Hotel Online  Special Report

 A Smile is Really a Simple Thing – an Expression
of Welcome, No Cost Involved


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

"Smile, It Enhances Your Face Value"

Attributable to a noted Hotelier?  Implored by your Dental Hygienist? Emblematic of that horrid button?

Actually, this line was spoken by Dolly Parton in “Steel Magnolias” (courtesy of AHLA News Brief).  Ms. Parton has that energy and charm packaged in authenticity.  No matter how you might regard her many talents, she is magnetic – her self-effacing humor engaging, a huge voice from a tiny body, a smile which is infectious, and, by the way, she is in Hospitality, directing quite an empire, which entertains millions.  She knows from whence she drawls.

This year I visited a Destination Resort area, which had all the ingredients for success – location, venues, recreation.  Product quality was quite good, service standards upheld, and the facilities were in decent condition.  But, there was a lack of joy and excitement in many of the Hospitality businesses.  I am sure that the reasons were multifaceted, but their travails met you at the front door.  No one smiled, which left me, the Visitor, distressed.  A smile is really a simple thing – an expression of welcome, there is no cost involved, it is voluntary and usually sincere.  Without it, you lose that critical first impression of Hospitality, and your business will suffer.

This particular quotation above captures four (4) components of the Experience we frame for our Visitors and Guests.

VALUE:  Almost as hard to translate as Quality, for we all have different definitions and levels of import.  But, value does imply worth, distinction and an expected fair return for our money, our goods, and our services.  From the Visitor’s and Guest’s perspective, they expect the  experience we have crafted for them.  Punctuate that with a smile, and they will return.

FACE:  The landscape of our being.  We scrub it, beautify it, grow assorted whiskers, remember it, use it as a noun and a verb.  Face is very flexible.  In Asia, this is an extremely vital concept and permeates much of the social fabric.  It allows for a level of grace and respect in all transactions – personal and professional.  Any exchange, the give and take of our energy and resources, establishes some result. And, a smile makes it that more memorable.

ENHANCEMENT:  We all communicate through body language – the messages transmitted by our mannerisms, posture, attention and movement.  Body language demonstrates attitude.  Guest and Visitor impressions are established through our attitude – the sullen Front Desk Clerk, the harried waitress, the obsequious sales associate, the rude ticket taker – eye contact, order taking, unnecessary waiting, the cold shoulder, hands in pocket, hung head – very strong messages.  “Don’t bother me; you are not important; I don’t care.”  We all know the signs – our business is not valued, and we are not respected.  Enhancement involves attention to behavior, for everything can be improved and the level of service delivery elevated.  The power of a smile sets the tone for the Experience. 

THE SMILE:  A simple muscle contraction, brought about by joy, pleasure, relief, confidence, and, dare I say it, a commitment to service.  Yet, it can take so many forms.  “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera” produces the sheepish grin.  Smile for the family photograph creates the grimace.  Smiling when you think you have all the answers results in the smirk. Washington and Hollywood promote the phony semblance.  And, with a good joke, a smile leads to a laugh.  With the above, you can appreciate the many forms of a smile and the stimuli which encourage those muscles to move.

As a Consumer, I can be compassionate and understand that you are having a bad day, that the Boss is on you, the children are sick, you have a toothache, and the litany goes on.  What I will not abide is your inattention to my needs.  A smile sets the stage for our transaction; it provides accessibility, the welcome and care.  Plus, a smile is contagious.  Watch out, I may respond in kind! 

John R. Hendrie, CEO
Hospitality Performance, Inc.
Also See: Lead the Trend to Becoming Guest-Centric; Demonstrating Behavior Not Normally Experienced by the Guest / John R. Hendrie / June 2005
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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