While hospitality and service go hand in hand, they most certainly have two different meanings. A very simple way of explaining this is that Service satisfies the brain while hospitality satisfies the heart. With so many restrictions in place to keep guests and staff safe and healthy, offering both may prove to be challenging. This is where the essence of hospitality comes into play; go above and beyond.
With occupancy rates projected to be down for the summer, take the extra time to learn about your guests. Remember their name for that moment when you pass them in the hall or the restaurant, a quick “Good morning, how are you Ms. Smith” will go a long way. Maybe they are visiting your hotel to celebrate a birthday or an anniversary, acknowledge this. The more you can do to create a personal connection in such a disconnected time will elevate your hotel’s service offering above the rest.
Does your hotel offer welcome amenities to guests? How about replacing that famous Double Tree chocolate chip cookie with 2 bottles of water, 2 masks, and 2 personal hand sanitizers. While this may not seem like a “wow” gift to give a guest at check-in, it shows you care about the safety of them and their family. If you have an onsite restaurant or spa, maybe put a small insert in their key packet that informs them of any precautions you may be taking in those areas. Those more information the better, and the more welcome your guests are going to feel.
While this may not be possible for all properties, from our recent personal experiences it goes a long way. Airport shuttles are normally packed, stuffy, and far too warm. If it is within your operational possibilities, we suggest adding another shuttle or two into the rotation in order to create more room for guests while being transported. The last thing a guest wants after getting out of a cramped seat on an airplane is to be squeezed into a shuttle with another family. Again, small gesture but something that will stick with them when they are deciding on their next hotel stay.
Is your restaurant using throw away menus? If not, this may be something to consider. This is the easiest way to offer personalized service to each one of your guests. How would you feel if you sat down to dinner, picked up your menu, and see “Welcome, Ms. Smith” at the top? Not only does this provide a wonderful luxurious element, it shows the guest one of the precautions you are taking without saying a word. While this may create a small bit of additional work for your reservationist, it will be well worth it in the end.
Make a point to show guests how seriously you are taking sanitation procedures. Hilton, for example, has created a seal to go on each and every hotel room door to visualize that the room has not been entered since being clean. Can you create a logoed disposable sleeve to go over electronics remotes? Maybe your housekeeping staff leaves a small informational sheet to explain the extra care they have taken to clean your room. Lastly, wait 15 minutes after check-in and call the guest to make sure they are comfortable in their accommodations and to see if you can provide anything further.
What are you doing to make your guests feel safe, welcome, and at home?