You may think that the by title of this piece my message would imply a noble, almost abstract ideal of an elevated service attitude that the hospitality community should embrace. Although I do, in fact, believe that – this post is actually about a fundamental mindset of privacy and security for your guests that needs to initially be trained and then reinforced constantly.
I began my hotel career behind the front desk of an upscale hotel and I quickly saw that the property became a popular choice for performers, athletes, politicians and celebrities when their travels brought them to town. Of course, I was excited to share who was staying with us with my friends but during the very first instance, I was properly instructed by my manager in a way that I would forever remember. In order to provide a safe, private environment for these VIPs and just as importantly – to minimize the possibility of a disruption of the operation in many ways, I was told to never share who was in-house. My manager went on to say that after the VIP departed, I was free to tell friends and family of the experience.
It occurred to me that these VIP performers, athletes, politicians and celebrities are not the only ones that should be afforded this courtesy. In this sense, EVERY guest should be treated in the same manner to assure their privacy and safety. EVERY guest should be VIP.
I bring this seemingly common sense idea to light again as I have been traveling considerably recently in properties across the quality and brand spectrum and I am still shocked when I hear staff speak room numbers verbally, within earshot of other guests. I have had that experience recently on more than one occasion.
Don’t articulate a room number verbally. Don’t leave computer screens to be easily viewed by anyone other than staff. Don’t leave lists with room numbers and guest names at hostess stations, front desks, bars, etc within the possibility of anyone’s view other than staff.
Your guests will genuinely acknowledge this effort, just as you will appreciate as hospitality professionals the same treatment while you travel.
Lowell Johnson, CHA, CTA has been a dedicated, hospitality professional since 1976. He believes that those who choose the hospitality industry as a vocation have a special mindset ingrained in their DNA that cannot be taught, but you can see in the joy in their demeanor from serving others.