In today’s electronic world, there are so many missed hospitality opportunities when I stay in your hotel. I can completely avoid the front desk by checking in online. When you send a text to welcome me, I can respond by text and even request extra towels if needed by text or app. I can easily avoid the front desk and I might not even stop by during my stay. Another easy day for both of us. That’s just how things go now.
I just spent several days with you and we never had an opportunity to chat. I never felt comfortable enough to tell you about the little things that bothered me but that hadn’t really escalated to complaint level yet.
How do you know how happy I was or what my social media review is going to say? Are you being proactive or reactive to my needs? Do you really care about me or am I just the guest in 1318?
Do you have a team to make sure my needs are met and make sure I am happy? Is that team ensuring there were no misunderstandings and my loyalty stays with you? Do you realize that your heart of the house team may be the only people I see or interact with?
Heart of the house team members are the room attendants I see in the hallways or elevators. It’s also the maintenance person. Maintenance, the great people that come to fix something and the hotel team members that I really don’t want to see! Don’t get me wrong, I like the maintenance people like I like my doctor and they are very necessary, but when I see them, it’s always bad news!
But, is this heart of the house team ready to talk to me? In the past they were like children - to be seen, but not heard. That is no longer the case. Today, they are the people that may know more about me and how I am feeling, what I’ve liked and what I haven’t liked about my stay. They are the ones that can anticipate my needs and be proactive. Have you trained them to ask the right questions?
How is your room? This is a question that is often asked of me, and it makes no sense to me. It’s like asking how’s the tree across the street? This is so impersonal. I am not a room number and it’s not about my room. It’s about ME. Ask more questions that are about ME like, “Are we taking good care of you?”, “Is everything to your satisfaction?”. I may be okay, the room may be okay, but something else is not to my satisfaction. We may not even speak the same language, but your smile and your friendliness go beyond words. Just make me feel welcome, wanted and appreciated.
So what are the right questions and what are the right ways to interact with a guest? Things like…
Are they following basic politeness rules? Are they asking permission to enter my room? Are they asking for more information if needed? Are they using my name? Finally, can they please take one extra minute and tell me what was done or clarify how to use something in my room so I don’t have to call again for help?
Questions today must be about my connection with the hotel, the different areas and the people. The room attendant, bell staff or maintenance know more about me than the front desk because they interact with me more than the front desk. The front desk knows my name and credit card. The rest of the team knows my personal space, the toothpaste I use, what color clothes I have. We have a more intimate relationship so, yes, I will talk to them and answer questions when asked.
Hospitality is about the relationship between a guest and a host, and every team member at your hotel is the host. Be ready for me and take care of me! I will be the best, most loyal guest you have. If not, I am just another guest and you will be just another hotel …