What Will Stay and What Will Go? Musings on Guest Service Post-Covid-19
By Herbert Laubichler-Pichler Managing Director, Alma Resort | April 2022
As you set foot into your typical hotel foyer, the staff are all masked up and socially distanced. You cautiously make your way to the reception desk, where the eyes of the front office staff light up as they greet you, behind plexiglass screens.
During your stay, you access all of your menus via QR codes and communicate with the staff via an app. The closest you get to any sort of physical connection with the staff during your stay is an elbow greet from the general manager upon departure.
Despite the best efforts of the hotel's team who genuinely try to deliver good old-fashioned hospitality, the stay is void of much personal connection with the staff due to an array of physical barriers evident, all in the name of the "new normal".
More than two years on from the onset of the global pandemic, I predict that – as counterinitiative as it may seem in light of the setting I've just presented to you in the paragraph above – masks will disappear, the plexiglass screens will come down and handshakes will come back. When is anyone's guess but I believe it is inevitable we will again see the smiles of hotel staff, greet each other with a handshake, and possibly bid farewell with a hug. Why? Guest service has always been a keystone of any excellent holiday, and when guests come to a hotel, they want to experience a personal connection with the staff. Guests want to see their faces as communication is so much better this way.
Herbert predicts that masks will disappear, the plexiglass screens will come down and handshakes will come back, as guests want to experience a personal connection with hotel staff.