You can’t afford not to be nice.
It’s one of the most basic human needs, be recognized and appreciated. Whether it’s for an accomplishment or for “just showing up,” we all like to be appreciated. Nowhere is this more important than in guest relations.
You have guests every day, some who are happy to be there, some who are there because of obligation, but all want to be appreciated for their business, for being your guest. No one likes to be the ignored guest, treated like a number or a “non-person” by rude or inattentive staff and management.
Guest recognition – appreciating your customers, your bread & butter in the hospitality industry – is imperative in a world with a vast array of choices for consumers. Your guests have more choices than ever in where they will stay, where they will eat, what they like – thanks to the Internet, they can research their choices and make informed decisions based on other customer experiences.
We all appreciate repeat business. A satisfied customer, one who likes a hotel, likes a restaurant, and comes back to it again and again is invaluable. They are also likely to recommend your establishment to others. But do we show them our appreciation – do we recognize our customers?
In the hospitality industry, as in any other field of endeavor, the golden rule, the old maxims, still apply, no matter what the technology or trends of the day influence our behavior. Perfect the basics – consistently keeping your eye on the prize and realizing that showing gratitude to your guests, recognizing them as valued individuals, is the basic that will enable you to surpass your competition.
You need to work with all your staff – especially those that directly interface with your customers – to inculcate everyday positive interaction with your guests.
Start with the most basic steps. Is your staff polite and pleasant with your guests? Everyone should thank your guest for being your guest. Treating them with respect, and as an individual (not a number) will win their loyalty. Having everyone on staff showing your guests personal gratitude, and that you are happy they have chosen your property over your competition is the best way to keep those guests coming back to you. It’s as simple as good old fashion manners!
How can your associates show their appreciation for the guests who have chosen your property for their conference or family vacation? It all boils down to how you make your guest feel during their stay. When one feels like a nameless number, like just another arrival or departure, you can bet that they’ll be looking to stay at another hotel the next time they come to town. By taking positive actions and using words of gratitude and recognition the guest feels like a valued individual.
Does your staff realize the impact they have on your occupancy levels with how they interact with guests? With the same activities and job duties day in and day out it might be easy for your staff to forget who makes their paycheck possible – your guests. What can you do as a supervisor or manager to insure your staff appreciate the significant impact they have on your occupancy and market share?
Engage your staff in actively showing gratitude and recognition to each individual guest that honors you with their business. Have you ever noticed when you are the customer how simple things such as being acknowledged make a difference to you? Share that example with your team.
Encourage them to concentrate on looking each guest in the eye and giving them a warm smile that communicates they are genuinely welcome at your establishment.
Here are some other ideas that you can implement today to better show your appreciation for your guest, and let them feel they are recognized as real people (not numbers!):
- Have your staff handwrite a note to thank your guests, and leave them in the guest room before and during your guest’s stay on the property. It’s surprising how rarely this proven way of showing gratitude is used. Remember how you felt the last time you received a handwritten thank you card.
- Stories of amazing customer service are all over the Internet and on the air – take the time to WOW one guest. Give one guest an experience that is so “over-the-top” that one lucky guest will have a great story to tell. Be creative – and imagine that guest’s family, friends, and social media acquaintances will be retelling the story of their GREAT experience with you.
- Think about a book that has been most influential to you and your business. Put a copy of the book in your guest room, with a personalized note that goes with or inside the book so your guest knows that this is a thank you meant just for them.
- Embrace social media – reward your guests through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and other social media sites with special announcements, exclusive promotions or just be available to help and answer their questions. Staying current with your guests, especially your best, most loyal guests, on social media is extremely compelling, and lets them know you care. You can also create a system for earning and using social media “loyalty rewards” – guests can build loyalty rewards points by contributing ideas to your Facebook page, for example, or providing positive feedback on Twitter.
Focus on perfecting the basics of gratitude and guest recognition with each guest, making them feel like a valued individual. It’s guaranteed that your guests will enjoy their “personalized” experience and you will enjoy their loyalty. Getting back to basics with guest recognition will lay the foundation for a solid year of guest satisfaction and experiences in 2017.
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