Serving others is the spirit of hospitality. Larry Stuart, CEO of LS Hospitality, is the author of The Spirit of Hospitality: How To Add The Missing Ingredients Your Business Needs. He advises those of us in the hospitality industry that IF we are NOT passionate about serving others, THEN we are in the wrong industry.

Walking in integrity is one of the key ingredients to a life of service in hospitality excellence. According to Mr. Stuart, we should "always choose to do the right thing for the right reason, no matter the cost." If we treat others with kindness, genuine care, and a heart of service, they will remember, and they will return.

It's all about the guest. We need to have the ability to anticipate the guests' needs. Acknowledge the presence of guests with eye contact. This lets them know we care for them and we are there to serve their every need. Give a sincere, from our heart, smile (with eye contact).

Make an appropriate and friendly hospitality comment such as, "We hope to have you back again soon." According to Mr. Larry Stuart, the key things our guests want are to be noticed, to be treated like they matter, to be served, and to be welcomed into a warm, inviting environment.

Being a blessing in life means serving others. Be willing to go the extra mile for guests and staff. There is always an opportunity to help others. Excellent guest service is a work of art that can only be performed by those who understand the spirit of hospitality. Our service instantly makes the guest feel welcome and sets them at ease.

Our willingness to listen to others gives them an opportunity to express their point of view. Guests who feel they have been heard; also feel they have been served. Our main goal should be to provide the WOW factor to every guest. The author quotes Zig Ziglar, "The complaining guest represents a huge opportunity for more business." He also reminds us that most guest complaints are sincere, legitimate, realistic, and warranted.

According to this book, the integrity of a true service-oriented business is how we respond when things go wrong. We can win a guest for life through our guest service recovery. This requires sincerity, empathy, and kindness. The key is to stay calm, maintain self-control, and always be professional. Demonstrate you are listening, accept responsibility, and work to find a solution.

Treat everyone you meet with politeness, kindness, and compassion. When we act in kindness, the recipient feels exceptional, important, and special. People return to us because of the spirit of hospitality we show them. We should always ask if there is anything else, we can do for the guest. This gives them an opportunity to share with us how we can make their stay even more memorable. 

We can improve what we measure, and we track. Comment cards, surveys, and online reviews are just three of the many other ways to receive guest feedback. Stuart recommends that we track our guests' satisfaction as well as how we stack up in the industry against our competition.

Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging offers a 20-minute complimentary conversation to any bed and breakfast owner/innkeeper. Contact her to understand how you can be more effective with your hospitality marketing. 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

About the author 

Kristi Dement

Tapping into her love of hospitality & accommodations, as well as her talent for marketing, Kristi started Bed and Breakfast Blogging in November of 2013. She loves helping owners of B&B inns & other properties become more effective with their marketing. She is a member of the Association of Lodging Professionals. 

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