NH ROOM4 RESPONSIBLE
NH Hotel Group provides an excellent service offering an innovative range of services, 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.
FEEL SAFE AT NH
At NH Hotel Group we want our guests to continue enjoying our hotels and having unforgettable experiences, and we have therefore created Feel Safe At NH, a set of measures certified by safety experts, which have been implemented in all our hotels so that our guests, employees and suppliers can continue to enjoy all our destinations, with no worries.
To ensure the safety of guests and employees, the Company has put a number of different initiatives into place and has adapted almost 700 standards, completely redesigning the guest experience cycle.
Feel Safe at NH reviews the entire way our hotels operate and concentrates all the initiatives under 10 lines of action that respond to our guests’ needs in the new social reality caused by COVID-19. From the cleaning and disinfection processes for each space in the hotel, through new digital solutions, processes and protocols for food and beverage management, social distancing rules, to air and water purification control, the measures in the plan cover all aspects that allow hotels to be reopened with maximum guarantees for the safety of guests and employees.
Each of the Company’s establishments will have a designated health and safety officer in the new Feel Safe at NH operating process. This person will be responsible for leading the implementation of the plan, and for employee training and, finally, will be responsible for controlling ecological and responsible use of protection equipment.
As a Company strategy, NH Hotel Group has identified the need to believe in 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, detecting the “moments of truth” and providing support to an experience undergoing continuous redesign and implementation, as well as monitoring 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.
This year has been notable for the progress made in digitalisation, with the focus on improving both the efficiency of internal processes and the guest experience, as well as offering technological solutions to existing processes (which allow guests to reduce physical interactions with hotel personnel if they wish), while at the same time we contribute to the Company’s sustainability commitment.
Other notable experiences:
- FASTPASS: the main purpose of this initiative has been to offer guests the possibility of using three innovative services, namely Online Check-in, Choose Your Room and Online Check-out, that give guests all the control over their stay.
The added value has been the inclusion of the “Choose your Room” option, which gives guests the option of choosing their room by exploring the hotel’s architectonic plan, improving the guests’ experience.
The online check-in and online check-out features also allow us to digitalize both processes, reducing the use of paper and giving our guests the possibility of carrying out both interactions conveniently from their smartphone.
The roadmap for FASTPASS for 2022 rests on two major levers: on one hand, increasing the volume of use of this service and, therefore, continuing with the goal of reducing paper consumption (by incorporating reservations made through third parties, creating new channels so that guests can access these services …), and on the other hand, improving the user experience (by offering the possibility of upgrading their room, booking other services or adding new payment methods). In addition to this, in the future there are plans to integrate the digital key into the fast pass (which will let guests open the door to their room with their cellphone) and for this purpose the best mobile key solution for this development will be analyzed.
- Tablets in Reception: With the aim of continuing to be at the forefront of innovation and offer its guests the best services, NH Hotel Group presents Smart Tablet in Reception, a new proposal that reduces physical contact and waiting times at hotel reception, improving the
guest’s experience by digitalising all the phases of check-in and check-out processes. These processes have been redefined with a clear focus on improving these touchpoints, at both operational and experience level.
This project lets guests complete the check-in and check-out processes using a tablet connected to our PMS, which:
– Facilitates the review of their booking information, contact or billing information, without the need to print paper, and correcting any errors at the same time.
– Offers the possibility of updating the GDPR policy and NH Rewards on the tablet.
– Enables signing of the registration and police (if applicable) documents using this device (digital signature).
– Digitalises the check-in and check-out processes.
With Tablets in Reception, we achieve the following goals:
– Improving the guest experience.
– Paperless processes.
– Improving the quality of our CRM and improving NH Rewards capture.
– Digitalising the customer data storage process (GDPR/Police).
– Improving the efficiency of these processes.
A preliminary implementation of the project has been carried out in 2021 in order to detect and implement improvements in the process. After that, a rollout phase has been defined for 2022 which will allow us to advance in the consolidation of the defined goals, as well as continuing to improve the usability of the project. A pilot programme to give this feature mobility has also been planned, that will let the check-in and check-out processes be carried out in different parts of the hotel.
