Although Mother Nature seems to be confused this year regarding which season it is, summer is finally on its way. With schools beginning to let out for summer break, our luxury hotel properties across the country are increasing in occupancy, specifically with family travelers.
Last month, The Service Companies completed our Annual Spring Cleaning Event, during which our teams cleaned and organized all back of the house areas, including offices, break rooms, storage areas and more. This was our initial step in preparing for the upcoming busy season. Maintaining a well organized back of the house area sets us up for success, as we are then able to quickly identify items needed and alleviate hiccups in service delivery.
As we further prepare for the summer season, we focus on and place additional effort in stocking up on equipment and supplies, ensuring our staff is full, and providing refresher training to our teams so they are ready for the influx of guests. This includes making sure our teams are equipped with enough linens and amenities to accommodate each room and adjusting as needed. For example, a higher number of families requires us to need more towels than usual. Additionally, property information will be reviewed in our mandatory training meetings before each shift, as an increase in traffic will result in an increase in guest questions.
While we are spending time preparing for the upcoming summer months, we can’t look too far forward. In May, not only are we stocking up for a busy season, we are celebrating Mother’s Day. We may not be able to give every associate who is a mother the day off, but we can ensure all team members can leave on time or early by making small adjustments to our schedule. Managers also celebrate with pre-shift activities to let everyone know they are appreciated, and to thank them for spending their special day working hard to service our guests.
How confident are you that your associates are regularly looking for ways to fulfill requests or resolve problems before guests have time to think about them?
In the hospitality industry, this is the norm if you want to stand out and exceed guests’ expectations. At The Service Companies, we partner with many properties and brands. While service cultures and standards differ across them, all of our clients have a similar desire to wow, delight, and add value and a personalized touch to the customer experience.
As I was inspecting a guest room a while ago, I noticed the guest’s toothpaste was squeezed to the last drop. I immediately thought about that guest coming back after a long day without toothpaste and having to call and wait for more to be delivered. The natural thing for me to do was place another tube of toothpaste for the guest. This made me think – what seems to be an ordinary task for me, doesn’t come naturally to everyone.
During our corporate mandated daily pre-shift meetings, our housekeeping leaders make this service training a regular practice. It is important to share ideas and best practices with associates so they are confident and empowered to create more memorable moments.
The first step is learning to read cues.
How well do you know your guests? Is your guest a coffee or tea drinker? Do they prefer regular or decaf? Does your VIP guest enjoy red or white wine, diet or regular soda, ales or lagers?
Once your housekeeping associates are aware of what the guest has been using, empower them to place extra items during service. Your guests will definitely take notice and appreciate your attentiveness.
A few simple practices our team employs:
- Having a favorite beverage in a fresh bucket of ice waiting for the guest.
- Leaving an extra bottle or two of water if the guest is a runner or utilizes the fitness center. Additionally, leaving a note and wishing them a great workout is a nice gesture.
- Leaving extra tissues and/or tea service if you notice your guest is feeling under the weather or has the sniffles. A “Get Well” note with the associate’s name offering additional assistance is a thoughtful touch.
- Leaving them reading material such as a magazine or newspaper many properties stock. Provide this the afternoon or evening before checkout so they can take it along. Wish them a safe trip and hopefully a return visit soon. This is one of my favorites and it is very effective.
One drawback of travel is not having all the conveniences of home during a hectic business trip or jam-packed vacation schedule. Implementing just one of these extra steps takes some of the planning and thinking off of a guest’s plate and creates more of those memorable experiences that your guest will look forward to coming back to.