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Hospitality is 95% of Innkeeping

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JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Hospitality is 95% of Innkeeping
Sometimes we forget why we started doing what we do and skip the 95% of our business. How can we refresh that flame and be happy innkeepers? Do we try to overdo what we do instead of making a simple stay a nice stay? Do we try to add too many bells and whistles?
 

Morticia

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I think I don't do enough. I read the TA reviews of the comp and I think, 'WOW, no wonder they get such good reviews. They have (fill in the blank) or they do (fill in the blank).'
Or, maybe it's not that I don't do enough, but I don't do it well enough.
 

muirford

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I think I don't do enough, either. We just had our Select Registry surprise inspection this weekend, which we passed, no problem. But, I was late putting the cookies out (which happens more than I care to think about) and I really didn't do as much as I should have at checkout in terms of asking how the stay was and all that stuff.
I never want to be one of those innkeepers who helicopter around you, but I think because I tend towards not wanting that myself (too much attention) that I may not hover enough for people who want hovering.
 

Morticia

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I think I don't do enough, either. We just had our Select Registry surprise inspection this weekend, which we passed, no problem. But, I was late putting the cookies out (which happens more than I care to think about) and I really didn't do as much as I should have at checkout in terms of asking how the stay was and all that stuff.
I never want to be one of those innkeepers who helicopter around you, but I think because I tend towards not wanting that myself (too much attention) that I may not hover enough for people who want hovering..
Holy cow! Does SR have a timetable for when the cookies need to be out? I used to stress about that...cookie timetable...but now I have set myself a target time of 4 PM (I gave myself an extra hour). I can usually meet that time. 3 PM was too early as too many guests were ringing the doorbell at noon so my time was being sucked away by answering the door and NOT being 95% hospitable!
 

muirford

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I think I don't do enough, either. We just had our Select Registry surprise inspection this weekend, which we passed, no problem. But, I was late putting the cookies out (which happens more than I care to think about) and I really didn't do as much as I should have at checkout in terms of asking how the stay was and all that stuff.
I never want to be one of those innkeepers who helicopter around you, but I think because I tend towards not wanting that myself (too much attention) that I may not hover enough for people who want hovering..
Holy cow! Does SR have a timetable for when the cookies need to be out? I used to stress about that...cookie timetable...but now I have set myself a target time of 4 PM (I gave myself an extra hour). I can usually meet that time. 3 PM was too early as too many guests were ringing the doorbell at noon so my time was being sucked away by answering the door and NOT being 95% hospitable!
.
Yeah, they are supposed to be out for arrival. I had just gotten them plated when the doorbell rang with our first check-in (who happened to be the inspector, but I had no clue) and then somehow they never made it to the living room until after the next guests checked, around 5:00. Because I got distracted making dinner reservations for the first guests, changing some things around in the res book because I offered them a comp upgrade and they took it, and so on. I'll lose some points, I imagine, but at least she liked the cookies.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Hospitality is not necessarily helo-hovering (great term Muiford) or adding extras. It is the personableness (is that a word?) of the innkeeper.
What can we add in the SAME TIME FRAME to make the hospitality appear as 95% of what we do? Without adding extra time or extra amenities?
I am not one who likes hovering innkeepers either, so what is it that is the key to great hospitality? It is not necessarily extra services? Your thoughts or suggestions?
Could it be a smile? Do we forget to smile some times (esp when rooms try to check in and you are trying to get stuff done!?)
 

greyswan

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when we have fewer bookings, we do better: we can greet the guests at the door or even the front porch, offering to help with luggage (most times they decline), calling them by name, shaking their hand, and genuinely being happy they are here (that one really shows thru). Asking ?s that require more than a yes or no answer, giving them full attention (that's a hard one) and listening (another hard one). After all, they are all wearing an invisible sign that says "Make me feel important". Do I do that all the time... nope, but it's a goal... progress not perfection.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Greyswan - You are better than me, I cannot recall names from one room to the next, I am more worried I will call them the wrong name if I try to use their names. I would LIKE to do this, but my brain hurts just thinking about attempting it.
Sometimes I find the opposite to be true - when we are fully booked I can provide more as I am out there more often and when one couple are talking/asking questions in the foyer the others might come in and then everybody gets some interaction. Esp if it is a weekend and people are more layed back. Prob depends on who is here too.
 

