The research on the welcome and the full complement of expert and general managers led us to a series of innovative practices (technology, design, SOP, HR) that would hopefully enhance the guest experience in the future. But the overall feeling was still skeptical… Some even displayed their dismay when foreseeing if those elements would really have a positive impact on the happiness of the staff and the satisfaction of the guests. “So what else can we try?” “How possible is it without a big change?” That was the time I found Peter McAlpine’s articles on the web, describing a totally different approach called the “Heart-based Hospitality”. I asked him for an interview recently, even if my thesis was already published.
In the following two posts, I will bring some elements of his vision on the welcome experience. Like Saint-Exupery used to say: “What is essential, is invisible to the eye”. Peter’s view treats of a really innovative practice based on Science and Quantum energy and ancient knowledge, which echo with the thesis’ conclusions. Ready for this journey?
#1 Peter, how did you come to integrate Energy in Hospitality practices?
I was working in hotel training in Five Stars hotels, and I was surprised of how the effect of training the staff was having on the customer satisfaction. So I started looking at the Internet and accidently, I came across Energy and then, I simply took Energy further. The other artifact is the Bahá’í teachings. Its beliefs address such essential themes as the oneness of humanity and every creation, and the Writings refer often to the effect of changing energy on happiness, health, and environment, and how to change energy. It led me to studying how ancient cultures used energy to influence the environment, instill happiness, and to heal; what quantum science has discovered about energy; thought and heart energy research; and also ways to change one’s energy and send it. I started combining more and more and tried it out in the workshops. It’s true I was in the right country for that, as I was living in Thailand (in a Buddhist country). The staff heard these things from the monks.
#2 What are the principles of heart energy?
It is not New Age fantasy, it’s based on Science. Our thoughts, emotions, and spoken words are vibrating energy, which influence people and the world around us, and this can be proved and measured scientifically. This means that we cannot clone and have similar hotels everywhere as people, spaces, buildings and the environment have a direct influence on the guests. The principles are that everything is made of vibrating energy; that everything is connected to everything else; and that everybody is connected to everyone else. By using scientific and ancient knowledge about energy, thought energy, and heart energy the guest experience globally could be completely transformed within 1 or 2 years in the Hospitality Industry.
#3 Do you agree that this approach is really innovative and revolutionary in the Hospitality Industry?
Yes, that’s my first impression. Hoteliers expect a more tangible answer, such as some new technology, new computer software, a new form of social media, or a miraculous new app. But no, the Next Big Thing is essentially intangible. Today, machines can photograph and film energy and measure it, and we can feel it. We can see the effects of thought energy and heart energy on healing illness at great distances. We can use energy at great distances to make plants grow faster or make water healthier to drink, and we can feel it. But we cannot see it, and this seems to be the essential problem. “How can it be the Next Big Thing, if we can’t see it?”….
#4 You have created Heart-based hospitality? What is it about?
It’s a heart-based experience, which every guest should experience in Hotels, and especially Luxury Hotels. Its basis is the use of energy and a focus on the core values of Hospitality, namely loving kindness, compassion, and authentic heart-warming care. It creates a guest experience, which is not mechanical in nature or emotionally and energetically flat like in a typical SOP-Customer Satisfaction hotel, but strong in the energy of love for fellow human beings. Only energetic, heart-touching experiences are remembered by the guests and produce a durable and unforgettable “wow” effect.
In practice it involves using energy, thought energy, and heart energy to create the guest experience, and opening the hearts of the staff so that their natural loving kindness and compassion flow unhindered. There are many exciting ways to do this. If you want to create an energetic guest experience with a high emotional value, you have to increase the vibration of the management and staff. When staff change the vibration of their energy field, they will feel happier, and the feel of the hotel environment will change in a positive way. It will make the staff feel amazingly happy, and it will send waves of high frequency energy to the guests who will feel happier and more peaceful. And having happy guests equals higher revenue.
#5 What are the real needs of the guests?
I often ask the guests what level of care they want and specifically, “What is it that you really want from your hotel stay? ” Women and men give similar answers, but it can be harder to get men to respond true to their heart.
The answers go from superficial things like “Service” at the beginning, So I ask them, “What else do you want to have?” They may then reply, “Good food and good facilities”. So I push them to go deeper. “What else?” The men often don’t want to say what they really want because they don’t want to show weakness. So they reply by saying, “Care”. “What kind of care do you want?” And then we arrive at what they really want. You get deeper and deeper and then eventually, you get the men to say “Love”. They want to feel loved. It’s not romantic love they want, but a kind of mothering love. When they give this answer from the heart it has the effect of a catharsis on them.
