February reminds us that while we concentrate on the important occupancy and revenue goals, that meeting the needs of project owners, planners and attendees of meetings and events is the heart of our hospitality business! While we have come a long way from the thermal baths and monasteries of Bible Times, our purpose has not aged. A place to network, conduct business and rest comfortably with delicious food and beverage remains a priority to the client! Let’s take a look at five keys that unlock the heart of the matter.
To begin, we need to understand where “hospitality” comes from. When researching the etymology of the word “hospitality” I found different answers—a number of languages claiming the honor! The most appropriate definition for hospitality as we know it is a word that means both the guest and the supplier. Today, we truly hold that same meaning. The term hospitality is an interaction between both parties. There is the one who needs the respite and the one who provides it.
Excellence in Everything
Excellence in everything means in greeting, making a bed, cleaning a room, repairing a broken door, preparing the best meal. No matter the role, every person on your team should adopt the “excellence in everything” philosophy. People really want to achieve and if you help them to understand that excellence is the only option, then they will produce excellence for you and ultimately the client. The return on investment for excellence is immediate as every experience a client has is logged into memory. .
Event planning requires management of copious details. Usually the last thing on an event planner’s mind is her own needs. But what a breath of fresh air to walk into a hotel where the staff knows your name, your room is ready and someone is there to help with bags. Not only am I more relaxed, I have additional time to complete my tasks before the meeting begins! There are many factors that go into selecting a host hotel and I would not alleviate a hotel among the choices if the staff didn’t anticipate my needs. However, I will definitely remember and put on my short list the hotel who saved me time and made my job easier. Advertising a hotel takes place every time your staff interacts with the client. Anticipating need is the best advertising.
Resolution that Resonates
Even those expert in customer service falter upon occasion. Clive Mettrick, in his article Customer Satisfaction, says that “how such mistakes are handled is critical to the reputation of the business.” How your staff member resolves a customer service issue will determine whether or not that client returns and what kind of hotel advertising they will give you. The client is going to tell the story, what content are you providing them? I once wrote a letter to a potato chip company because the chips were brown not once, but twice. The company responded with a very nice letter apologizing along with a certificate for a complimentary large bag of chips. Beyond that, they explained why the potato chips turned brown! I appreciated their response. Twenty years later I will choose their chips over any other brand and I have told that story a number of times. Provide your client a resolution that resonates positively!
The Client is Number One
We all know that the client is number one. But do you remember that the client is number one when crunching the numbers or other tasks that need to be done? Remembering in every action you take that the client is number one will keep your business focused on the heart of hospitality!
Booking group rooms means understanding hospitality! Your goal is to provide the client with a place to conduct business and network that is relaxing and conducive to those objectives. Train your staff to adopt the “excellence in everything” attitude and watch the change that takes place in service and in employee morale. Teach the team to anticipate the needs of the client and you will reap the benefits. Resolve customer service issues in a way that resonates and creates a positive memory with the client. And remember that when you are doing those things which keep your business running, that the client is number one!. Use these five keys to unlock success and keep the heart of hospitality at the forefront to grow your business.