Starting on the right foot matters! We have had gone through guest engagement and guest experience previously. If you haven't read the article we'd strongly recommend reading it. In summary, ~generally~ the more you get to know your guest and keep in touch with them, the better the guest experience. So, greeting guests initially becomes a significant factor in making the guest experience better. Hence we've done a humble study on how to welcome guests to your property, and make them feel at home!
First off, it's best to remind you, as a hotelier it's your responsibility to welcome guests and make them feel comfortable at your property. Therefore, knowing how to deal with people and how to brighten their day is essentially a skill you will have to work on and improve as time goes on!
1. Eye Contact & Smile
Before even a conversation is started you can effortlessly make your guests feel wanted and valued by maintaining polite eye contact. You don't need to stare at people for a long period of time just to make them feel at home. No! What you need to do is to calmly look at the travelers - no judgment - keep a beautiful smile on your face and that's it! You basically welcome guests without saying a word by this simple trick!
Furthermore, experts say a good greeting can remedy bad moods. So, if one of your guests comes from a long road trip or a bumpy flight, your beautiful smile brightens their day!
2. Acquaintances or Friends?
People naturally tend to become anxious - and a bit afraid - in unknown and new environments. It is up to you to welcome guests in a way that the anxiety is buried behind your doors. To start on the right foot, make acquaintances with your guests on the spot. Tell them your name and offer a helping hand. For example, you can ask them if they want you to show them around. Even if you don't really mean to help your guest out at this point in time, it's okay! Just let them know you are available to them.
Anyhow, if one of your current guests that you know better is at your reception or texting you, you can ask questions about their day and, generally, be more friendly as you already know each other. This will break the ice and create a friendlier warmer atmosphere.
We also advise all hoteliers to ask for feedback! "Are you enjoying your stay so far?", "How do you like the food here?", these are all questions that you can ask any of your travelers. Especially the lone-wolf travelers could sometimes use a conversation. This will greatly improve the guest experience.
3. Present Yourself Well
If you travel to different hospitality properties in the world, you will definitely notice how some traits vary from one property to another. The food, the landmark, the culture, and all those things aside one thing that is unique in every property is "the personality". How hotels and hostels brand themselves is what attracts travelers. Imagine you're visiting Paris. The food, the landmarks, and the culture are all the same in all the hotels. ~ it's French! ~ But what really makes the difference for each property is their branding characteristics.
So how does that have anything to do with welcoming guests? Here's the answer: the very first words you say, or the first email you send to the travelers can be so catchy, fun, and fresh that the traveler is immediately excited to see and hear more of you. That's exactly what we need! To welcome guests with such unique and fresh personalities that they immediately become enthusiastic!
For this, you can also customize your entry. Make puns, make stupid jokes, make dad jokes, or whatever! It doesn't really matter. What matters is presenting your brand as a unique, and fresh brand so that the travelers can distinguish you from the others!
4. Be a Helping Hand
Especially if your property is big in size, it can be confusing to travelers. Finding their way around, finding the bathroom, and all that. People get confused, it's nothing new! A little bit of anxiety and confusion is the seasoning of travel! You can, however, be the icebreaker and remedy the situation by offering a helping hand!
"Can I help you?", "Are you looking for something?", sentences like these should be heard a hundred times a day at your property, if you're doing it right!
Also, if guests ask you questions, be honest, precise, and straightforward. If there's a wait time for food to get ready for example, let them know how long they're going to wait approximately. It's better to know than building up false hope for nothing!
5. Keep a Positive Attitude
No matter what happens, you, as a hotelier are the positive thinker of the group! Your responsibility as a hospitality worker is to ensure your guest is having a good time. Having negative things in mind is never the answer. We all get tilted sometimes, it's understandable. But even when you are furious you will have to learn to contain the situation. As a host, if there's a red alert for any reason, if there's a hardware malfunction at your property, for instance, you are the person who's going to calm the situation.
If however, the bad of the situation gets into you as well, you can go for plan B. Call a colleague or a substitute to take care of the situation and calm yourself. It's better to leave the workplace than to work with a negative attitude.
This social skillset especially shines when you're welcoming guests into your property. The check-in process can be devastating sometimes, especially traditional check-in procedures, during the check-in process, and even after that, keep the smile on your face and maintain your positivity!