- Pet friendly: a complete experience for guests who travel with their pets. This new operational promise for pets offers our guests the certainty that travelling to an NH hotel with their pet is possible and convenient, which is especially relevant nowadays in light of the growing number of people who decide to travel with their pet. We offer a standardized pet policy all over the world, making our hotel chain pet friendly.
- Room Office: The Company offers the possibility of renting one of our spacious and comfortable rooms to use as an office. Offering a quiet space, with all the necessary equipment: office chair, WiFi, private bathroom, television, and the possibility of contracting additional services such as beverages, lunch or any other F&B service. This initiative also offers the usual hotel facilities for holding meetings or work sessions such as the meeting rooms.
- City Connection: an initiative that lets our guests access the lobbies of all our other hotels in the city and enjoy some of our services and public areas, giving an added value mainly to our leisure guests. The aim is to improve the travel experience when staying at NH, offering our guests the possibility of having convenient stopping places all over the city (to rest, use the Wi-Fi connection, have a drink, leave luggage …) and enjoying any service at any NH hotel in that city.
- PressReader: in the framework of the goals of reducing paper consumption and improving our guests’ experience, we have introduced PressReader, a digital platform that offers our guests unlimited access to national and international newspapers and magazines during their stay, replacing print media with a digital alternative.
Smart Spaces is NH Hotel Group’s new B2B proposal. Exclusive spaces to work and hold small business meetings in unique locations, mainly hotel lobbies and meeting rooms, with all the amenities and services of the Company’s medium and high-end category hotels.
Smart Spaces lets you work all day in a relaxed way in a safe and exclusive environment, organizing the meeting with an exclusive package of services, including unlimited Wi-Fi, cloakroom at reception, laser printer, 2 courtesy bottles of water and HD monitor with webcam.
This value proposal means guests can work conveniently from our hotels, reducing commutes, travel and expenses.
In the framework of this initiative, exploring in more depth the new work trends that have arisen in the last few years, NH Hotel Group also consolidated the NH Room Office concept in the America Business Unit, specifically in the NH Collection Bogotá Teleport Royal as a pilot. Months later, after the success of this innovative proposal, the Company has extended NH Room Office to other countries in the Americas and Europe.
Video calls, preparing presentations or giving online training courses… working from home is not the best solution for every task. That is why the Company offers the possibility of renting a quiet hotel room with a pleasant workspace, from a half-day upwards. This new concept lets guests work with all the necessary equipment and maintain distancing without having to be in a business center or go to the office.
This consist of an extended stay package that guarantees the best offer for the use of all the amenities of our hotels, for stays of 7 nights or more. This type of value proposal is designed for travellers who need or prefer to stay in a destination and hotel for long-term projects, saving the expense of recurring long-distance trips.
This NH Hotel Group option lets an entire hotel or only part of it be booked for the personal use of a company or guest. A totally personalised service that will guarantee privacy, safety and, above all, a memorable experience.
Spectacular spaces and areas for open-air events where guests recover their energy and enjoy the views, whether participating in a corporate activity or a creative session with the team, a reception or social event. Ranging from terraces with views of the mountains, cityscapes or the sea to rooftops, gardens and pools, finding the perfect place to organize a meeting or event, respecting the safety measures established in recent times by the health authorities.
A BUSINESS PROGRAM
NH+ Business Programme is a programme created to support businesses with exclusive benefits, a programme that supports the recovery of the businesses affected by the years of pandemic. The more nights stayed at the Company’s hotels; the more advantages are available. Among others, with NH+, depending on the category and by booking through NH’s professional website (NHPRO.com), businesses can obtain a discount of up to 25% on accommodation in the group’s hotels, discounts on parking, premium Wi-Fi service, late check-out or early check-in.
The NHPRO.com online platform is a unique digital space exclusively for business travellers, the purpose of which is to simplify and facilitate administrative tasks and offer professional new capabilities for their business. Among other features, it can be used to consult information on what NH Hotel Group has to offer for the B2B segment, access special rates, manage travel bookings or plan events. The launch of this tool is part of the accelerated digitalisation initiatives of NH’s value proposal to help our customers save time and resources.
