With digital technology reaching new heights every year, it’s no surprise that communication has undergone massive changes over the last few years. The rise of social media, the onset of cloud mobile platforms and the smartphone revolution have transformed the way people meet and greet one another. Direct, face-to-face communication has taken a backseat as people see more value in instant messaging. These trends have had widespread repercussions on hospitality – guests can now use their mobile devices to set up their entire trip.
This has had a profound effect on one aspect of the guest cycle – human connection. With telephones and walk in reservations becoming something of a rarity, the only place where hotels get to interact face-to-face with their guests is at the front desk. And it is here that they must make a good impression. But the front desk is so much more than a place to pick up the key – it personifies the values at the heart of the hotel.
While the large hotels begin to explore front desk robots as they seek ways to boost automation and decrease manpower, don’t ever let your property trade the warmth of a human smile for the cold sheen of a metallic face!
Here you’ll find some of the best front desk traits that will keep your guests feeling the warmth, throughout the duration of their stay –
Stay Calm, No Matter What:
It’s a well-known fact that the apparent peace and harmony seen in a hotel lobby is just an illusion – behind the curtains, there are several processes going on within various departments all over the property, and almost all of them require some level of interaction with the front desk. On busy days, things can get a lot more complicated. And when you add tired, irate travelers to the equation, a stressful situation becomes nerve-wracking. Make sure that your front desk staff have the necessary tolerance to deal with whatever’s thrown their way! Some after-hours yoga could be just the tonic they need.
Keep Abreast of Local Events:
Guests visiting the property are bound to have a lot of questions. Even with the vast influx of mobile apps available, your staff will always be expected to be knowledgeable about the area – the words ‘I Don’t Know’ must not exist in the vocabulary of a front desk agent! Of course it’s impossible to have all the answers everytime but even when you don’t, it’s much better to suggest something relevant that you’re well aware of, rather than give the impression that you’re not well-versed in the field.
Anticipate Guests’ Needs:
People don’t like to state what they consider to be the obvious. Especially hotel guests. So when a family with toddlers checks-in, they expect the room to have a bottle warmer, infant-friendly soaps, and anything that else that might be needed. When your staff are able to anticipate needs like this, it leaves a lasting impression on the guest – and creates a sense of trust. It’s highly likely that when they come back to the city, they’ll choose your property.
Nobody likes to feel foolish, least of all your guests. But they can come forward with the most bizarre of requests, and it’s the duty of your staff to ensure that those requests are entertained with the deepest sincerity. Train your employees to expect the unexpected and think on their feet. And to keep the warmth flowing – it’s not uncommon for guests to retract difficult requests just out of appreciation for the employee’s demeanor!
The power of a warm smile is too often underestimated – a sincere smile can melt through the frostiest of moods and disarm anything in it’s path! Guests are tired after the journey and they’re looking to get through the check-in process as quickly as possible – a smile isn’t going to hold them up! On the contrary, it can improve their mood and create a great first impression. Believe it or not, numerous psychological tests have proven that encountering a warm smile can substantially improve how a person perceives the rest of his day. This can be a great asset to hotels and the best part is, it costs nothing!
Employing a property management system streamlines all the various operations taking place in your hotel and displays all tasks on a single screen – making it easy for the front desk agent to communicate with the staff instantly. This kind of real-time communication simplifies the job of the agent, while improving the guest experience! While you can’t control the outcome of every event, you can ensure that the worst possible ones – like double-bookings – are eradicated with digital software.