Tom Bastek | June 18, 2015 3:00 PM ET
Why The Little Things Matter in Hospitality
I recently enjoyed a trip to the Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center in Southbridge, Massachusetts. Upon my arrival there was a welcome amenity awaiting me in the room: a cheese and fruit plate. It was exactly what I needed after traveling for half the day with no real sustenance because of a series of strange flight times.
Interestingly enough, even with as hungry as I was, it is the not the first thing that I remember when I think about my arrival. I think about the handwritten note card that accompanied the cheese and fruit tray.
“Wow,” I thought, “who takes the time to hand write anything anymore?” Well, to be fair, there are a few of us left in the world that actually send thank you notes — hand written ones. It is just one of those little things that are important and often lost in today’s day and age.
But why are these little things so important?
Beyond Dollar Signs
The world is a busy place and the business world is even busier. Everyone is a number or a dollar sign, and the faster we can come in, spend money and go, the better it is for everyone. Quality gets lost for quantity in many places and most people with whom you will conduct business will barely remember you the next day.
So when someone takes a little of their time to go out of their way, it makes you feel special. Maybe it is a handwritten note instead of a generically printed one or someone actually walks you all the way to where you need to be instead of pointing directions.
When the guest feels special, they are more than likely going to return.
Stop and Think
Because of how busy this world truly is, it is easy to overlook good service and respect, even if it seems to be more and more lacking each day. After all, we all expect to be given good service and respect. But when you are treated with a small bit of kindness, thoughtfulness or charity, it really makes you slow down and take it in.
Maybe your server at your favorite lunch spot recognized you and actually remembered what you had the last time you were in. Or you stay so often at the same hotel, that you notice they now give you a friends and family discount. That pause that the recipient undergoes for that fraction of a second?
That is what brings people back. These little things exceed our expectations.
Travelers, whether it is for business or leisure, want to have a good experience and are more reasonable than you think. If they have been pleasantly surprised by numerous little touches here and there, they are more often than not willing to overlook the small problems that undoubtedly occur within any normal day. Sometimes the little things add up to even outweigh the big bad things.
Perhaps a guest gets to a hotel only to realize that they booked the wrong day and the hotel is at capacity. If the front desk agent grabs a bottled water for the guest and tells them that they are going to call around and find a place for them to stay tonight, the guest has just become a raving fan of the establishment. And they didn’t even have to stay there to become it.
Gives Us A Story Worth Telling
The social media world is a company’s best friend and their worst enemy, all at the same time. Going the extra mile gives people a story to tell their friends. They might not remember what they paid for the flight, or how badly they were cramped, but they remember how the flight attendant made a joke about being early to the gate.
Those guests tell those stories over and over again. With all of the bad press in the world, you have to take every chance to get a good message about your company out there. Stories are your best form of marketing.
Because Mom Would Have Wanted Us To
This goes back to our basic sense of right and wrong. Mom was right; treat people like a million dollars and you will be treated that way, too. The common courtesy in this world has diminished somewhat, which means a simple please and thank you mean so much more. Now go call your mother.
Oftentimes companies overlook their people in favor of concentrating on the bottom line. Employees become unhappy and find reasons to not care as well. The guests in turn take the brunt of this unhappiness.
If the company can find a way to make magic for its employees, they will in turn find ways to make magic for their guests and those guests will become fans. If you make the journey longer, harder, or less comfortable, you are providing free advertising for your competition.
Take care of the little things and sweat the small stuff and your clients will beat a path to your door. Heed this advice and you can thank me later. With a handwritten note.
More by Tom Bastek
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