Let's get to the heart of hospitality. We feature Micah Solomon's book "The Heart of Hospitality: Great Hotel and Restaurant Leaders Share Their Secrets." Treat a guest as your only guest by focusing on their needs. Never stop believing in the importance of the individual guest and the individual guest interaction. Every interaction is an opportunity to make a guest feel cared for.
Hospitality should appear effortless and spontaneous to the guest yet service standards and systems need to be in place. When resolving any hospitality issues, be sure to apologize (even if you are not to blame), review the complaint with the guest, fix the problem and follow up to ensure that they are pleased with how it was handled. Document the problem in detail for your records and to have a plan in place for similar challenges.
People are the heart of hospitality. People who are hospitable have certain personality traits:
- Conscientious of the details
- Exceed expectations
- Follow through
- Work ethic
Strive to build a culture of saying "yes" to the guest. Even to questions or requests the customer has not voiced yet. Create "wow" moments that delight guests, make them want to share their story, and come again. Never say "no" without offering a "yes" at the same time. Offering an alternative solution and an apology makes it easier for the guest to accept. Pledge to commit to delivering excellence every day. What matters today is all about unique, memorable, and personal experiences.
Guests today are looking for what they perceive as genuine hospitality experiences. Focus on authentic, unscripted conversations and interactions with your guests. Instead of saying, "you owe us this amount of money" you can rephrase it by stating, "our records indicate a balance of this amount of money." Hospitality requires the ability to adjust, depending upon the situation and the guest.
Find ways to share the authentic and uniquely local aspects of your area with your guests. Consider providing guests with your very own custom-made travel guide. Guests desire to live the life of a local.
Your challenge, with each guest, is to envision what an enjoyable experience looks like and to put together the pieces that make this happen. Pay attention to smaller touch points. More and more customers are looking for experiences, to participate in something they can look back on with pride. Balance novelty with consistency.
Finally, Micah Solomon, states that providers of accommodations should focus on how your hospitality experience is shared with two or more guests. Build opportunities for social sharing into the customer experience. In hospitality, a brand often serves as a backdrop to the story of each customer's life. What matters is getting to the heart of hospitality.
Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography