Oh to be treated like a king…that sounds incredible!
We have all heard this in the hospitality industry either as professionals within the sector or as guests.
What I will disclose here are my personal experiences and by no means am I insinuating that all establishments are guilty of what I describe in the next paragraphs, however, I am pretty sure we have ,in some way , all experienced the below on some level.
Once a property receives the 5 star label we expect certain level in terms of amenities, facilities etc.
The real difference maker is the service.
If the service is great, the experience is amplified 10 fold.
I had the privilege of staying in some of the world’s best properties on a recurring basis and have had ample opportunities to observe extraordinary service and, sadly, service which the management deems extraordinary but in reality is plain and simply obnoxious and demeaning to both the employee and the guest.
Some years ago I stayed 1 month in what still today is considered one of the world’s most elite hotels.
Everything looked spectacular, I was impressed from the moment I saw the entrance and even more once I entered the lobby.
I was advised that I would have a butler at my disposal and informed of all the facilities available etc.
Everything good so far.
There were absolutely no glitches for the first few days.
Suddenly, I received a phone call and it was, you guessed it, the butler!
He was “kindly” checking if I required anything. I simply said no thank you and thought that was the end of it.
Little did I know…
The next day again, then a few days break..And then again.
This continued until it came to the boiling point and I heard a knock at the door.
I had no clue who it was as I wasn’t expecting anybody and it was way too early for turndown service.
Lo and behold…the butler…whom I did not call…at all…ever!
Very politely he asked, “Sir Please, is there anything I can do for you?”
I said no thank you, he, very politely, asked again “please sir are you sure there is nothing you need?” , at this point I started to feel guilty and stupid at the same time and said , ok, if you could bring me a couple of chocolates that would be great.
“Certainly sir!” he answered.
10 minutes later I hear a knock, I open the door and it’s the butler with not a couple of chocolates, but 2 entire boxes of chocolates!
I said thank you tipped him ate, 4 or 5 chocolates out of the 2 dozen that he brought and left the others in the boxes until I checked out and left the property.
The truth is, I absolutely hate this!
I don’t like being asked If I need anything more than once and I definitely don’t like being asked if I’m sure about my decision.
I don’t enjoy, at dinner, being asked if everything is ok or to my liking more than once.
I detest if I continuously get asked how my stay is.
Is this an insecurity issue on behalf of the staff or the management?
If properties advertise that to them the guest is king, and their service is supreme and is the pride of the brand…why do you keep asking questions?
You should have this down to a science!
You see to me, and maybe not everyone shares my opinion, a king is a ruler.
A ruler is a shot caller, a decision taker and maker, someone that knows what he wants and someone that knows what he needs and when he needs it.
So my understanding of “treating me like a king” is, when I ask for something, execute it in an efficient and expeditious manner and be available to me so that when I have a question or need something you are there to help me.
Sometimes I feel like I’m being treated like someone who hasn’t got a clue of what I want or like…constant unsolicited greetings and smiles, daily questions, eager butlers, etc…Ruins my kingly experience totally.
A king says bring me a coffee…the coffee arrives, book me the spa…the spa is booked…make me a reservation here and there…A king wishes to have a conversation he starts one…done!
That is what makes the difference in service, the speed of the response, the efficiency of the answer and the execution to the demand.
I don’t like to feel as if the staff is forced to ask me how I am at every corner of the property, I don’t like people kneeling down just to speak to me.
There are many gracious ways to do this without going to extremes.
Every human being is exactly that, a human being and deserves the same respect and dignity as everyone else.
If I, as the guest, initiate a conversation, then by all means let’s chat.
To my knowledge that’s how it happens with Kings. They initiate the conversation.
A simple Good morning Sir is fine, if I want to talk more ill continue if not, it’s a pleasant thing to hear, I reply, smile, job done and we are both happy.
How many times do I encounter staff in luxury properties who feel inferior to the guests and are, in my opinion, forced to ask a standardized set of questions?
So many times the nervousness and insecurity of the employees is palatable.
This cannot be a nice feeling for them.
How can they execute great service if they feel undermined and/or insecure?
Another thing is tip chasers.
I believe in tipping.
In fact I believe in over tipping.
The reason why is that I know as a fact that this improves my experience at these types of hotels and well…I like that.
I however do not like it when it evolves into borderline harassment and basically becomes a variation of the above mentioned points.
In a nutshell, I believe that there is a widespread inferiority complex amongst staff and this is not only detrimental to the brand, but more importantly, it is detrimental to them as human beings.
It is up to management to instill pride of their job into them and to continuously train them and also, something that is forgotten way too often, commend them when they are doing well.
What I mean is, commend them immediately after whatever it is they deserve it for, not at the end of the week or the month.
Be ever present.
Implement casino tactics.
Casino floor managers and the pit boss always know what’s going on and have their eyes on everything In this case it would be the guests and their experience.
In actuality, all the above issues are actually issues that begin with the management. If the management is efficient and attentive to its staff the staff is then efficient and attentive to their guests.
I have, at times, had far better service in 4 star hotels than in ultra-luxury hotels.
Even check in is becoming confusing.
I want an efficient and fast and painless check in.
Making me wait for my “experience manager” or my Lifestyle manager” as some of these properties like to call them, to give me an in room check in defeats the whole purpose.
I would rather check in right away in the lobby rather than wait for them, have to go in the elevator with them whilst entertaining pointless and sometimes uncomfortable chit chat and then still have to check in in my room!
Provide me my room key before I even arrive to the property!
Let me walk straight in, hop right into the elevator and up to my suite and have the sheet I need to sign right there on the table in my suite with a nice pen and collect it when it’s time for turndown service.
ID? A scan copy has been sent to you already so that you could send me my key prior to my arrival so no need to show it to you anymore.
If you can’t do that then please, let me have a nice comfortable stay with some great service which I pay for and without unnecessary chit chat , just professionalism, quick execution and proud staff!…that makes me feel like I’m being treated like a king.