Putting the 'Hospitality' back in the Hospitality Industry
By Brenda Fields Founder, Fields & Company | October 2008
What other industry is so directly involved with serving its customers in many significant areas to their well being? Food, drink, and sleep are three of the most important needs of an individual. But just meeting these needs does not ensure a successful operation or client loyalty. Nor does it ensure that the customer's needs were met with good service in a hospitable manner.
As an industry, we discuss "service" and more often than not, rely on the integrity and good nature of the employees to deliver the required service(s). Many of the large companies provide service standards on everything from how to answer the front desk phone to when to replace the soap in a guest room. Service and hospitality go hand in hand but are actually two different concepts. "Service" can be defined as the "act" of providing a service, whereas "hospitality" is the "cordial attitude" of the person providing the service. It's the difference between a pianist who hits all the notes correctly with impeccable timing and one who evokes feeling with his playing. How many times have we tried to resolve credit card disputes, question telephone charges, or return merchandise, just to feel that the customer service person did not hear our legitimate perspective and was inflexible in their positions? We are thankful when we deal with a representative who not only works to resolve our problems, but does so in a helpful and kind way.
This article will address the opportunity and benefit for the hospitality industry to be the leader in providing hospitality and setting standards for other industries to emulate.
What is "hospitality"?
According to two dictionary definitions, hospitality is: "Cordial reception. Kindness in welcoming guests or strangers" and the act of being" friendly and solicitous towards guests".
When a customer refers to "Great Service", it is service which is delivered by a person who is warm and caring or in other words one who is hospitable. What better industry to lead the way in service and hospitality as the "hospitality" industry? Hospitality should actually be the industry's most natural strength. A dedication to this on every level will set the hospitality industry apart from other industries and foster profitability. Service + Hospitality = GREAT SERVICE.