We’re at the heart of the issue. As welcome is purely human and unpredictable by essence, the study revealed a painful atmosphere in the major traditional chain hotels. They provide an efficient and highly qualitative welcome but it is not sufficient today, as new customers are looking for authenticity, they could find in lifestyle properties or small villas… Also, major changes in the management are requested to get adapted to the new digital tools while providing the ultimate mission of hospitality. Only these managerial changes could bring the expected knowledge and a compassionate climate to welcome the guests in the properties and destinations.
In this article, we will examin the four managerial practices that are highly recommended because of their direct impacts on satisfaction. And happy employees would naturally provide a qualitative, highly personalized and authentic welcome.
A better recruitment
In the new practices of the welcome, guest managers and advisors should replace the receptionists. Data scientists, sensor specialists, social media experts also should arrive to bring new skills in the client of communication management. There is also a surge in demand for tech and marketing skills, including local advisors for the destination or for specific segment of customers’ needs. For example: art, shopping, children, pets… The challenge is to find these talents and put the right persons to the right job.
HR teams should reconsider their approach to talent management, reviewing how recruit and select new staff. Have a large experience in another sector is now an asset to bring new practices in the customer relationship in hospitality.
To enhance the welcome, hotels need to put people with a required mix of advanced technical and marketing skills. The challenging practice is to extract meaningful insights from customer data and get it available to enable personalization.
Staff empowerment is the direct consequence of this new technological and organizational structure. The objective is to train and trust them to use this knowledge, anticipate guests’ wants and needs and co-create experiences in face-to-face or on the different points of contact (telephone, tablets, internet, and smartphone).
This is also a huge opportunity to stop controlling the interactions during the welcome with a huge number of standards. When a receptionist is perfect in her job, giving all information to the guest about his room, his loyalty program, his services… with all the brand standards, but not a moment, she could leave her eyes from the screen to look at the guest and may be see he’s covered with sweat and needs a drink… where is the authentic welcome?
Happy employees will be more dedicated to customer’s satisfaction, this is absolutely true in the welcome. That why, paying a great attention to the staff and welcome them as VIP’s, is what should be done. Not only at the arrival day, but every day. Because creating employees’ satisfaction will automatically enhance the welcome, above all the other material and behavioral practices. At the contrary, the staff in contact, and people in generally; cannot welcome the others if they don’t feel themselves welcomed at first in the organization. When employees are happy, they will naturally take care of the guests and build the welcome reputation of the hotel.
This practice includes testing the luxury offers: sleep in the deluxe rooms, eat in the starred restaurant, test the SPA, try the attractions and local visits… and be supported by hands-on managers.
Exemplarity of the leader
There is a great deal of interest in the leader’s personality with direct impacts on the guests welcome and the employee satisfaction. The rising trend is the reverse managerial pyramid, even in big chain hotels. A manager is leading because he is serving the others. He has to practice exemplarity, giving confidence to his employees. With great qualities: be humble, genuine, accept the others as they are, know perfectly the product and the customers, and serve the needs of others.
“Making the guests feel at home” should be consistent and incarnated by the leader first. For example, if a General Manager welcomes a guest and find something wrong in cleanliness, he should take care of it spontaneously and personally, like one would do in his own house (pick up the litter for example). This gesture sends the following message to the guest: “I’m in my house, and happy to welcome you, and I will do everything to make you feel welcomed in this house too.”