greyswan

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I don't always remember their names. .... I have to play a mental name association game to remember - and also what really helps is if I'm the one that made the reservation - the ones that Jim makes (even the online ones) I have a harder time remembering the name... perhaps it's the repetition of the info in front of me. After they leave, the info goes out the door with them! :)
Tricks for remembering names:
  • repeat their name as often as possible in the first meeting (without overdoing it, of course)
  • associate their name with fact about them - job, where their from, car they drove here in
  • silly association - Tom who is tall become Tall Tom, Betty Brown Hair, Shorty Stuart, etc, etc
  • association with someone else you know - Tom: name of my favorite cousin or my favorite actor (Tom Hanks)
Here's a link for a post that lists other tips that I just found on google - (some more help for me)
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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More food for thought - I got the mail and just read this - which is perfect for this discussion:
Are you familiar with the "93-7 Principle" in communication?
Basically, it says that only 7% of the effectiveness of communication comes directly from the words we use, while 93% comes from how we say what we say...how we use our words. If your tone is calm and relaxed, your communication will be much more "gracious and effective."
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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I don't always remember their names. .... I have to play a mental name association game to remember - and also what really helps is if I'm the one that made the reservation - the ones that Jim makes (even the online ones) I have a harder time remembering the name... perhaps it's the repetition of the info in front of me. After they leave, the info goes out the door with them! :)
Tricks for remembering names:
  • repeat their name as often as possible in the first meeting (without overdoing it, of course)
  • associate their name with fact about them - job, where their from, car they drove here in
  • silly association - Tom who is tall become Tall Tom, Betty Brown Hair, Shorty Stuart, etc, etc
  • association with someone else you know - Tom: name of my favorite cousin or my favorite actor (Tom Hanks)
Here's a link for a post that lists other tips that I just found on google - (some more help for me).
greyswan said:
I don't always remember their names. .... I have to play a mental name association game to remember - and also what really helps is if I'm the one that made the reservation - the ones that Jim makes (even the online ones) I have a harder time remembering the name... perhaps it's the repetition of the info in front of me. After they leave, the info goes out the door with them! :)
Tricks for remembering names:
  • repeat their name as often as possible in the first meeting (without overdoing it, of course)
  • associate their name with fact about them - job, where their from, car they drove here in
  • silly association - Tom who is tall become Tall Tom, Betty Brown Hair, Shorty Stuart, etc, etc
  • association with someone else you know - Tom: name of my favorite cousin or my favorite actor (Tom Hanks)
Here's a link for a post that lists other tips that I just found on google - (some more help for me)
Ahhhh assocation names, I already do that "Mr Ten Towels" "The Assassin" "The Screamer" ha ha (Just kidding)
 

Morticia

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Hospitality is not necessarily helo-hovering (great term Muiford) or adding extras. It is the personableness (is that a word?) of the innkeeper.
What can we add in the SAME TIME FRAME to make the hospitality appear as 95% of what we do? Without adding extra time or extra amenities?
I am not one who likes hovering innkeepers either, so what is it that is the key to great hospitality? It is not necessarily extra services? Your thoughts or suggestions?
Could it be a smile? Do we forget to smile some times (esp when rooms try to check in and you are trying to get stuff done!?).
JunieBJones (JBJ) said:
Hospitality is not necessarily helo-hovering (great term Muiford) or adding extras. It is the personableness (is that a word?) of the innkeeper.
What can we add in the SAME TIME FRAME to make the hospitality appear as 95% of what we do? Without adding extra time or extra amenities?
Ah, yes, if we are talking non-tangible 'amenities' then here ya go:
  1. The smile, the welcoming 'hello,' the cheerful greeting at check in, breakfast, in passing, at check out. (Altho I am not a fan of constantly having to acknowledge people every single time I see them, sometimes I wonder if guests feel snubbed if I say hi on my way to get the mail but not on my return trip thru the living room?)
  2. Courteousness- opening the door when you see the guest coming back rather than letting them struggle with packages and keycodes.
  3. Cleaning off the cars on days like today. (No, I don't do this, but I think I should.)
  4. Offering to make reservations or check on wait times or check on opening/closing times at museums or tourist sites, etc.
  5. Having the inn smell, sound and feel good can be close to free.
  6. Thanking the guest for forking over their hard earned cash to stay.
  7. Saying 'goodbye' in such a way that they want to come back
  8. Inviting the guests to return. I have a slew of foreign 'til we meet again' phrases. (Which I can say but not spell, so please don't ask!)
  9. Being calm. Nothing says 'welcome, we are really happy to see you' like a calm innkeeper. (Yeah, and some day I'll pull this one off.)
 

