In the hospitality industry, truly professional staffers know that they’re always customer-facing. Even if their jobs don’t include dealing directly with guests, the guests will always see them as representing the hotel. Sharing elevators, answering questions and being asked to solve problems are part of the job for every staffer.
When a guest asks you to solve a problem, that’s a Guest Opportunity. Hospitality management specialists at Stark Service Solutions define a Guest Opportunity as whenever any guest has experienced a breakdown in PACE.
What Is Pace?
PACE stands for:
Perception of professional hospitality
All guest complaints stem from a breakdown in PACE. And by perfecting PACE, nearly all guest issues and complaints can be eliminated. When a breakdown in PACE does occur, the staffer’s job is to identify this breakdown of PACE as a Guest Opportunity and recover the situation to maintain the guest’s satisfaction with and loyalty to the hotel property at this critical moment.
Perception of Professional Hospitality
Your friendliness, professionalism, and helpfulness are perceived favorably by the guest, from the words you choose to your tone of voice and your body language. Encounters perceived as unprofessional include the guest’s name not being used, and statements like “That’s not my table” or “You’ll have to call engineering.” Own every request, own every problem and resolve it to the guest’s satisfaction.
If your guest has to ask for something, there’s been a breakdown in the accuracy of their experience. Do the meeting room tables lack paper and pens? Is the name misspelled on a guest’s reservation? Is the room’s bathroom waste basket full? Did the guest order low-fat milk and receive whole milk instead?
Inconsistencies irritate guests, who respond positively to everything being where it’s supposed to be. Mastering consistency can lead directly to success. As Ray Kroc discovered, McDonald’s customers didn’t want the best hamburger, they wanted the same hamburger. We, humans, are creatures of habit, and any variation at all can make guests uneasy and suspicious. It’s important to align activities and services to solid levels of consistency.
“So tired, tired of waiting…” Don’t leave your guests hanging. They don’t want to wait, but it may seem foolish or pointless to complain. It’s up to the hotel staffers to catch a glitch in the customer experience; is the guest still waiting for their order to be taken? Are they waiting because their room was not ready? Did the guest have to call engineering more than once to get a response? The more sensitive you are to the smallest glitches, the fewer there will be in the guest’s experience.
Remember, for those of us in the hospitality industry, Guest Opportunities are why we exist. Every Guest Opportunity is your opportunity to win a loyal customer, and to ensure that the guest won’t want to stay with your competition on their next visit.
Naomi Stark is the President and CEO of Stark Service Solutions LLC