Your guests will expect a certain level of service and hospitality, starting from the moment they check-in. Regardless of the hotel’s star rating, when customer expectations are not met, it can lead to poor feedback, reduced return visits by guests and a negative impact on your business as a whole.
If you are looking to improve hospitality service, here are seven simple, yet useful tips:
#1 A service culture
Also known as ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’, many people assume this comes from training personnel on what needs to be.
It is true that training forms the cornerstone of customer service and hospitality but, it also depends on strong leadership and procedures. If you do not have a set routine or procedure when people check-in, check-out and so on, then you have no hope of creating a brand awareness. This lack of branding means lack of loyalty from customers in some cases.
Create the culture you want and then lead by example – and from the front. Cement this with procedures that make for a welcoming attitude and interaction between your staff and customers.
#2 Quality, quality, quality
If you have no other mantra when it comes to hospitality, then this is it. With the economic impacts being felt quicker and longer than other industries, the hospitality sector has far less staff and layers of management than before the recession.
Less staff should not mean a drop in quality. There are all kinds of tools that staff can use to help various aspects run smoothly – and they should always be underpinned by quality.
#3 Listen to employees
All too often, instruction comes from management that seems mismatched with what it is happening on the ground. You may want to introduce a new service culture, and that is all well and good, but you need to listen to feedback from employees who are implementing these changes.
Candid feedback can make for improvements in both hospitality and procedure.
#4 Empowering your team
Having a set way of doing things should not be restrictive. Protocols should present a boundary within which hospitality and service can move. This does not mean that anything other than this is incorrect.
For example, you may have a policy that the reception desk must be staffed at all times but, for a lone member of staff this can present some issues. If they see a customer struggling through the door with their luggage, you would want them to go and help. But if they face sanctions for leaving the desk unattended you have lost significant hospitality points…
#5 Identifying gaps in service
The availability of staff to customers is utterly essential in the hospitality industry, but it is a sector not immune to staff shortages at certain times of the year, month, day or night.
By not having enough staff at peak times, the staff group can feel under pressure to meet certain targets and operational expectation but, the first impact of this can be customer service. A busy, flustered member of staff may not feel they have the time nor ability to go that little bit further for a guest.
The answer is relatively straightforward, yet rarely used: work with your staff to identify where there are shortages as well as times where there is too many staff on duty. Working out rotas and maintaining cover is an essential component of hospitality and customer service.
Working in the hospitality industry can present all kinds of demands and challenges. Some can be foreseen (see #6), and other are unpredictable, such as the shape of the economy and its impact on your trade.
When money is tight, customers and hotel guests demand far more for their money. Regardless of how much they have or have not paid for a room, a ‘bargain’ is not an excuse for poor customer service – and your customers will tell you that.
Make sure your hospitality and service is responsive to customer needs and wants.
#7 Above and beyond
Going that extra distance does not cost your business regarding money, but it can bring in much-needed custom.
In the day and age of social media, how many times have you seen poor experiences shared? Equally as important are the stories of people who praise a company, hotel, member of staff for doing something above and beyond.