Morticia

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I don't always remember their names. .... I have to play a mental name association game to remember - and also what really helps is if I'm the one that made the reservation - the ones that Jim makes (even the online ones) I have a harder time remembering the name... perhaps it's the repetition of the info in front of me. After they leave, the info goes out the door with them! :)
Tricks for remembering names:
  • repeat their name as often as possible in the first meeting (without overdoing it, of course)
  • associate their name with fact about them - job, where their from, car they drove here in
  • silly association - Tom who is tall become Tall Tom, Betty Brown Hair, Shorty Stuart, etc, etc
  • association with someone else you know - Tom: name of my favorite cousin or my favorite actor (Tom Hanks)
Here's a link for a post that lists other tips that I just found on google - (some more help for me).
The name thing gets me, too. I can't go far wrong with 'David' for the guys, tho. I bet I have a measurable % of return guests named David. What's tough is I realize as I am trying to ask if they would like anything more and I have to get their attention, that I have totally forgotten their names. I try to visualize the guest book. But that only works if I wrote the names. And we have a guest who comes every year with a friend who makes the rez and I have NO idea what her name is. And it's too late to ask now. I keep waiting for the friend to say, 'oh, "susie," let's go here today,' but she never uses her name.
 

greyswan

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My line: "I am having a senior moment... what is your name again?" Used many, many times and sometimes I get a look of relief from them. They couldn't remember my name!
 

happyjacks

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I definitely agree that calling someone by their name has a great impact. I frequently have guests --especially groups-- comment on the fact that I remember their names. Some of my repeats I recognize their voice on the phone before they give me their name, or they just give their first name and I know them. They like that.
I've never been good at remembering names, but I think I manage it with guests because I see their names for a week before they arrive. Of course I have all their booking info on my computer, but we also have a white board for quick reference. It has a matrix with 7 days of the week across the top and the rooms down the side. We write the first names of the guests in the appropriate cells and have an at-a-glance picture of who's where when. It especially helps hubby remember as he's a very visual learner.
I also agree that smiles go far in hospitality. As well as a genuine interest in people and a genuine love of where we are and what we're doing. That can't be faked, and people feel it.
 

Morticia

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I definitely agree that calling someone by their name has a great impact. I frequently have guests --especially groups-- comment on the fact that I remember their names. Some of my repeats I recognize their voice on the phone before they give me their name, or they just give their first name and I know them. They like that.
I've never been good at remembering names, but I think I manage it with guests because I see their names for a week before they arrive. Of course I have all their booking info on my computer, but we also have a white board for quick reference. It has a matrix with 7 days of the week across the top and the rooms down the side. We write the first names of the guests in the appropriate cells and have an at-a-glance picture of who's where when. It especially helps hubby remember as he's a very visual learner.
I also agree that smiles go far in hospitality. As well as a genuine interest in people and a genuine love of where we are and what we're doing. That can't be faked, and people feel it..
That would work for me. I have the names in the guestbook right by the computer, but I sometimes don't refer to it frequently enough. I always get the kids' names, tho. That's the teacher coming out!
 