We all know what the guests want. It’s the same as what we all want from life: Love and to be loved. This is only possible if we help staff to become who they really are. When connected to their true nature, love energy will flow naturally. The typical western / corporate, SOP- Customer Satisfaction approach does not allow this to happen easily. Love seems to be a persona non grata.
#6 How could Heart-based Hospitality be applied to the welcome?
Hotels can apply these energy practices in various ways to enhance the welcome. First, it’s about making the reception area feel energetically different. And you can reach this with two aspects:
- You can physically change the feeling of a place.
You can change the energy of the staff and increase their desire to want to show loving kindness and heart-warming care by changing the energy of the physical Reception area. You can even send energy to guest rooms to make them feel more pleasant, even from kilometers away. Conversely, you can teach the staff ways to change their own energy, which will not only affect the energy of the physical Reception area, but also increase their desire to show loving kindness and compassion during the welcome or at any time.
For example, by practising certain love energy-related meditations in the Reception area the staff can create a warm, energetic feeling in the physical area. This changes both themselves and the energy of the area. It is beneficial to practise these meditations together with various energetic ways, which change the energy of the physical area, because together you can increase the warmth and loving kindness of the staff as well as make the guests feel happier.
This is science as well as ancient knowledge. Energy techniques and a focus on loving kindness, compassion, and heart-warming care will bring the staff back in line with their true, authentic, loving human nature. You can measure these things, even photograph them. Why the hotel industry does not take advantage of this I have no idea.
- You can change the energy of the staff.
You can help the staff to change the energy of their auric field. It is very easy to do. The more they feel in line with who they are, the more they will become loving, kind, and compassionate and the more they will want to welcome others. The more their heart energy becomes coherent, the more they will be in line with their true nature. In Heart-Based Hospitality, you’re not forcing people to become something they are not; rather, you are helping them to go back to what they really are.
With these two aspects you can create a very different feeling in the welcome and throughout the guest experience. When you change the energy of the physical area, it impacts the energy of the staff, and the more they change their own energy in various ways, the more they’ll become their real selves, and the more they will want to show compassion and loving-kindness to each other and to the guests. So automatically, there will be a natural change in the welcome. Indeed, you will find that they will slow down and become more graceful. Their body language will change along with their heart and their service and the welcome will become softer and much more pleasant.
#7 What else can we do?
Having a low ceiling is a good thing. I have never gone into a big hotel with a tall and grand entrance and felt, “Wow! It feels good here!” Energy can be more concentrated in a small area, so having a smallish lobby is a good thing. Keep everything natural and simple. Designers should consider the energetic effect of their designs. Art chosen in guest rooms and public areas should have a pleasing energetic effect. Abstract art does not have the same effect as photographs or paintings of Nature, for example.
There is no limit to the ways in which you can change the feelings created by the welcome, but the way to change the welcome is by understanding and changing energy. This affects every gesture, movement, thought, verbal statement, and action. The welcome becomes stronger and stronger in loving energy. For example, when the Receptionist takes you to your room on arrival, it is their warm energy, which creates the memorable feelings, not the level of efficiency. A Receptionist with a really open heart will make the spirit of the rooming feel amazing. The rooming becomes soft and gentle, and the person is not showing loving kindness and compassion because the SOP requires it, but because she (or he) genuinely wants you to be happy. It is not about getting a tip or anything like that.
This was the first part of my interview. What is puzzling is that the objectives of Heart- based Hospitality correspond exactly to the needs and challenges of Hospitality today and the conclusions of my research thesis on the welcome. Guests want authenticity and love. And this can only happen, if we love ourselves first and teach the employees how to get reconnected to their true nature. Welcome is also about “creating an atmosphere in which every visitor will feel himself to be loved” (Kenneth Hudson, UNESCO). The true innovation is thus in the response that is given by this expert to get back concretely to our true essence. In the following post, we will explore how this is put into motion and actually used in hotels and resorts, and what his vision is for the future.
About the interviewee: Peter Mc Alpine is the Senior Consultant at Renaissance Consulting Ltd. in Bangkok. The company specializes in pre- opening 5-star hotels and resorts; in creating an energetically strong guest experience, which he calls Heart-based Hospitality; and in upgrading hotels from the pervasive level of SOP-Customer Satisfaction. The company’s strength lies in creating a guest experience that has a very warm energy and feeling, and which is strong in loving kindness, compassion, and heart-warming care. In addition to his LinkedIn profile, you can contact Peter at firstname.lastname@example.org