How can hotels create EPIC Moments for their guests?

Alice Wells
Alice Wells

Associate Director

For many leisure hotel guests, the creation of a meaningful and memorable experiences is particularly important, with holidays representing a significant opportunity to reconnect and recharge. A way in which we can judge the success of an experience is through the EPIC framework.

So just how important is EPIC for hoteliers, and how can it generate a positive guest experience? Responses to one of our surveys provide an interesting view of which brands perform best at delivering memorable experiences.


Elevation refers to positive experiences which are out of the ordinary and unexpected. Brands that successfully differentiate themselves from competitors often have a unique offering that surprises and entices guests. A few brands that performed particularly well on this pillar in our research are Shangri-La, Four Seasons, Sofitel and Hotel du Vin. These are some examples of where hotels deliver elevation:

  • Unique or exclusive experiences linked with a hotel stay
    • E.g. The Hoxton offering ‘Camp Hox on wheels’, a campervan experience which sold out within a day of release
  • Maintaining standards which are above those of competitors, as well as providing something different as part of their offer
    • E.g. Premier Inn is seen to hold an impressive standard for a budget hotel brand and also offer free breakfast for guests under 16 years old
  • Complimentary gifts often surprise and excite guests
    • E.g. The famous cookie received on arrival at DoubleTree by Hilton hotels or Macdonald offering welcome gifts and flowers for the room
  • Interesting and different rooms designs
    • E.g. Best Western properties with varying room designs, so no two stays are the same and CitizenM, where being able to change the mood lighting of the room was something unique to guests


Pride refers to making guests feel valued, and staff play a key role in achieving this. This is where hotels have a significant opportunity to excel as taking good care of guests is at the core of the hospitality industry. Our ClearSight data shows that this pillar is, by far, the strongest for hotels. Brands that performed well include Malmaison, Mercure, DoubleTree by Hilton and Marriott. Here are some examples of where hotels are creating a sense of pride:

  • Staff going above and beyond to ensure a seamless and enjoyable stay for their guests
    • E.g. nothing seems to be too much trouble at Marriott hotels where the service is impeccable day and night
  • Creating a personalised experience
    • E.g. for some Radisson stays, not only do they remember that you have stayed there before, but they even know your dog’s name!
  • Simple, caring gestures from staff such as smiling or telling guests they are there to help can go a long way in building rapport
    • E.g. Travelodge customers highlighted how caring and welcoming staff are and how they proactively try to help wherever possible


Insight refers to discovering something new or gaining inspiration from your experiences. In a hotel this could be discovering more about your destination or learning more about the hotel itself. Our data shows that brands that performed best at this were: The Ritz-Carlton, ibis Styles, Four Seasons and Village. These are some examples of how hotels are giving guests insight:

  • Quirky and interesting décor in the hotel and rooms
    • E.g. the quirky theme at ibis Styles provides guests with new inspiration on modern decor
  • Staff who proactively offer detailed information about the stay and also share their recommendations on where to visit to ensure guests make the most of their holiday
    • E.g. hotels that help find activities and things to do as experienced by guests at Sheraton
  • Hotels that are lively and have a ‘buzz’ about them
    • E.g. Four Seasons gives the impression of being lively and having a lot of activities available for guests
  • Learning more about the history or locality of the hotel
    • E.g. At Malmaison, where guests have learnt more about the Beatles and popular culture in Liverpool or stayed in a former prison in their Oxford hotel


Connection refers to a sense of belonging and being surrounded by like-minded people. In the hotel setting, this generally refers to the sense of being at ‘home’. Our research found brands that performed best at creating this connection were The Ritz-Carlton, Macdonald, Ramada, and Hilton. Here are some examples of where hotels are delivering this:

  • Personal or personalised service from members of staff
    • E.g. hotels that personally attend to guests as experienced at Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel in London
  • Communication with guests that gives them a sense that they are important
    • E.g. Staff that give the impression that you are the only guests at the hotel, as experienced at Corinthia in London
  • Being greeted by staff members on entrance to the hotel (with a manager presence proving even more impactful)
    • E.g. Attentive staff members and managers to welcome guests on arrival, providing a personal touch to guests at Strand Palace
  • Offering free services or facilities to retain guests
    • E.g. Hilton has provided guests with free rooms or an extra night free of charge when in need, such as when a flight is cancelled, or a stay must be extended
  • A welcoming environment from the front desk all the way to your room
    • E.g. Being greeted warmly by staff at all points of the stay as experienced at The Ritz-Carlton

Often quick and simple gestures can make a memorable impact on someone’s hotel stay. Personalised and caring service can make guests feel special and valued, contributing to building trust and encouraging repeat visits. This even was reflected in a LinkedIn conversation where we discussed the topic of memorable hotel stays!

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