NH Hotel Group is firmly committed to high quality gastronomy, innovation and the application of the latest trends in the sector, and therefore the Company is constantly in the process of innovating and developing exclusive gastronomic standards. However, in 2021, due to the impact of COVID-19 on the F&B area, innovation has focused on actions and standards that help to protect our guests, increase food safety, improve sustainability and support those who have been most adversely affected by the pandemic.
Local regulations on measures to deal with the virus have defined the types of services available in each region or country, and therefore the Company’s traditional standards have been adapted to these regulations and to the recommendation of WHO (World Health Organization). These adaptations have involved several innovative processes that allow NH to maintain differentiation, improve the guest experience in limited services and the application of new techniques or services.
The processes in which innovative proposals have been applied in the context of COVID-19 and which were implemented in 2020 have been maintained:
- F&B Mobile Guest Service, developing a mobile app through which customers can see all available services, place orders or book a space in restaurants.
- The Box, adaptation of the room breakfast service, with an attractive presentation and increased hygiene guarantees.
- Breakfast NH, adaptation of the famous NH breakfast to the new regulations in force and for which 3 service models have been developed (à la carte, assisted buffet service or mono-packed buffet), which adapt to local regulations in each case while maintaining the traditional values of our breakfasts, a warm welcome, use of local products, variety and healthy food.
- M&E, adaptation of the entire range of food and beverages offered to the new requirements in order to assure safety and hygiene at our events.
- Take-away service, creation of a new service adapted to the mobility circumstances, for lunches and dinners, during periods of restrictions for restaurant.
- Business and Individual Delivery Menus, with delivery to offices and homes on special dates.
It should be noted that in 2021, due to the damage caused by the pandemic, NH Hotel Group has undertaken, as far as F&B is concerned, to improve sustainability and support groups of people that have been especially impacted by COVID-19. Some examples of the new actions taken are:
• Improvement in sustainability in F&B by creating a new process which increases the efficiency of resource management and use of surplus kitchen production. This has involved collaborating with a number of food start-ups that reuse the food products that have not been consumed in the hotel.
NH Hotel Group offers exceptional cuisine under chefs holding a total of 8 Michelin stars, who in some cases have adapted their services to the COVID-19 situation with new proposals:
- Dabiz Muñoz, 3 Michelin stars, with DiverXO at NH Collection Eurobuilding. During 2021, Goxo, the chef’s new concept, debuted at the NH Collection Barcelona Constanza.
- Paco Roncero, 2 Michelin stars with La Terraza del Casino. This year he has reinvented his Workshop concept by creating a unique conceptual space featuring multisensorial gastronomy and sustainability (Paco Roncero Taller).
- Chris Naylor, 1 Michelin star with Vermeer at NH Collection Barbizon Palace, creation of the delivery service for Michelin star in the Netherlands.
- Randy Karman, 1 estrella Michelin, con White Room en NH Collection Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky.
- Marcos Morán, (1 Michelin star) consulting chef at Hispania Brussels, NH Collection Grand Sablon.
EVOLUTION OF QUALITY MEASUREMENT TOOLS IN 2021
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 Quality Focus Online, which makes it possible to monitor customer reviews through internal and online channels.
The main improvements in the tool in 2021 include internal improvements in usability, improving the content of some of the tabs to help view at the same time global NPS (Net Promoter Score) data and competition data of all the hotels. In addition, aware of the importance that Google is gaining in recent years, the option of responding to the Questions and Answers section directly from the tool has been included, which allows us to respond to all customers and improve our presence in Google maps.
Furthermore, to maintain the Company’s high standards in relation to quality and customer satisfaction and maintain maximum assurance of safety for guests and employees, this year the checklist created on 2020 has continued to be used, through which the Health & Safety Managers, designated in the Feel Safe plan to be responsible for verifying and managing the plan in each hotel in each Business Unit of NH Hotel Group, carry out the corresponding checks in each establishment and identify areas for improvement, in order to implement the necessary corrective actions.