EmptyNest

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I definitely agree that calling someone by their name has a great impact. I frequently have guests --especially groups-- comment on the fact that I remember their names. Some of my repeats I recognize their voice on the phone before they give me their name, or they just give their first name and I know them. They like that.
I've never been good at remembering names, but I think I manage it with guests because I see their names for a week before they arrive. Of course I have all their booking info on my computer, but we also have a white board for quick reference. It has a matrix with 7 days of the week across the top and the rooms down the side. We write the first names of the guests in the appropriate cells and have an at-a-glance picture of who's where when. It especially helps hubby remember as he's a very visual learner.
I also agree that smiles go far in hospitality. As well as a genuine interest in people and a genuine love of where we are and what we're doing. That can't be faked, and people feel it..
That would work for me. I have the names in the guestbook right by the computer, but I sometimes don't refer to it frequently enough. I always get the kids' names, tho. That's the teacher coming out!
.
I used to always write all the guest names largely on a piece of paper and post it on the side of our fridge. That way we could remember everyone's names:)
 

swirt

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Greyswan - You are better than me, I cannot recall names from one room to the next, I am more worried I will call them the wrong name if I try to use their names. I would LIKE to do this, but my brain hurts just thinking about attempting it.
Sometimes I find the opposite to be true - when we are fully booked I can provide more as I am out there more often and when one couple are talking/asking questions in the foyer the others might come in and then everybody gets some interaction. Esp if it is a weekend and people are more layed back. Prob depends on who is here too..
JunieBJones (JBJ) said:
Greyswan - You are better than me, I cannot recall names from one room to the next, I am more worried I will call them the wrong name if I try to use their names. I would LIKE to do this, but my brain hurts just thinking about attempting it.
Hee hee.... happens to me all the time ... Even if I surely know the name, when I go to use it, my memory will fail. When we serve breakfast we write the guests names on a post-it and stick it to the bottom of the coaster I use under my coffee mug. When my memory fails me on a name, I sereptitiously tip the coaster over to refresh my memory, then flip it again and carry on with the conversation. Keep in mind we serve breakfast to everyone at once and our kitchen and dining room are part of the same open floor plan so there is no sneaking back in the kitchen to look it up. ;)
 

Samster

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I don't always remember their names. .... I have to play a mental name association game to remember - and also what really helps is if I'm the one that made the reservation - the ones that Jim makes (even the online ones) I have a harder time remembering the name... perhaps it's the repetition of the info in front of me. After they leave, the info goes out the door with them! :)
Tricks for remembering names:
  • repeat their name as often as possible in the first meeting (without overdoing it, of course)
  • associate their name with fact about them - job, where their from, car they drove here in
  • silly association - Tom who is tall become Tall Tom, Betty Brown Hair, Shorty Stuart, etc, etc
  • association with someone else you know - Tom: name of my favorite cousin or my favorite actor (Tom Hanks)
Here's a link for a post that lists other tips that I just found on google - (some more help for me).
The name thing gets me, too. I can't go far wrong with 'David' for the guys, tho. I bet I have a measurable % of return guests named David. What's tough is I realize as I am trying to ask if they would like anything more and I have to get their attention, that I have totally forgotten their names. I try to visualize the guest book. But that only works if I wrote the names. And we have a guest who comes every year with a friend who makes the rez and I have NO idea what her name is. And it's too late to ask now. I keep waiting for the friend to say, 'oh, "susie," let's go here today,' but she never uses her name.
.
Then, there's the problem of the "Davids" looking like a Brian or some other name. haha. I'm pretty good on the names once I meet them & I play those name association tricks but repeating their name often is what works for my sieve-like mind these days :)
There is a fine line between being attentive and helo-hovering (good term for the glossary btw). There are times when I feel like I'm too chatty and I'll usually make a joke to the guests about that. My dh is also pretty talkative, but he's just not around the guests as much since he has his own full-time plus job. Double trouble if we're both around.
There have been a couple of occasions when I feel like I've been sucked into a conversation with the guests and I really have a lot to do. I enjoy it, but those are the nights (and there are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many of them) that I fall into bed at midnight or later.
 
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