Website and telephone bookings aside, the front of house / reception is the ultimate first impression-making opportunity for your hotel, lodge or spa, and yet this is an area where our mystery guests often identify significant issues.
You would be forgiven for thinking someone enters the hospitality industry because they enjoy being hospitable. At Guestwho, we have been amazed at just how rude and unwelcoming some receptionists can be – and at the most luxurious of hotels and estates! A disinterested, unfriendly and unhelpful receptionist can set the tone for the guest’s entire visit and really impact on that guest’s perception of your establishment, with the result that when they are again looking for an hotel, lodge or spa in that area, your business may very well not be their first choice.
Guest experience audit
Conducting your own hotel audit / customer experience audit can be tricky because everyone is nicer when the boss is around (hence the growth in mystery guest services) but we’ve included a mini-checklist below for what is expected of a great front of house –
- all persons in front of house should be friendly, polite, well-trained and well-mannered;
- they should be dressed immaculately and be wearing name badges;
- receptionists should welcome guests, introduce themselves and address the guest appropriately;
- when checking a guest into a room, receptionists should offer to make a reservation for the guest at the hotel’s restaurant (a great little up-sell!);
- staff should assist with any luggage;
- arrange that guests are escorted to their rooms, and shown the hotel’s features en route;
- similarly, at spas, a brief spa tour should allow patrons to be introduced to the spa’s facilities before they are escorted to the change rooms.
Our mystery guest suggestions
Some additional ideas to ensure your guests feel incredibly welcome at your luxurious establishment –
- offer guests a welcome drink on arrival (it needn’t be French champagne, some chilled water with mint or cucumber is inexpensive but a great gesture);
- provide complimentary bite-sized snacks, fruit and nuts in the reception area / lounge;
- ask guests checking-in whether they are visiting for business or pleasure –
- business, ask if they need a meeting room made available to them (assuming you have such facilities), if they need conference call dial-ins set-up for them and if they will be entertaining business guests and would like some restaurant suggestions (and then make any reservations for them);
- pleasure, suggest some local tourist attractions, offer maps of the area and suggest some local tours (if they are interested, make the reservation /s on their behalf).