To carry out these controls, as well as the customer experience quality visits that local quality teams have resumed this year, we continue to use the existing quality tool, the smartphone app called Iristrace.
Furthermore, with the intention 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.
IMPACTS ON VISIBILITY AND PERCEPTION OF QUALITY
As a new feature in 2021, NH Hotel Group has developed an internal tool which tries to predict which areas have the most impact on the guest experience, based on the different scores given to the sub-categories (room, cleanliness, food and beverages …) in the internal satisfaction survey.
The idea arose with the aim of creating predictive patterns that could generate percentages of influence of each of the sub-categories evaluated. These percentages of influence also allow the hotels to prioritize which sub-category matters most to the guest when determining the overall rating of a hotel, prioritizing these sub-categories in their operational action plans.
The overall perception of the Company’s quality has decreased by 0.1 points compared to last year and continues to be affected by the health crisis and the constant restrictions in each country. The overall score fell to 8.4 at the end of 2021 (-0.1 vs 2020). In relation to the overall score from online reviews, it has fallen to 8.3 (-0.1 compared to the previous year). A slight fall has also been seen in 2021 in the Booking.com and TripAdvisor ratings with a fall of -0.1 compared to the previous year.
By brand, the impact is also in line with the overall ratings, with the main brands obtaining scores of NH Hotels 8.3 (the same as 2020) and NH Collection 8.6 (-0.2 compared to 2020). The nhow brand has increased its rating with a score for the year of 8.6 (+0.1 compared to 2020).
SINGLE CUSTOMER SERVICE CENTRE TOOLS
The Single Customer Service Center provides support to hotels and to customers. It combines Customer Care, NH Rewards and the VIP Desk and has continued to consolidate its service in 2021, extending its capacity for response and improving the level of service.
In 2021, the Customer Care area handled a total of 24,025 contacts from the Customer Care Center (whether congratulations, requests, suggestions, complaints…); this represents an increase of approximately 13,851 contacts compared to 2020.
It should be noted that in 2021 NH Hotel Group has had to face a very complex situation because of COVID-19, which has forced the Company to the partial/total closure of many hotels and to handle many more claims or incidents, but also seen the gradual reopening of many hotels. In addition, the different quarantines established have not permitted many of our customers to travel and all the restrictions that are still in place in some countries have considerably limited travel.
This year there has been a considerable increase in the number of contacts, in many cases caused by the mobility restrictions referred to above and the requests from customers to modify the expiry of their NH Rewards points.
Complaints are handled by sending a letter of apology, response by the hotel or the legal department. Sometimes, compensation has been given –in the form of a discount voucher, free NH Rewards points, free room upgrade, etc. Responses have been given within the established time in most cases, except on certain occasions where there have been upticks in emails received (in relation to cancellations/modifications caused by force majeure, refunds, or simply asking for information) which have had a negative effect on the response time. However, the Company continues to focus on customers and customer 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 this data includes owned, leased and managed hotels, as many of the complaints and grievances received cannot be assigned to a hotel.
** FY20 totals have been recalculated due to a new consolidation criterion.
Complaints received by solution provided
** Technical incidents – solution provided by IT.
*** Includes comments on internal policies, reservations and other services that depend on HQ and not on any hotel.
COMMUNICATION WITH CUSTOMERS
In its commitment to sustainability, NH Hotel Group seeks to include and engage customers in its sustainable initiatives, whether by generating opportunities to contribute socially or by promoting environmentally responsible behaviour.
Direct contact with customers is key in order to offer them personalised services and make their experience with NH better and better. In 2021, more than 92.4 million emails were sent to customers.
NH Hotel Group seeks to include and engage its customers in its sustainable initiatives, whether by generating opportunities to contribute socially or by promoting environmentally responsible behaviour.
To respond both to the challenges presented by the pandemic and to the rapid digitalisation and need to save the use of printed material, guests are invited to use the Mobile Guest Service digital app using QR codes to obtain information on the hotel’s services, communicate their needs to hotel staff or make reservations in the hotel restaurants during their stay.
