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Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Do Your Resort Leaders Really Perceive The Distinction Between “Hospitality” and “Visitor Service?”

My job as a hospitality business convention speaker and coaching facilitator affords alternatives to talk with lodging business leaders from a broad spectrum of administration firms, manufacturers, and independents. Primarily based on my observations, I feel there are loads of leaders, together with some with many years of expertise who work at top-tier firms, who don’t absolutely perceive the distinction between “hospitality” and “visitor service.”

I usually hear these phrases used interchangeably, but whereas they’re associated, and whereas visitor satisfaction requires each, they’re essentially totally different ideas. Understanding the distinction, and having the ability to convey this to frontline employees, are important for taking each to the subsequent degree at your resort, firm or resort.

So What IS The Distinction?

Offering “visitor service” is extra about delivering experiences that not less than meet, and hopefully exceed, company’ expectations. Foundationally, this requires offering secure, clear, up to date, and comfy lodging. On high of that, glorious visitor service requires utilizing communications necessities that rise above merely being well mannered. A couple of examples could be:

  • Holding eye contact with company lengthy sufficient to alternate smiles.
  • Utilizing open physique language.
  • Excellence in phone communications. (A constructive opening greeting, asking permission to put them on maintain, supervising name transfers, and ending the decision by providing further help, restating the caller’s title, and thanking them.)
  • Utilizing visitor names conversationally all through their keep.
  • Utilizing the language of hospitality corresponding to saying “Enable me to examine on that…” not “I’ll must examine on that…,” “Might I counsel that you just…” as a substitute of “You’ll must…,” and saying “You might be most welcome” as a substitute of “No downside.”
  • Expressing empathy and apologizing when issues go incorrect.

And but I’d argue that it’s solely potential for a resort colleague to make use of all these communications strategies however fully fall brief on delivering hospitality. In our every day lives, I’m certain we have now all had customer support experiences the place the affiliate mentioned all the proper issues, however who spoke in a manner that felt scripted, robotic and disingenuous.

Particular to lodges, I usually discover that some lodges, most frequently in upscale and luxurious sectors, change into so obsessive about passing a FORBES, AAA, or model inspection that they over-emphasize these “visitor service strategies” to the purpose the place it comes throughout as “scripted politeness” and feels obsequious to company.

Visitor Providers Abilities Are Demonstrative;
Heartfelt Hospitality Is Philosophical

Enlightened leaders know that hospitality is, at its core, a philosophy for residing far more so than it’s a script or checklist of “communications requirements” to be checked off in a thriller shopper’s inspection report.

To begin, let’s have a look at the basis of the phrase “hospitality” itself, which is derived from the Latin phrase hospes, which is a phrase having the diametric meanings of “visitor” and “host.” Dictionary definitions of the phrase “hospitality” typically embrace some model of receiving company in a manner that’s heat, beneficiant, and pleasant.

For many years now in my on-site hospitality coaching workshops, I usually ask individuals to work in small teams and to formulate one collective definition. Their outcomes are all the time attention-grabbing and insightful, however the very best one but got here out of a bunch a few years in the past that got here up with this definition: “Hospitality means caring about, in addition to for, others.”

Within the resort business, after we care “for” others, we mainly do our jobs and supply visitor service. We clear the rooms, repair what’s damaged, and supply a room key in alternate for his or her bank card. But after we care “about” our company, we perceive that the individual on the opposite facet of the desk, counter, telephone name, or e mail alternate is an actual individual going by way of a uniquely private journey expertise. We take time to think about that they may be on the town for a marriage, a birthday, or a trip, but in addition it may be for a funeral, memorial service, or firstly or finish of a hospital keep. They may be on the town on enterprise to entertain gross sales prospects at fancy eating places, rent new employees, or attend firm conferences, but in addition it may be to testify in a lawsuit, shut a department workplace, or finalize a divorce continuing.

Those that have enrolled their entrance desk employees in KTN’s “Licensed within the Coronary heart of Hospitality” program will acknowledge one other definition of hospitality we use, which is “Hospitality is the supply of human kindness, particularly to strangers.”

Nonetheless, maybe the perfect definition I’ve ever encountered was provided by a real business icon, Howard Feiertag, who was my private mentor and good friend for 34 years till he handed away final March at age 93. Many readers will know Howard as a co-worker from the years he spent as a corporate-level hotelier or his years on the convention talking circuit. Maybe he’s greatest often known as Professor Feiertag, having joined Virginia Tech as an Adjunct Professor in 1990 and the place he nonetheless taught lessons at age 93.

For my part, Howard gave the very best and definitely the pithiest definition ever, when he made this remark at a banquet in his honor: “Hospitality is making folks really feel good,” Howard mentioned that evening, including, “and after we make them really feel good it makes YOU really feel good too!” Observe: You’ll be able to watch this section of Howard’s speech on the 6:20 timestamp on this YouTube hyperlink https://youtu.be/5JPa78aDZWM

And so resort leaders, at your subsequent employees assembly, administration convention, or government committee gathering, take a couple of moments to ask your leaders to contemplate the true that means of hospitality, ensuring to distinguish it from the idea of visitor service strategies.

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