The old adage “you only get one chance to make a first impression” means so much more when you work in the hospitality industry. For hotels and resorts, the front desk is one of the key areas to make that mind-boggling first impression. It can be the difference between a positive guest experience and a bad online review. What can you do to make your front desk shine and create the positive impression?
The Art of Anticipation
Travelers coming into the hotel are coming off long flights, frustrating lines at the taxi stand or the car rental desk and other stressful events. The hotel is their final stop before relaxation and fun, so a little anticipation of their needs goes a long way.
What is that guest thinking as they walk through the front door? Is he or she glad to get out of the rain? Then there should be a staff member on hand to offer a clean towel or to take a wet umbrella. Does the guest appear to be looking around? A guide to the property should be one of the first things handed to them.
That ability to read the guest and anticipate what they need creates the wow factor, but it should never be presumptive. The guest must always feel in command.
The Sophisticated Touches
The desk accents should be tasteful and sophisticated. Fresh flowers are a nice touch, but they lose their appeal if they are wilted and sad looking, for example. Make sure the desk appears organized and private, but with minimal clutter. Buff all the polished surfaces and ensure the staff is clean looking and professional.
The Management Presence
A front desk with a visible manager sends a message to the guest – personalized service starts at the top. It is a show of commitment that makes an impression. It will also encourage the front desk staff to have their best customer service hats on at all times.
The Spirited Desk
That front line staff must be gracious and genuine, too. They should exuberate hospitality personality without coming off as fake as cold. This includes attention to detail, a sense of priority and follow-through on guest requests. Toss a smile into the mix and you have front desk staff sure to make a good impression even on the most harried of guests.
Super Fast Check-Ins
The faster the check in, the better the impression – long waits at the front desk will cost you. Keep the check-in process as uncomplicated as possible. For example, the Nobu Hotel Caesars
Palace has staffers that walk around and check people in using an iPad. You can add to this by offering an expedited checkout system, as well.
A Knowledgeable Front Line
For some hotels, the front line actually starts before the guest makes it to the desk. Ensure the doorman, porters and bellboys can answer any questions travelers have and get them moving in the right direction.
The experience a guest has at the front desk sets the tone for their stay. A good first impression has the power to make that stay a good one.