How to be a great host
What is a host and why are they so important? Surely someone who just meets and greets guests isn’t as essential as a waiter or chef? Think again! A host is the first point of call for a guest entering and staying at a restaurant – if a guest doesn’t feel welcome they are sure to go elsewhere.
A host is the point person for all tables in a venue. You should know guest’s names, moods, and preferences so you can make their experience exceptional. You’ll be able to make them feel welcome whether you chat with them on the phone or in the restaurant. Ultimately your job is to represent the hospitality culture of your venue and set expectations for your guest. Your days will be long, and they will be tiring, but one of the
key skills of a host is being able to remain calm and friendly no matter the time of day.
Become an expert at making guests feel welcome
Here are 10 super simple ways to improve the guest experience that require minimal time and financial investment.
#1 Start engaging with your guests before they
arrive Once a traveller has booked with you, they’re officially your guest, even if it’s months till they arrive. So you’re going to want to start creating a positive experience right away.
One of the most effective ways to engage with confirmed (and all) guests is
through email campaigns — which you can read all about in “The Complete Guide to Email Marketing for Hotels.”
#2 Better yet, start engaging with your guests before
they’ve booked You’ve heard it before: the guest experience starts the moment the traveller starts looking for their ideal hotel. Here’s what it means: improving your guest experience actually starts with improving your hotel’s online presence.
#3 Greet each guest by name (and with a smile)
Take a moment every morning to check who’s checking in that day and review the details of their reservations, to be ready to greet guests warmly, personally, and by name. The check-in experience sets the tone for the rest of the stay; scrambling to find a reservation is not a great way to start.
Showing guests that you’ve carefully prepared for their arrival will make them feel appreciated right off the bat.
#4 Have tea and coffee available 24/7
While guests delight in having their own personal coffee and tea makers in their rooms, it’s a luxury not all hotels can provide. That’s OK. Having a communal, complimentary hot beverage station on every floor or even just in the lobby is a fine — and far more affordable — alternative.
#5 Be an expert on your locale
Share-economy accommodation hosts will often provide guests with detailed recommendations about where to try local delicacies, what time to visit attractions to avoid the crowds, and all the other hidden gems and insider’s secrets that only a local would know about.
It’s one of the reasons why alternative accommodations are so wildly popular among today’s travellers. And there’s no reason why all hotels can employ the same local-expert approach in their hospitality.
#6 Leave a mint (or chocolate, or any sweet treat) on
the pillow Placing a chocolate or mint on the pillow is a longstanding hotel tradition in several countries, including the United States. This sweet little touch is token of hospitality that makes staying at a hotel something special.
Because a hotel bed is just a bed to sleep on. A hotel bed with a sweet on the pillow, on the other hand, is a novel experience. It’s all in the details.
#7 Serve up the most popular breakfast items
Hotel breakfasts general tend to either be exceptional or underwhelming; there’s not much middle ground. So be sure your hotel breakfast is the kind that delights your guests.
We’ve written an article on the most popular breakfast items to help you out with that: “The Top 5 Breakfast Items That Hotel Guests Want.”
And if you’re able to have breakfast served to your guests’ rooms? All the better.
#8 Upgrade the most important amenities
Updating your hotel rooms to keep up with modern standards doesn’t necessarily require massive construction work. By simply updating the most important room amenities, even one at a time, you can start to improve the guest experience.
Check out “The Room Amenities That Matter Most to Your Hotel Guests” for tips on which amenities to upgrade first, and how to do it on a budget.
#9 Use a property management system
By streamlining all your day-to-day operations, you’ll be able to spend more time and energy focusing on your guests and ensuring they have the best stay possible.
We wrote about property management systems, as well as other important hotel tech, in “The Beginner’s Guide to Basic (but Essential) Hotel Technology.” If you’re looking to make the switch to digital, we recommend you read it
#10 Add modern touches of luxury
Modern hotel luxury is now less about opulence and more about experience. It’s good news for accommodation types of all categories, because it means they now have the chance to appeal to luxury travels.
It’s also important to note that ratings are subjective. People will write very positive reviews and compliment your property but then give you 3 stars. To them, a tent in the middle of nowhere would be 1 star and the Ritz-Carlton would be 5 stars. And because you’re somewhere between those two, you get 3 stars.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can even call guests after their stay to ask them about their experience and if they had any suggestions for improvement. In the end, it’s less about knowing everything about hospitality and more about having your guests’ best interests at heart and delivering an experience that will hopefully be celebrated and remembered.