Huge money is invested every year in building luxurious hotels. Amounts that are sometimes way beyond belief and the finished property takes your breath away! The in-room technology is on such an Interstellar level you need to have somebody to introduce and explain all the remarkable features and functions to you. Restaurants serve the purest art on the plate using only the finest ingredients. Spa and pool designs by far overtake Disney`s imagination. Marble, gold and diamonds reflect the light from every possible angle. Stunning, thrilling & impressive. Everybody loves luxury but not everybody`s definition of luxury is the same.
Plenty of us are travelling a lot and I am sure we can recall many situations where we stayed in cheaper hotels close to the airport or private magnificent hidden gems or chained 5 stars and still the number of stars did not guarantee the feeling of pure luxury or comfort. Isn`t comfort a luxury? It is totally up to us which hotel we will choose, we read recommendations, reviews etc. to find the most suitable one. However, there is one thing we can`t choose… the people who serve us in the hotel/restaurant. I can tell many anecdotes about some high- end restaurants with lousy service I visited and I can also tell many stories about cheap hostels where the hosts were the biggest pamper and delight I have ever met! I am pretty sure you would also be able to present a few funny anecdotes as well.
Being asked what is the key component of the hotel, most managers will definitely say- people, the employees. And whilst that is a correct reply, it deserves a few more words. Recruitment is becoming more and more complex nowadays, the requirements are becoming constantly elevated. Who do we want to hire specially for line colleague position? We look for the best schools’ graduates, already with 2-3 year experience in the best scenario/location – abroad. What does this “ready product” guarantee when still each hotel has different training plan, different standards and philosophy? So why do we consider candidates without EHL diploma not suitable for position if we still conduct our brand`s training? When I interview people I look for 3 assets : common sense, genuineness and passion. Why? Because those three components make people anticipative. You can wake up passion in people and develop it (actually I believe that as a great manager/leader it is your responsibility) but you cannot wake up common sense or genuineness in people who were not born with them. Would these 3 components represent luxury for employers and guests alike?
Anticipation is an act of foreseeing, foreknowledge in order to prevent or extend certain actions or it could be understood as a realisation in advance. Anticipation in hospitality is more connected with sincerity and an honest care about another person, their satisfaction and their comfort. It is the ability to read and understand the mood and feelings of others and then act accordingly that sets true service hearts apart. Anticipation empowers staff to use standards according to the guest`s feeling or behaviour and elevates the service to a brand new level. It secures us from over-serving guest, being robotic (which is specially in high-end hotels – quite an annoying mistake) and it allows to simply pamper the guests when it comes to a certain requests or demands. Can anticipation be trained? Some will say yes and some will say no. I strongly believe that it can, if you as a manager are able to inspire and motivate your teams for extra steps. Share ideas with them, encourage them, appreciate their efforts!
Would you feel delighted if every person serving you in a hotel could “read you” and act accordingly? Would you feel better if after a long flight with 2 stopovers the receptionist recognized that you were tired and she minimised the talk and just escort you to your room ? Would you feel pampered if you were departing 5 am and a mini breakfast box was ready for you while doing the check out? Would you smile if you requested for extra shampoo and it came with extra conditioner as well? It doesn`t matter how many stars your hotel has, anticipation should be free of charge and a sincere personnel can cover up and exceed lack of pearl swimming pool, golden chandeliers in the restaurant and crystal glassware. Can you imagine how staff with amazing skills in anticipation could turn something simple into a real luxury?
BIO: Marta Otrebska is the first certified female 7 Star Butler in Poland. A freelance hotel & travel writer, service trainer. She worked for 4 years in hospitality in China including opening successful Club Lounge department in Mandarin Oriental Shanghai. Currently working a key support role with prestigious Magnums Butler Academy and Yacht Stewardess, training staff & travelling. Check her posts at www.pamperanddelight.com