What’s in a name (tag) or a uniform?

As you may have realized by now, we at Guestwho Mystery Guest Services, are all about making a great first impression, and what better way to do that than to ensure your staff members are neatly presented and well-dressed?

Do uniforms make a difference?

  • they instantly create a team and unite staff (even if it is over their loathing of the uniform);
  • uniforms ensure all staff look similar and are easily identifiable by your guests / patrons;
  • they can immediately make an impression on guests (clean, neat uniforms translate in the minds of guests to clean, neat rooms and facilities);
  • regardless of your employees’ personal circumstances, providing them with uniforms means they do not need to worry about how to dress or be concerned about additional financial implications of “dressing the part”;
  • uniforms can further establish your brand – through colour, style and use of your logo.

What’s in a name?

Often going hand-in-hand with uniforms are personalized employee name tags (as opposed to name tags that simply reflect the individuals job position or title such as “manager”).

Are name tags important? Absolutely! They allow patrons to identify your staff members and create a more personal atmosphere.  They also allow guests to know the name of the individual who assisted them when complimenting (or complaining!) about your business. Name tags establish a bond between your guests and staff and should be worn at all times.

Do it properly or not at all

Uniforms and name tags are both great tools that can be used to further the image and professionalism of your establishment, however, if not well-maintained or well-implementing, they can have quite the opposite effect.  Often restaurants and hotels try to save costs by asking employees to wear all black or black and white.  While this can work for smaller establishments, you lose control over the style of dress worn, the quality of the clothing and the overall picture of unity, neatness and cleanliness. So, if you do require your staff members to wear uniforms and name tags, do it properly or not at all!

Uniforms - she isn't wearing one!

Uniforms – she isn’t wearing one!

Do you have any additional comments on wearing uniforms and name tags? Let us know in the comment box below!

Surprises are great – just not on the bill! (our mystery guest views)

The most amazing hotel, lodge, restaurant or spa experience can be ruined (beyond repair) by a nasty surprise on the bill (check) or account at check-out.

Those hidden costs

Guestwho, a mystery guest services company, has noticed a trend among hotels, lodges and spas to offer a great rate or special but then have a number of add-on costs.

There is no big issue with additional costs, but the problem comes when these are not clearly explained to the guest or patron and/or where the additional costs are not displayed prominently or at least in an accessible manner (such that a guest knows that if they want to make use of that service it will cost x amount of money).

In respect of services, amenities or facilities, the use of which would ordinarily be expected to be included in the fee, it is all the more important to ensure guests are aware that these carry an additional cost.

First and last impressions

It is said that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, and while we at Guestwho firmly support this and the importance of making a great first impression, even if everything else at your hotel, lodge, restaurant or spa has been absolutely perfect and the guest has had the most amazing time, nothing can ruin that experience more than a nasty surprise on the bill for some cost that the guest had thought was included or a complimentary amenity.

The effect can be so damaging that even though the guest may not complain, their memory and recollection of their experience at your establishment will be forever tainted by the unwelcome expense, to such an extent that they may never return.

What is expected?

These are some items or services that guests would expect to be included in the room cost / treatment cost –

  • Hotels – use of hotel gym, swimming pool, tea & coffee service in room, hotel breakfast, in-room hotel amenities (toiletries), wifi;
  • Lodgesgame drives, non-alcoholic drinks, all meals (if your lodge advertises as “all inclusive”);
  • Spas – use of swimming pool, steam room, sauna, non-alcoholic drinks, light snacks and fruit.

We are not suggesting that you cannot charge for the use of these services or amenities, but rather that if you choose to charge for these, that you make this clear to your guests  – preferably on your website, as well as at the time the guest makes a reservation and again when they arrive at reception. Consider included a price list in guests’ rooms or readily available in the spa.

Mystery Guest Additional Expenses

Are there any other items that you (as a guest) would typically expect to be included?

Rude Receptionists – the importance of the front of house

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.

Rude receptionists

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).

Hotel Reception Front of House Mystery Guest