You celebrate the anniversary in a good restaurant, order your favorite food, have a great night … but the waiter is in a bad mood, the order is late, and the food is not what you wanted, you can hear the argument in the kitchen … You will no longer go to this restaurant, and also tell all your friends.
Bad communication is bad news anywhere, and in the hospitality industry in particular. So how can we prevent hospitality disasters?
1. Have well-trained staff. If you can’t hire well-trained staff, find people who work and want to learn, and train them yourself. In fact, some employers prefer to train their own staff rather than retraining experienced staff to meet their standards. Well-trained staff is the key to providing professional services.
2. Hospitality is all service; emphasize that for your staff. Hospitality staff often serve people on vacation; they could save a whole year on this one holiday, they pay good money and deserve the best service you can give them, and no less. They expect friendly and professional service and you and your staff are next to them to make sure they get it.
3. Quality two-way communication between all levels of staff of any hotel business is essential for the smooth and cost-effective operation of your company. If the service staff at your cafe informs management that they are constantly running out of some menu items and nothing is being done about it, it is a poor hospitality connection and a detriment to the business. Act as quickly as possible and your employees will know that you value their work and share their goal – to provide the best services they can provide.
4. Meet your guest’s expectations. Good hospitable communication between staff and guests begins with good office work – you, as a management, need to provide staff with the best tools needed to offer guests the service they expect. When guests arrive at their hotel room waiting for free internet, as advertised on the hotel’s website, and find that they need to pay, they cause dissatisfaction to the check-in staff, who are not to blame. Somewhere along the line someone gave the wrong information. A typical case of poor communication and bad feelings that could easily have been avoided.
Make sure all the correct information is passed between the different levels and departments. Make sure the marketing staff is well informed, and advertise only what you know you can deliver. Building unrealistic expectations leads to unspoken disputes – this is not suitable for business.
5. As the world becomes more digital, “computerizing” your business has become a necessity. Good hospitality management software is an important tool these days. With the wide range that you offer, you are sure to find one that fits your needs and budget. From the basic handheld PDA system for communication between kitchen and service staff, to a comprehensive management package that covers everything from inventory and hotel room reservations to online guest reservations. The initial investment will streamline all communication channels and pay off in the long run.
6. Communicate with foreign tourists: You can’t expect your employees to know all the foreign languages they may encounter at work, but they need to know different cultures and respect them. Ignorance of cultural practices can unnecessarily upset guests, and we all want to avoid that.
Training the reception staff and waiting for a few greetings in a foreign language will make the world a good one for your business, making foreign guests feel at home in your hotel or restaurant. You don’t really need that much.
7. Well-informed staff: Make sure all employees of your restaurant know the menu inside out and can answer any questions regarding the special offers of the day. You won’t impress your customers with waiting staff who have to run over and ask the boss about the menu. Front desk staff should be well informed about the region and be able to give advice and information on local attractions, transport, entertainment, etc. This is part of the services that hotel guests expect to get – and you don’t want to disappoint them with ignorant staff.
8. Quick Response: When you run the kitchen for a meal, your customers come to you for food instead of sitting and waiting for it. Service should be fast. The same goes for almost all other hospitality services, and an important part of good communication is quick response. Whether it’s answering booking emails or other inquiries, providing services at the front desk, or free food processing at the table. This is very important for the good reputation of your business.
9. Listen to the guests. Sometimes it’s the little things that affect customer satisfaction and they can just go unnoticed in a busy hospitality environment. Your guests or customers can help here – if you let them. Make it easy for them to communicate things that they think can make your business better. You may disagree with them, but it never hurts to listen. Some customers are happy to report their complaints to everyone, and your job is to make sure that every guest response is passed on to the supervisor or management (providing proper communication channels in the hospitality industry). But others prefer to voice their complaints or suggestions anonymously, so make it easy for them by placing rating cards for offers / services in hotel rooms and at service counters – let guests know that you appreciate their feedback.
10. Listen to the staff: The staff is your line of hospitality for customers. Listen to what they have to say. They will know that you value their opinion, and the changes you make will make them feel good in the work environment and be proud of their work. You can be sure that your customers will feel that they are served by happy staff who want happy guests. And the happy guests will return for additional impressions and give the floor to friends and family. And this is good hospitality.