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 Lead the Trend to Becoming Guest-Centric; 
Demonstrating Behavior Not Normally
Experienced by the Guest

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by John R. Hendrie, CEO Hospitality Performance, Inc., June 2005

The art of Hospitality includes two aspects by definition:  reception and entertainment for the Guest in a generous and kindly manner.  We market our entertainment factors aggressively, crafting the experience we believe our Guests require, but fail miserably on the other aspect, how they are received – that crucial first impression which sets the tone.

Small lodgings, such as B&B’s and Country Inns, take full advantage of that reception.  The proprietors look for our cars, welcome us at the door, talk us up like lost cousins and escort us to the guest room. Plus, we get cookies. We feel warm, familiar and special, for our Hosts really are Guest-Centric. 

As the lodging segments grow larger and more expansive, from motels right through major properties like resorts and convention hotels, we, Management, become more isolated, delegating Hospitality to our minions, who may be good messengers, or not, and the Guest becomes more distant and, sadly, more secondary.  We need to reconnect and become the Host, again.  Remember who pays the bills!

Visualize what the major difference is when you move from the Bed and Breakfast domain into the larger property – it is the Front Desk, the required portal to your establishment and also the greatest barrier.  If our raison d’etre is about the relationship and the experience, we start the process with that “guard station” and our “Border” personnel, where the emphasis is stand in line, fill this registration card out, and full attention on the computer, not the Guest.  By the way, “have a nice stay”. 

The Front Desk has given us license to acquiesce our calling. And, we do not mind, for we are held captive in our offices, making telephone calls, answering e-mails, running meetings, scheduling coverage – you know all too well the drill.  Talk about a disconnect! Alas, our poor Guest, the essence of our business, is left to aimlessly wander the halls, looking for directionals to their haven for the night. 

Perhaps you would like to change this image and lead the industry forward to the Guest-Centric foci.  It is easy to do with no capital expense or increased costs, and you can embrace the advantage your small lodging brethren demonstrate and “WOW” your Guest at the same time, creating for them a wonderful reception to your hotel and the first of many extraordinary experiences they will enjoy there. The concept is quite simple.

One day a week, you and members of your Executive Committee station yourselves at the Front Desk during normal Check-in hours. At random, select a Guest, introduce yourself, welcome them personally, and offer to escort them to their rooms.  Along the way, introduce them to your wonderful facility, the activities and amenities you offer, the restaurants you feature, and the Destination area you represent.  Once in the room, emphasize the grandeur, how the television works, the A/C controls, how to arrange for Room Service or tickets to events – the full gamut of the potential experience.  Leave your Business Card and do not accept a gratuity.  As you also have their information from the Front Desk, write them, rather than e-mail, after departure, thanking them for their business.

What have you accomplished?  First let’s do the math.  In a given week, you have “roomed” six (6) Guests; in a month, twenty four (24) Guests.  If members of your Executive Committee have also participated (say four members of Senior Management), you have now “touched” ninety six (96) guests personally in thirty (30) days. Now, multiply by twelve (12).  You can see the mechanics and should be suitably awed by the dynamic.  Guest Contact sky rockets!

You now have a connection; you have created a relationship; and, you have demonstrated behavior which is not normally experienced by the Guest.  Memorable?  You best believe!  Also, think of the impact on your associates.  Worth while? Absolutely, for those Guests, your new advocates, will talk about this experience and look favorably about a return to your hotel, especially if you keep the relationship fresh and meaningful.  It is far easier to retain an existing Guest rather than recruit a new one.  You also now have established loyalty and a cachet, for very few hoteliers are doing this.  Just think, personally connecting with your Guest, creating a relationship, crafting an experience, being innovative, leading the way. 

This is not Rocket Science.  However, it is getting back to basics, emphasizing Guest Services, where the Guest is again King, rather than an inconvenience!  Try it and let me know at: jhendrie@hospitalityperformance.com

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Contact:
John R. Hendrie, CEO
Hospitality Performance, Inc.
www.hospitalityperformance.com
978-346-4387
Also See: Hospitality QED, That's Latin to Me! / John Hendrie / June 2005
Unless You Operate a Business in a Very Remote Location, You Belong to the Amorphous “Brand-Scape” /  John R. Hendrie / June 2005 
Maximize the Performance of Your Greatest Asset - Your Employees / John R. Hendrie / May 2005
Preparing for the Assault by Organized Labor on Hospitality / John R. Hendrie / May 2005
Customer Service - Panacea or Placebo / John R. Hendrie / May 2005
How to Even the Playing Field, As Independents Suspiciously Eye the Chain Hotels / John R. Hendrie / April 2005
Oh, What a Web We Weave! Pitfalls with Descriptive Language / John R. Hendrie / April 2005
Woe is We! We in Hospitality Have Lost Touch and Share the Responsibility for Consumer Cynicism, Angst and Ennui / March 2005
Moving the Guest Comment Card from Paper to Paperless / John Hendrie / March 2005
Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association Launches 'Total Quality Destination' and Presents 'Gold Star of Excellence Awards' / March 2005
The Evolution of Guest Room Amenities / John Hendrie / February 2005
Advertising Integrity; Framing the Visitor's Expectation Through Print, Signage & Internet / John Hendrie / February 2005
Hospitality Trade Associations:  What Have You Done for Me Lately? / February 2005
I Would Like to See your Hospitality Standards. Where Are They? Anybody Seen Them? / John Hendrie / January 2005
Remarkable Hospitality - the Road Map to Excellence; Exceeding the Expectations of our Guests / John Hendrie / January 2005
Are Your Guests Expecting Mediocrity with Your Hospitality Services? Move Your Level of Excellence to the Remarkable / John Hendrie / December 2004
Guest Services - A Tradition Diminished / John Hendrie / December 2004
Rescue from Mediocrity; The Decline of Service Etiquette - A Sequel / John Hendrie / November 2004
Offering Crushed Pepper Before Tasting the Entrée; The Decline of Restaurant Service Etiquette / John Hendrie / October 2004
Destination Marketing – How to rebuild your Reputation and the upcoming Season after the Hurricanes / John Hendrie / September 2004
Six Factors Which Dictate Success in Performing Destination Marketing / John Hendrie / September 2004
Influencing the Consumer to Book Business through Your Commitment to Quality / Aug 2004
Major Hotel Operators Have Rediscovered Hospitality Fundamentals by Revisiting the Guest Room / John R. Hendrie / July 2004
Destination Marketing 101: Take Care of Mom / John R. Hendrie / June 2004
Service Unions Combine, Presenting Huge Challenge to Hospitality Industry / John R. Hendrie / March 2004
What Value Quality? Most Hospitality Operators Use the Term “Quality” In their Advertising. What Exactly Does that Mean? / John R. Hendrie / April 2004


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