Hotels and restaurants both form a large part of the hospitality industry and customer service is vital to both. These businesses live and die by customer satisfaction because of the public exposure they’re always open to. Guests are only too eager to share stories of their holiday or dining experience – both good and bad.
It can often be valuable to look at what businesses in other parts of your industry are doing, and seeing how you compare or what you might be able to employ in your own business strategies.
There are similarities between service in restaurants and hotels, but also a few differences.
Let’s see how great customer service in restaurants translates to achieving guest satisfaction in hotels.
A great first step is turning ‘service’ into ‘hospitality’
Service is basically about performing a task; doing something for someone. It denotes a mechanical action. On the other hand, hospitality is about making an impression on someone and going the extra mile to make their experience a memorable one. The interaction involved in hospitality is a genuine one and should be based on a caring attitude.
Hospitality is something the best restaurants do extremely well. Customers will generally be served by one waiter their entire visit and will be made to feel like close friends or family, constantly attended to and conversed with warmly. Any requests will be responded to immediately. By the end of the meal, customers will look forward to coming back and seeing their waiter again.
In hotels, guests might interact with many different staff members throughout their stay, meaning they don’t always get this personal connection. They may have to wait longer for services and might get frustrated when the staff member doesn’t remember their preferences.
The attentiveness of restaurants is certainly something hotels can try to replicate. Some things to try is to greet guests by name, get to know their interests, and don’t delay when they want attention.
Giving guests a personalised experience at your hotel
A recent report shows full-service and fast food restaurants are revamping their menus and establishing more mobile ordering options, to the delight of customers.
Restaurants are adapting their menus and technology to align with shifting consumer preferences. This looks at millennial tastes for fresh food, mobile ordering, and automated kiosks. The bottom line is that restaurants are working hard to please consumers in a way the customers are dictating, resulting in higher satisfaction.
Hotels need to do the same. New technology, both front and backend, needs to be explored if customer service is to improve. Again this comes back to hospitality and personalisation.
Give each specific guest what they need. Even if you look at mobile check-in, it’s not something everyone wants. Obviously some guests will be in a rush or tired from travel and simply want to get to their room as fast as possible. Others will be craving some human interaction. It’s about what’s convenient for the individual hotel guest.
Technology should be able to help hotels in every regard. Think about how technology can improve the in-room experience, especially when it comes to speeding up room service or cleaning processes. Conversely, if backend tech that makes it easier to manage reservations and distribution is used, more time can be dedicated to guest experience.
Empower staff to solve their own problems
Nothing will frustrate a customer more than a staff member always needing to clear something with their manager. Not only does this take more time, but it makes the staff member look incompetent.
Quality restaurants will take difficult or specific requests in their stride and provide customers with any special needs they require. If something goes wrong, their constant hands-on experience allows them to solve it, without the intervention of a manager. Again, it’s done with a smile on their face because nothing is too much trouble for a valued customer.
Hotels need to train and empower their staff this way too. A great example is The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, where even hourly employees have permission to spend up to $2,000 per guest to solve any problem or dissatisfaction that may arise, without needing to ask for approval or involve management. And it’s not the amount of money that’s the point; it’s the instant no-need-for-approval empowerment, which enables quick solutions for guests.
Hire the right traits in staff at your hotel
The very best restaurant staff show a passion for their job and authentic desire to make people happy. While the hospitality industry is one where skills can be learned on the job and thus standards may be lax, the approach taken to hiring staff must be taken very seriously. How is a grumpy, sullen staff member supposed to placate a grumpy, sullen guest?
To name just a few, some necessary traits a hotel should find it its staff include:
To continue growing the success of your hotel, keep your hotel staff happy and motivated by taking our 14-day challenge.