undergo monthly maintenance.
Maintenance of high voltage installations
These installations undergo annual maintenance, in addition to the corresponding legal inspections carried out every three years by an authorized entity.
Mantenimiento de las instalaciones de alta tensión
These installations undergo annual maintenance, in addition to the corresponding legal inspections carried out every three years by an authorized entity.
Cleaning of kitchen hoods, ducts and extractor fan
Every year, all kitchen hoods, extractor ducts and fans are cleaned to prevent possible fires in the hotel kitchens.
Automatic fire extinguishing systems in kitchen
Automatic extinguishing systems have been installed in the hotel kitchens.
Contracts for disinfection, fumigation and pest and rodent control
Disinfection, fumigation and pest and rodent control procedures are carried out to avoid and prevent possible infections or infestations in the hotels.
Maintenance of automatic doors
The maintenance of automatic doors ensures that they will work in the event of evacuation to prevent injury and accidental entrapment.
Light curtains in elevator doors
Incorporation of light curtains in elevator doors to prevent knocks when entering elevators.
Hotels that are more and more accessible
As a result of NH Hotel Group’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and accessibility for its guests, there are 344 hotels distributed over all the Business Units that have elements adapted to special needs. NH Hotel Group continues to work towards making all the Company’s hotels accessible.
NH Hotel Group is also committed to the full integration of people with disabilities into the work market through responsible purchases from Special Employment Centres as suppliers of laundry services. The share that purchases from Special Employment Centres represented in 2019 was 9.68%*.
*Estimated with respect to the workforce in Spain, together with the Special Employment Centre employees comparable to NH Hotel Group purchases.