NH Hotel Group has extended its “Green Stay” initiative to most of its hotels, a new service that is applied in hotels in the northern and southern Europe business units. Through this initiative, the Company offers guests who stay for more than one night the option of declining the room cleaning service, contributing to savings in water, energy and other resources. As a reward for these guests, the hotel offers them a voucher for a free drink for each day they participate in this initiative.
Communication materials concerning rooms and bathrooms have also been updated and have added QR codes referring to the use of towels and articles of personal use. This contributes to energy savings and at the same time promotes a faster, more transparent and effective digital communication.
In F&B areas, the hotels continue to promote the recovery of cork, a sustainable and recyclable material, through displays and specific units so that both employees and guests can contribute to this action which has been developed in the framework of Cork2Cork. More information is provided in the Chapter NH ROOM4 Planet.
Improvement in direct sales channels
Throughout 2021, business growth generated through the NH Hotel Group website continues and extraordinary results were obtained, with year-on-year growth of more than 50%. Furthermore, if we compare with the results for 2019 (in an attempt to isolate the impact of COVID-19), the months of July to November even showed some growth, due to the reduction in restrictions.
The effect of the pandemic in 2021 and the mobility restrictions and travel regulations issued by each country have had a significant effect on travel patterns, both in the B2C and B2B segment, affecting all regions, channels, brands and domains. The B2B segment underwent some acceleration after summer, which was subsequently affected with the arrival of the omicron variant. In contrast, the B2C segment has gained in importance and a more dynamic recovery has been observed in the direct web channel than the recovery experienced by intermediated channels. All this has meant that the contribution of the web channel to NH Hotel Group’s total sales reached an all-time high, equivalent to 15.96%, exceeding the contribution in 2020 by 2.13pp and in 2019 by 4.38pp. It is also worth highlighting the importance of the web channel, which at year-end accounted for more than 26% of the Company’s total sales in the B2C segment.
NH Hotel Group uses direct and indirect channels to market its products. The direct channels include the Hotels, the Call Center and the web. In 2021, the latter has helped to market products through 37 sites and microsites, using 17 languages and/or language localizations.
As well as innovating, our spirit is being able to adapt and personalise the experiences of millions of customers who visit us through the web and app. This personalisation, combined with the systematic application of techniques to improve conversion and usability, with more than 200 experiments in 2021, have allowed us to obtain double-figure improvements in conversion in certain periods, even in such a uniquely difficult year as this one.
Programa NH Rewards – Global Hotel Alliance
NH Rewards has more than 10 million members and is one of the most complete loyalty programmes globally.
Through its four categories (Blue, Silver, Gold and Platinum), the Company’s programme recognizes and rewards the loyalty of habitual 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 booking through 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 sales lever, as members contribute to 32% of the Company’s total nights, and recurring customers and programme members are those who have most contributed to the recovery in bookings, during the pandemic. The incentive of obtaining extra points stimulates booking on direct channels, to the extent that 70% of NH’s web bookings are made by members of the NH Rewards programme, whose spending and frequency of visits is also higher than guests who are not members.
In 2021 NH Hotel Group announced that it was joining Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the operator of the award-winning multi-brand Discovery hotel loyalty programme. As part of the agreement, NH Rewards will participate in GHA’s Discovery programme in 2022, this joining one of the ten biggest loyalty programmes in the hotel sector.
NH Hotel Group app
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 has continued to implement the hygiene and cleaning protocols in its hotels established in the Feel Safe at NH Contingency Plan in line with the indications of the World Health Organization, following local regulations and taking inspiration from medical practice. These protocols were reviewed and validated by SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance), world leader in inspection, verification and certification services.
NH Hotel Group also 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. Finally, the kitchens and kitchen equipment are cleaned following hospital protocols, to assure proper disinfection and decontamination at all times. 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 these 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. 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 rescission of the contract with NH Hotel Group.
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.
“99% of hotels have some kind of accessibility element”
NH Hotel Group is also committed to the full integration in work of people with disabilities through responsible purchases from Special Employment Centers as suppliers of laundry services. The share that purchases from Special Employment Centers represented in 2021 was 6,2%. (Estimated with respect to the workforce in Spain, together with the Special Employment Center employees comparable to NH Hotel Group purchases).