In December of last year, I published a brief article titled, “The Power of ‘I Don’t Know’” where I described how those three little words might help you both in a business setting as well as in how you deal with certain hotel guest situations. Now, I am coming to you with an even simpler and even more important phrase for you to train your staff in its effective use.
“Hello!” A basic greeting like this from employee to guest will never go wrong. It’s easy; it’s fast; it’s a sign that you are always welcome. Even better would be to follow-up the salutation with a simple, “How are you?” or “Can I help you with anything?”
Yet, at many establishments outside of the five-star or ultra-luxury snack bracket, the only hello I get is the perfunctory one at check-in – an instance where I approach the front desk and not the other way around where an employee goes out of his or her way to offer assistance. While I wouldn’t expect a housekeeper or maintenance worker to drop everything to cater to my every immediate whim, stopping for a second to greet me is nonetheless uplifting. Questions without a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer are even better as they imply a more descriptive response.
‘You never know until you ask’
You say all the right things with a quick and warm salutation. It demonstrates that your staff are both friendly and ready to help. As mentioned above, it elevates guests’ moods, letting them know that their patronage is valued and that your hotel is committed to bona fide hospitality. Saying hello also carries with it a profound sense of veneration – that each guest commands enough respect to be welcomed at every instance.
Importantly, the saying ‘You never know until you ask’ is readily applicable to these routine interactions. Not every guest is an effusive extrovert, and often when there is a grievance it will be go unstated until said introvert gets around to telling friends about the stay or reviewing your property on TripAdvisor. In fact, there is always something a hotel employee can do to improve a customer’s stay, even if it is just a reminder that the staff member is kind and thoughtful enough to ask.
The true power of hello
To recap, always initiate conversation and greet guests everywhere, not just at check-in, on approach to the concierge desk or when seated at a restaurant. A quick training refresher should cover this. But more so than speaking the words, the true power of hello lies in how the word and any subsequent questions are spoken.
For this, the attribute of warmth cannot be understated. Speak slowly, eloquently and with a smile. Above all, though, the drive for serving a guest must come from within. This isn’t something you teach so much as you screen during the hiring phase. Beyond that, make a guest feel welcome with each and every encounter as an unassuming trick to boost guest satisfaction.
About the author
One of the world’s most published writers in hospitality, Larry Mogelonsky is the owner of Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited and founder of LMA Communications Inc., an award-winning marketing agency based in Toronto. His experience encompasses hotel properties around the world, both branded and independent, and ranging from luxury and boutique to select-service. Larry is also a principal of Cayuga Hospitality Consultants and is on several boards for companies focused on hotel technology. His work includes three books “Are You an Ostrich or a Llama?” (2012), “Llamas Rule” (2013) and “Hotel Llama” (2015). You can reach Larry at email@example.com to discuss hotel business challenges or to book speaking engagements.
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