Hospitality is the experience of memories, and genuine hospitality really makes a difference to the authenticity of that experience. These may be self evident truths, but are they really recognised as the very basis of the service that we as professionals provide for our guests? How often does the process of providing the service get in the way of genuine hospitality?
Engaging with the guest in a honest and transparent way that reflects the authentic voice of hospitality provides a glimpse into the traditional values of hospitality. It is the personalisation of the hospitality experience that turns it into a memory.
People are the creators of experiences; they are essential actors in the creation of those experiences. It is their authenticity and contribution that can turn those experiences into memories. Those people essential in providing hospitality are collectively known as ‘staff’. They are not a separate species of people, but because we see them as a group who are employed in organisational roles to support the business, this somehow makes them different. This delineation into specific roles can often suppress the very engagement the creation of experiences requires. Categorising staff implies a particular type of relationship with the guest, yet considering them as people allows a much more active engagement with other side of the hospitality community, the guests.
Staff, as people, are human. They have a genuineness as themselves; they’re interesting as people and they have stories to tell that enrich the experience of the guest. They are not always seen as co-creators of the guest experience, but as providers of the service within limitations and boundaries ascribed to their roles.
Changing the mindset to consider ‘staff as people too’ could have a significant impact on the creation of guests experiences and at the same time enrich the role of your people to beyond that of just staff.
It is well recognised within the industry that positive ‘people’ engagement is critical to retention, and retention is a much better option than recruitment. A more positive engagement is not going to occur merely because you start to refers to employees as people rather than staff. What is necessary is a cultural shift in values that supports the professional development of people as an asset rather than staff as a cost.