Any of us luxury travelers believe that service makes the difference between a very nice hotel and a memorable hotel. But what constitutes truly great hotel service?
To be great, a hotel needs a team, both management and front-line staffers with emotional intelligence. This means intuitive people sense,empathy, and genuineness.
There’s the phrase “hospitality personality,” which goes further than cheerfulness. That’s important, but so are natural kindness, graciousness, humor, and joie de vivre. A person who quietly makes guests feel comfortable and important.
Check-in should be personalized, quick, genuinely friendly, and thorough. I like the trend of roving staffers checking guests in swiftly. A guest’s first contact with the hotel is the valet, doorman, and bellman. These staffers must communicate welcome, in words, smiles, and body language. They should be happy to serve guests, and not angling for a tip…or, as in some boutique hotels, silently critiquing you, your clothes, your luggage, your car.
Today, one way for a hotel to appear distinctive is in its choice of room amenities and in-room features. These accents should be useful, tasteful, distinctive, and local whenever possible. Nothing second-rate or corner-cutting.
Housekeeping staff, being minimally skilled and paid, are the hotel personnel most resistant to training. But they can excel, and the best hotel maids take fierce pride in their craft. This is very detail-oriented work, and the difference is in the details. The best housekeeping personnel are extremely observant and not assumptive. They cast a wide net for cleaning — including places like under the bed.
The bottom line: a hotel’s goal is to create a memorable experience which guests will want to repeat and tell their friends, colleagues, and online review outlets about.