Over a decade ago, a sports business executive was invited to an exclusive party in Chicago. Upon arrival at the event, he was greeted by name before he got to the reception desk, and greeted by name by numerous other event staff throughout the evening. That executive doesn’t remember the meal he was served, the other people he met, or even the room the event was in – but he does remember that everyone greeted him by name.
He felt welcome, he felt appreciated – he felt “the love.”
How do you show your guests that you love and appreciate them? Do you make their experience with you positive and memorable?
First impressions are always important. Greeting a guest with a friendly smile can go a long way. But it is crucial to always fully engage with a guest to make them feel valued, whether they are a returning guest or new to the hotel.
Go beyond the smile. People quickly notice when you are not giving them your full attention. Take the time to greet them by name, try to adapt to their mood, and really take an interest in that person who is standing directly in front of you at the front desk.
That use of the guest’s name is crucial. Maybe you have a doorman, who can alert the front desk to the guest’s name – they can check luggage labels or ask for the guest’s name so your front desk staff can be standing in the entrance, ready to welcome them and add that extra pizazz.
Guests are pleasantly surprised when you know their name. Shake their hand on introduction – this is a great way to take control of the situation, and ensures that there is no space for the guest to feel unsure of where to go next or to feel unwelcome.
Even before your guest arrives, you can start showing them “the love.” During the reservation process, try to discreetly gather information about the guest when they confirm the booking – the ETA, whether the visit is for a celebration, if they have a special requirement, and so on. The rest of the hotel can then anticipate any needs during their stay based upon this initial information gathering process.
You can establish a policy of introducing guests to the staff, especially on the front lines. You can also provide guests tips on where to visit in your city. A seasonal welcoming display of flowers in the lobby is also highly noticeable and often appreciated. A “welcome” basket of cookies or baked goods (i.e. croissant, biscuit) either at the reception desk or in the room is also a great way to say hello.
And while we are discussing first impressions, let’s not forget Last Impressions. Make sure your guests leave with a great lasting impression of their stay with you, and that they realize you appreciate their business. A sincere “thank you” in person goes a long way. Give them a little memento to take home with them as a lasting reminder: a box of candy, or a gift bag of your exclusive toiletries for your leisure guests, or a quality logo-ed accessory like a fleece jacket for your corporate market. You can follow this up with a simple personalized thank you note a few days later, that will not only show your appreciation, but it will give them something to remember you by, especially if it is handwritten and tailored to them.
Personal touches, showing your guests “the love,” boosts customer loyalty and, in turn, the bottom line.