The Honest Truth: Staff And Guest Relationships

There are two relationships critical in managing your hotel property. The first is your relationship with your associates, and it is cultural. The second is your relationship with guests, which is emotional. The two are related because how well you do with associates relationships will determine your success with guests relationships.

Psychiatrists tell us there are four basic human emotions: glad, sad, mad and scared. Obviously, there are hundreds of derivatives for each, but these four frame my article. 

The emotional state odds suggest that 25% of your guests arrive happy and in a state of general peace while 75% check-in with an infinite number of mental and emotional anxieties depending on their life situations. They need more than mints on a pillow.

Consider the states of mind of two different couples–– a young, newlywed couple celebrating their first night of marriage, and an older couple needing accommodations the night before the husband battling a life-threatening disease is admitted to a nearby hospital. Two couples with two very different emotional states.



Guests are humans, and we all want to be the center of attention and have our needs and desires met. That’s why it’s critical associates be aware of each guest’s emotional state (glad, sad, mad or scared), and using their own empathetic and interpersonal skills, engage with each guest on a human, compassionate level. 

You can spark and nurture this behavior through your relationship with associates, by creating a strong, collaborative, trusting and transparent working environment that will provide a cultural backbone and give associates the strength to deliver service and results beyond expectation. It’s our responsibility to train associates both professionally and personally. 

Training professionally is by far easier, yet many businesses still ignore it. You must provide associates the tools needed to carry out their tasks professionally, expeditiously and seamlessly. You need structured and detailed hiring processes, followed by detailed, in-depth training in whichever disciplines they’ve been hired to perform. 

Developing associates personally means many things beyond practicing simple good manners. We need to develop — and I do mean develop — our associates in social awareness. We must encourage and help them achieve self-awareness. It's critical since self-awareness develops self-management skills. Then, associates can learn to interpret events and act accordingly, successfully dealing with each guest on an emotional level. 

Through self-management, an associate becomes a person driven by the desire to please, rather than impress. This behavior results in surprising and delighting our guests in ways often unseen. 

To achieve it requires endless commitment from you, and hours of training from the hotel owner or operator. But executed successfully, you will have an incredible hotel and guest experience that cannot be mimicked, copied or mirrored by competing businesses who aren’t willing to take these vital steps in service evolution. 

My father once told me that people should feel better about whom they are after they had met me than before. That should also be your hotel goal. Make your guests feel better about themselves after they’ve left than when they arrived. 

Guests may forget what we say, but they will never forget how we made them feel. 

I challenge you to put your operation to the test today by changing your front desk language. When a guest checks out, don’t ask how his or her stay was–– instead ask how you made him or her feel. 

If we are not emotionally enriching others, we are not succeeding.

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