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How well do you know your hotel and your town?
Think of what it might be like if you arrived in a new place, to use the cliché, “a stranger in a strange land.” You come to your hotel – your home away from home – and you have questions. What is there to do around here? What’s a good place to eat? Are there any special things to see while I’m here?
Now put yourself on the other side – can you help that visitor, that stranger, and make them feel comfortable and welcome? Do you have a knowledgeable team in place to help your guests feel at home? Because that’s a big “plus” in attracting repeat business and delivering positive guest experiences.
It’s as simple as a guest asking a hotel team member a question, and the staff member giving a helpful response. For argument’s sake, “I don’t know” comes across as “no,” and is not an acceptable answer for your guest. Your guest expects you to know the answer, or help them find the answer in a timely fashion.
Your team’s response to a guest’s question can be “bridged” with simple responses, such as “What a good question,” or “We’re going to learn this one together,” or “I’d be happy to find this out for you,” or “allow me to consider this for you.” The words “I don’t know” must be eliminated from the vocabulary of your team members!
We’ve identified two key factors that will assist you in this endeavor. First and foremost is developing a persona of hospitality versus a service mentality. A service-oriented person answers the question literally, “I don’t know.” Whereas a hospitality centric person recognizes that the guest is simply looking to them to facilitate obtaining the answer, not that they are inquiring of the individual’s IQ.
The second factor is the answer to the question, “why?” Why doesn’t the associate have the answer to the guest’s question? Most questions asked by guests are common, so ask yourself, “Why didn’t my associate have the answer? Why weren’t they prepared to answer the guest’s question?” The answers to these questions further answer the query of what a property’s culture: is it service based or hospitality based?