News for the Hospitality Executive
Front Desk Hotel Training Can Generate Future Business
|by Doug Kennedy
June 6, 2009
When it comes to creating positive first impressions, the job of front desk associate is arguably the most important of any hotel staffer. For guests booking online or via third parties, the front desk literally is their first impression. Even for those who have spoken with the reservations team by phone prior to arrival, their front desk arrival experience will set the tone for their entire stay.
Guests who have a positive experience at check-in are certain to be more understanding later, if/when they have objections or complaints later during their stay. In other words if they have a good experience at the front desk, they will be much more forgiving later when a room service tray is delivered late, when the air conditioning breaks, or when a housekeeping request is overlooked.
Contrarily, guests who have a negative first impression can become hyper-critical; they will spend the rest of their stay almost looking for things to add to their “list,” which they will giving to their attorney first thing on Monday!
When I was ascending the ranks of hotel management years ago we were always told that an unhappy guest tells 9-10 other people. Now in the era of consumer generated media and social networking, the potential reach of “word of mouth advertising” is much greater. The potential negative (or positive) impact of a guest review at TripAdvisor, or even a posting at someone’s Facebook or Myspace page, is almost unimaginable compared to days of old when we only had to worry about someone telling their friends and neighbors.
Unfortunately, just as it always has, most training that takes place these days at the front desk is still of the “on-the-job” variety with little or no direct involvement from upper and mid-level management. Instead, the budding new front desk superstars spend their first day shadowing whichever veteran staff member happens to be working that day; someone who likely has no training skills and few if any training resources.
Do you remember the game of “Telephone” or “Whisper down the lane” we all played as kids whereby the first person would be told a story and then would have to pass it on to the next player, who would pass it to the next, etc….? Do you remember how much the story changes after having been passed to just three or four people? Using this analogy, it is easy to imagine how important procedures, standards, and processes don’t get properly communicated to the new staff and thus eventually erode over time.
It is also easy to imagine why the turnover is so high for the front desk staff position in particular; especially when you think about how frustrating this situation can be for a newly hired, career minded associates most of whom want to do their very best, having survived the extensive pre-employment screening processes most hotels have in place and thus having proven they “…really do love working with people!”
Hotel managers in today’s era need to recognize how important it is to properly indoctrinate new staff, especially those at the front desk, and to have a formalized process in place for both new-hire and ongoing training.
Here are some suggestions for new-hire training at the front desk:
Doug Kennedy, President
|Also See:||Front Desk Training Is The Key To Capturing More Walk-In Business / June 2009|
|To Get More Bookings - Work With – Not Against Your Central Reservations Providers / Doug Kennedy / May 2009|
|Generate More Revenue By Making Training Everyone’s Job / Doug Kennedy / April 2009|
|Hotel Reservations Sales Training Tips - Circa 2009 / Doug Kennedy / March 2009|
|Is That the Best Rate You Have? - How to Train Your Voice Reservations Agents To Handle Today's Deal-Seekers / Doug Kennedy / February 2009|
|First Step In New Sales: Believe It Is Possible! / Doug Kennedy / January 2009|
|Good News Formula For RevPar in 2009 / Doug Kennedy / January 2009|
|Alluring Descriptions Are Key To Converting Hotel Reservation Callers / Doug Kennedy / November 2008|
|Bringing Out The Best from Our Most Negative Hotel Guests - Brings Out The Best In Ourselves / Doug Kennedy / October 2008|
|Profit Optimization Is Everyone's Job / Doug Kennedy / August 2008|
|Hotel Lessons Learned Growing Up In Kennedy Craft Shop / Doug Kennedy / July 2008|
|Personalized Hospitality Excellence Still A Deliverable! / Doug Kennedy / June 2008|
|Real Conversations vs Rigid Scripting Increases Reservations Productivity / Doug Kennedy / May 2008|
|Hotel Lessons Learned From A Five-Star School Principal / Doug Kennedy / April 2008|
|Road Warrior Shares Tips On How Hotel Guests Can Minimize Environmental Impact / Doug Kennedy / March 2008|
|Right-Sized Staffing Ensures Front Desk Sales & Service Success / Doug Kennedy / December 2007|