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Learn from the best: 5 hospitality tips from hotel receptionists to their corporate counterparts

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Have you ever experienced a five-star welcome? That feeling of deep satisfaction generated by a warm smile and a helpful attitude from the other side of the counter when being welcomed into a luxury hotel?

At Proxyclick we are constantly looking for ways to improve corporate visitor management, so we asked two 5 star hotel specialists to give us some tips:

They came up with the following 5 recommendations:

1. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes

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“One must be a bit of a psychologist” says Egidio Marcato “putting oneself immediately in the client’s shoes. 

 

"An example? You get a client coming in after a long flight. Of course he’s tired, of course he needs some rest and certainly he won’t like to hear that his room is not ready. Our job is about finding the right words for each and every customer, and prevent a complaint by satisfying a need before this is expressed”.

 

Mr. Marcato has many years of experience in the hospitality domain

 

“I worked in some of the best hotels in the world but the one that left a lasting impression on my life and career is The Connaught in London. Heads of state, rock stars, actors and aristocrats stayed there in the 80s. All for one simple reason: we did our best to ensure their privacy and they felt free there”.

Humans first, raise your head from that screen (and smile)

As obvious as it may seem, outstanding guest management can be a tricky to achieve. For Egidio Marcato “the human touch changes everything.

 

I find it so disappointing when people are welcomed by a receptionist with their eyes fixed on the screen on their desk and not on the client. Smile at your customer, ask them how they’re doing, make them feel at home”.

The client is king (or at least he has to think he is).

You might be tired or in a middle of a crisis: that’s life. But you should never forget that you are there to serve people and that your customer is king.

 

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Make them feel like a king, offering them a listening ear and making their needs your priority. 

 

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Good communication and team spirit are key. 

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Judith Schroeder, a Glion graduate, hasn’t any doubt regarding what makes a great reception:

 

“The individual receptionist is important of course but having a good team, with good communication, is what makes the difference”

”All customers need to feel special: when a client comes in, if it’s not their first visit, the team will have gathered all the relevant information on them so that the individual receptionist will be able to call him by their name and – for example – spare them the long and boring financial checks. They won’t need to give their card upfront. All of their details will be already stored since the first visit”. 

Situations might be challenging but No is never the answer.

Receptionists have seen it all. Good ones learn how to turn unfavorable twists and turns into opportunities to offer an extraordinary service to their customers.

Faithful to its mission Glion school in Switzerland prepares hospitality-driven professionals. The university is very proud of their Alumni participating to the Bucherer Trophy (Swiss contest for the best receptionist of the year). The international competition is called David Campbell Trophy, it bears the name of the late (and mythical) Head of Reception at the Ritz in Paris and is open to winners of the national best receptionist awards.

 

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Judith Schroder with her trophy (Photo credit: Alumni Association Glion - AAG)

 

The most brilliant receptionists participating in the competition have to succeed in multiple exams. The most entertaining one is probably the roleplay. “I write most of the scenarios and act in some of them” confesses Mr. Marcato “they are always inspired by real life situations I have witnessed”.

 

 

 

 

The craziest one?

 

“Oh, it was in Davos, I will never forget it” continues Egidio Marcato “it reminded me of a Vaudeville sort of play. I was a Mr. Smith and I had booked two connected rooms under my name.

The receptionist assumed the second room was for my boyfriend but in the end it turns out it was for my dog. At the same time a Mrs. Smith calls in, asking if her room is ready. So it’s the three of us: me, the Mrs. Smith and the dog”.

 

In a situation like this one, “no is never the answer to any question. One has to gain some time and find a way to please the visitor. There is always one”.

 

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Unexpected guest? There is always a solution!

A detail that makes all the difference...

Guest management is for companies what bread is for restaurants: a detail that makes all the difference between an average establishment and a star one.

Corporations can learn a lot from the hotel business and hospitality spirit: how well they put those teachings into practice will be key to their company’s future success. 


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