A basic greeting from hotel staffer to hotel guest can never go wrong. It’s easy; it’s fast; it’s a sign that you are always welcome. Even better would be to follow-up the salutation with a simple, “How are you?” or “Can I help you with anything?”
And yet, at many establishments outside of the five-star or ultra-luxury snack bracket, the only hello I get is the perfunctory one at check-in; an instance where I approach the front desk and not the other way around, where an employee goes out of his or her way to offer assistance. While I wouldn’t expect a housekeeper or maintenance worker to drop everything and cater to my every immediate whim, stopping for a second to greet me is nonetheless uplifting. Questions without a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer are even better as they imply a more descriptive response.
You say all the right things with a quick and warm salutation. It demonstrates that your staff are both friendly and ready to help. As mentioned above, it elevates guests’ moods, letting them know that their patronage is valued and that your hotel is committed to bona fide hospitality. Saying hello also carries with it a profound sense of veneration; that each guest commands enough respect to be welcomed at every instance.
Importantly, the saying, ‘you never know until you ask’ is readily applicable to these routine interactions. Not every guest is an effusive extrovert, and often when there is a grievance it will be go unstated until said introvert gets around to telling friends about the stay or reviewing your property on TripAdvisor. In fact, there is always something a hotel employee can do to improve a customer’s stay, even if it is just a reminder that the staff member is kind and thoughtful enough to ask.
To recap, always initiate conversation and greet guests everywhere, not just at check-in, on approach to the concierge desk or when seated at a restaurant. A quick training refresher should cover this. But more than speaking the words, the true power of hello lies in how the words and any subsequent questions are spoken.
For this, the attribute of warmth cannot be understated. Speak slowly, eloquently and with a smile. Above all, though, the drive for serving a guest must come from within. This isn’t something you teach so much as you screen during the hiring phase. Beyond that, make a guest feel welcome with each and every encounter as an unassuming trick to boost guest satisfaction.