HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY - DIGGING DEEP
WHAT IS HOSPITALITY?
Hospitality in simple terms is welcoming guests into our homes or place of work. It also means a very friendly treatment of the guests or visitors. It is taking care of them and anticipating their needs and providing their needs. A simple gesture of providing a hot cup of tea / coffee as soon as they arrive easily falls under hospitality.
Hospitality refers to providing food, accommodation, and other essential services related to cleaning the place they are staying in. These services are provided usually to travelers who are travelling out due to the business necessity, vacation, or just as a luxury.
In earlier days, traveling happened due to necessity and thus there was no question of leisure or pleasure, and hence a bed and breakfast kind of place is what people were looking at. These days, travel is mainly due to leisure and pleasure most of the times, and even if necessity, people prefer great comfort over bare minimums, and thus the birth of hospital industry with various segments attached to it.
I know a couple who went for an overnight stay in a 5-star hotel locally, just for the sake of experiencing it. Such is the reach of hospitality industry. So, the bar is expectation is set high and it becomes impertinent for the service provider to exceed the bar set.
WHAT IS HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY?
Hospitality industry is a very broad term with many categories under its umbrella. Namely, food and drink service, lodging, event planning, theme parks, transportation, cruise line, airline, and anything that comes under tourism industry.
In a nutshell, this is the industry which relies on people, provide them service in return for money, and ensure to provide the best service always, and never to lose a customer based on their service.
While this being a broader term, till now I was talking about this from the receiver's point of view. When there is a receiver, of course there should be a provider, and here in this particular article, I'm going to elaborate on the service provider.
WHO IS THE PROVIDER?
The service provider is the one who takes care of the guests while anticipating their needs. Customer service is the soul in the hospitality industry. If we read any review about a place, the service is spoken about a lot than others. I'm not saying other parts of the industry aren't important; however, service is the most integral part.
In essence, service industry strives to provide impeccable service to the customers to stay ahead of competition and to win over customers. In addition, providing world class service to the customers strengthens the customer relationship which is an asset to the hospitality industry.
Say for instance, you visit a restaurant, order your food, and and your food is served. You find the starter to be stale and complain to the manager. The food is taken back and you are not billed for that. Are you happy? Yes, you would be. But then is the service outstanding? No, it is just that anybody would do. So, where is the room for improvement here? The food is taken back, you get apologies from the manager, then surprisingly you get a mocktail served to you with a sorry note and it is complimentary. Now, how would you feel? Elated, right??!! And what would be your opinion about the restaurant? Excellent, right. You will not stop raving about the restaurant for the days to come, you will make sure your friends and family go there, and you will start repeating that place. A goodwill is built, with just a small gesture. Such is the power of how you make others feel. Service industry mainly plays around the feeling, in a good way though!
The important people who fall under this service bracket are:
Front Office Assistant.
Food and Beverage Personnel.
CHALLENGES FACED BY THE PROVIDERS:
No job is easy. Here, we are talking about the jobs in the service industry which involves satisfying some other human, which by all means isn't easy at all. Of course there are challenges; few internal, few external, few resolvable, and few unresolvable. Whatever it is, here are some tips to face the challenges, and of course listing of few challenges.
Front Office Challenges:
1. Reservation issues: The goof up might have happened anywhere, at the booking office, from the customer's end, or from the front office itself, but then resolution is sought and provided at the front office desk. Keeping a smiling face while resolving issues adds to the cookie points received at the end of the service. Also to resolve these issues, the understanding of the problem is important and front office assistant will be trained on problem-solving skills.
2. Guest room issues: If something is wrong with the room or if the guest has some queries about the room or services provided, the first point of contact is front office. Not all customers are pleasant to deal with, but the success of the hotel relies on how such customers are handled too.
3. Billing issues / queries: Any queries related to billing, the taxes levied are posed at the front office assistant, and to handle them, they need to be trained on those and should be able to handle such situations with ease.
Food and Beverage Challenges:
1. Time Management: While the entire burden is not on the F&B assistant, the brunt of a delayed service is often faced by them. Getting into a word war against a customer doesn't fetch a good review on the hotel and sometimes handling the customers with a smile and nonhurtful answers matter.
2. Too late and too early: Each guest has their own requirement while the food is being served. To understand the requirement and act accordingly is the biggest challenge of all. Since understanding is an art, they need to be trained on that too.