While today's value conscious traveler is certainly looking for a bargain in room rates and meals, there is something to be said about connecting with a hotel or restaurant on an emotional level.
This applies to staff and managers and not just to top brass and marketing. The old adage that there's no customer like an existing customer is especially true in these tough times.
For this reason, hospitality workers should attempt to build an emotional bond with customers. Much like welcoming visitors to their own homes, staff and managers should consider the little niceties and pleasantries that keep customers coming back.
Some staff members seem to have a natural gift for making people feel at home. They're simply more approachable. It's important for managers to put these people in touch-point positions where they can make the most human contact. If a manager has a shortage of these people, he or she should hire them or, at the very least, train existing staff to be more emotive and friendly.
Making more human contact with guests opens the door to selling other aspects of the hotel or dining experience. It breaks down barriers and possible objections to an upsell by offering more opportunities to explain--through friendly dialog—many of the things managers would like guests to consider.
In this Internet age where reservations and requests are often faceless contacts with a hotel or restaurant's computer, it becomes increasingly important to converse with a real person.
For an added perspective, check out this video:
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Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients.