What is excellent service ?
Hotel and restaurant service is a performance that requires and combines many skills but also values. It requires knowledge, techniques, motivation, attitude, honesty , respect ,tolerance , etiquette and pride. It is also physically demanding and requires additional skills like stress and time management. It needs professional leadership who share these values. It needs people who like the work, see the value, advance, and at the end it will be great satisfying fun.
Sometimes it is compared with a theatre stage performance but I personally like more the comparison with a great Symphony orchestra.
For the orchestra everything is written down – the notes and the times when to play the right note are clear to everyone. The conductor has practiced with all involved, the first violin is ready.
In the hotel the General Manager has everything in place , the furniture , technic and little details are taken care of , the flowers are arranged perfectly , the staff has been hired and briefed and trained now it is time to open the hotel.
Than its starts – both will perform for their audience!
Than the symphony has been played by the orchestra ,
the hotel service has been experienced by the guest
- people walk out from the Concert hall or the hotel whichever of the two performances they visited.
Now they are either carried away by a wonderful experience
or they are indifferent – it was okay
– or worse - they might be even disappointed.
Why ? The same notes written by Schumann or Beethoven, the same amount of musicians and staff , the same instruments and great acoustics.
In the hotel the same amount of services , restaurants , spa , and other facilities in the hotel.
Why are we totally amazed by a concert of an orchestra conducted by Bernstein , Kurt Masur or Seiji Ozawa and are disappointed by other conductors?
Emotions , feelings , positive energy , creating an experience and lasting memories are what hotels and Symphonies have in common. A team of musicians or a team of hotel staff can either create the experience from their heard or execute a technic only.
They might play as a team or just pretend to play as a team. The guest will notice.
The General Manager directs his staff with sincere respect, knowledge , feeling – they will share this feelings without words with the guest. Only executing standard operating procedures in a hotel, only playing one note after the other in the order they are written down will not provide perfect service or perfect music.
Brian K. Williams wrote in one of his articles “love is service and service is love “. The art is to deliver this to your audience – to touch them with your music or your service.
A great lesson is the performance of Issac Stern in the documentary “From Mao to Mozart. “ Teaching a young technicaly perfect Chinese musicians how to play not anymore the notes on the paper but the melody in his mind and heard. You hear two different pieces of music !
A great lesson also for hoteliers.
Perfect Hotel service is for the guest when everything just happens. You might not even realize perfect service right away. When you enter the hotel and everything you expected is there. The services you would like to enjoy don’t really need to be asked for – they happen to you.
Perfect Hotel service is the sum of all the services a hotel offers. Very soon the feeling that the day is wonderful – or the thought what for a lucky person you are to enjoy this place will occur and stay with you. The employees serving you are not to be seen when you don’t need them. You can explore on your own. The staff appears seconds before you might start looking for them. They anticipate your needs at exactly the right time. They are friendly, polite and respectful and you can’t help to feel that they really care for you. You feel save and confident.
You will want to know more of the hotel, the services, what other temptations might be here to discover. Once something is not right or just not really what you liked or expected someone competent will appear on your side, reading your thoughts, your facial impressions and body language and will respectfully solve the issue in seconds without you having to look around to find someone to assist.
This is the hotel service you will want to return to and enjoy again. Once you return you will discover that they really remember you. That they still know what you prefer. You feel liked . Your coffee will come for breakfast without a delay or a question. Maybe just the remark “ I hope I remember correctly this is how you like your coffee to be ?” And it will be the way you like it ! Served on the table that you preferred last time and that is remarkably kept free for you without any sign that say’s “reserved”.
Nobody will try to sell you something or force you to purchase things that you actually don’ want. Suggestions will appear without any force and tailored to your preferences already. You will feel good to accept and try something new or you might decline with the same good feeling that it does not change anything Your room will have everything you need and in easy reach. You might never see the maid but the room will always return to perfect conditions. It will just happen. You will be discretely addressed d by name – only if that is what you prefer. No server will introduce himself by name. Once experiencing perfect hotel service you will find yourself asking for his name – check his name badge – because you are impressed! You will want to know. And you will remember.
All this services will be solid and honest. The Ritz Hotel saying “ Ladies & Gentleman are serving Ladies & Gentleman”, will come to your mind. Mutual respect will develop. The employees showing you respect will earn your respect in return. You will be proud to be part of this hotel as you will feel the employees pride.
Consistency is of importance ! Hotel service is only perfect when it is consistent. One day good service , next day bad service is unacceptable. A period of perfect service followed by a period of mediocre service is at the end - only mediocre service. And consistency has to be planned and organized for generations not for a limited time. Mistakes will happen. This is a human business but they will be solved fast, honest and to your satisfaction.
You might also get the occasional, honest , polite “no” as an answer if the request is not in line with the hotel service. You will respect this answer as you will develop the trust that this hotel cares about you and your well being and will not offer less. It will also provide this honest “No” for you as a service.
Enjoying perfect hotel service will leave you with a wonderful lasting feeling and the wish to return and – that is what we really want to achieve - the conviction that you deserve this kind of experience.
Be aware ! You will judge every hotel and restaurant with different eyes from the moment you ever experienced great service And that is what is needed for us , hoteliers and employees, to strive for the best ! We need to understand that the guest deserves professionals again. And that we will enjoy to provide this service with pride and dignity!
For us in the Hotel & restaurant business – it is easy to deliver even though it might sound like a fairy tale to the inexperienced. Embracing the values is all it takes! The rest comes by itself.