Industry Update
Opinion Article15 October 2019

The Power Of ‘Because’

By Larry Mogelonsky, Managing Director Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited

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Simple words and phrases can have strong emotional impacts in any interaction. Thus, it's important for you to educate your frontline staff appropriately as such minutia will subtly contribute to better overall guest relations and more positive sentiments for a hotel.

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In other articles I've covered how a basic greeting of 'hello' (localized to each region) and 'sorry' (when said reassuringly) can enhance guest service. Today, the focus is on the word 'because' which may be just as important as the other two.

Massive capital expenditures, new grand operations projects or severely cutting on price notwithstanding, your staff are what will elevate the perception of your property to new heights. Any hotelier worth his or her salt knows about the indispensable power of great guest service, so let's look at why this explanatory conjunction helps in this regard.

As I'm writing this, it is difficult to elucidate why 'because' is so powerful without directly using it in a sentence. The gist is that psychologically when we give an explanation for a desired action or command, people are much more likely to accept it as legitimate and truthful.

For instance, evaluate these two statements:

  1. "You can't go that way!"
  2. "You can't go that way because the floors are being buffed."

Although they both accomplish the goal of forbidding guests from taking a certain path, the former is forceful and a bit standoffish while the latter insinuates more of a cooperative tonality. That is, when proffering the information that some custodial work is being done, it is implied that this task is being carried out for the benefit of guests - aesthetics, safety or otherwise.

Think of this ancillary example that's so commonly found in the hospitality world:

  1. "Sorry, but your room isn't ready yet."
  2. "Sorry, but your room isn't ready yet because our housekeepers respect our guests' hygiene and must therefore take the time to properly clean yours before we can offer it to you."

Even with all the new housekeeping time management and room prioritization software now available, you will inevitably encounter guests who arrive before their rooms are ready. As such, you need to arm your front desk clerks with an answer that satisfies and does not cause irritation.

Therefore, what's required to make the shift from the first to the second statement is transparent staff education. An associate cannot convey an explanation to the guest if they do not know themselves what the answer is. "Just because" or "I don't know" are not likely to win customers over to your side, especially if they are already a tad cross for whatever reason - for instance, sitting next to a crying baby on a long-haul flight. Next, you must concurrently train your teams on this exact psychological principle so they properly grasp how words like 'because' can affect the moods of others.

Lastly, associates must be made aware of the virtue of patience. Although this touches on a much larger issue about employee wellness, the idea here is that you should be promoting a workplace environment where staffers don't feel harried to the point where they don't even have enough time for the utterance of an extra sentence or two. Ultimately, incorporating 'because' in your brand standards and recurrent training programs will serve you in a subtle but powerful way, so look to hosting a quick tutorial with your supervisors and associates at the next available opportunity.

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Larry Mogelonsky

The world’s most published writers in hospitality, Larry Mogelonsky is the managing director of Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited. His experience encompasses hotel properties around the world, both branded and independent, and ranging from luxury and boutique to select-service. Larry also sits on several boards for companies focused on hotel technology.

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