How to be one step ahead of your guest

Monica Or, columnist and Hospitality Consultant at Star Quality Hospitality Consultancy discusses how your staff need to be proactive and use their initiative..

I recently stayed in two higher end ‘chain’ hotels and I was very underwhelmed. Why? Because the staff just carried out their duties with no genuine care for their guest. To deliver a 5 star quality service there are two things you need to instill in your staff – how to be proactive and to empower them to use their initiative.

By being proactive, you make things happen, instead of waiting for them to happen to you. Active means “doing something.” The prefix pro- means “before.” So if you are proactive, you are ready before something happens.

You have a choice of how you behave in any given situation. You can choose to be passive, reactive or proactive.

When you are passive things will pass you by and you won’t even notice. To work in a proactive manner will mean that you will have to use your initiative and when you see an opportunity act on it.

The difference between being reactive and proactive is when you are reactive you are reacting to a given situation as and when it happens, there and then. Sometimes it is referred to as fire fighting as you have to think on your feet and act immediately, not really knowing if what you are doing is the best way forward.

By being proactive you also need to be able to forward plan and look at different strategies or scenarios that could happen and how you would handle this in advance of it actually happening. In this way you will be ready and prepared for any eventuality.

The importance of this is how it will impact your guest. Let’s take a simple example and imagine you have a guest arriving at your hotel:

The passive response – is to stand around and not notice them, until a manager or supervisor asks you to help the guest with their luggage.

The reactive response – is to help the guest only when you see them struggling with their luggage.

The proactive response – is to be ready with a trolley that could be used if needed and to immediately offer the guest assistance with their luggage on arrival.

The way you interact with your guest will give them an impression of how well your hotel is run and sometimes it is the simplest actions that create these impressions. So to always be one step ahead of your guest you need to empower all your staff to work in a proactive way and to use their initiative in any given situation.

It takes a certain type of person to be able to do this in a genuine manner which truly shows they are care about their guest and are not just doing it because they have been ‘trained.’ When it is done really well that’s when random acts of kindness are delivered.

When was the last time you felt really cared for by a hospitality professional?

About Monica Or: Working with the owner/managers of independent hotels and restaurants, Monica assists her clients with their operations and service delivery. She is the Amazon Best Selling author of her three books: ‘Star Quality Experience – The Hotelier’s Guide to Creating Memorable Guest Journeys’ and ‘Star Quality Talent – Inspiring Hospitality Careers’.
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