The art of adding a personal touch in the hospitality industry

hospitality industry | Amit Tejpal | Founder | Tejpal Hospitality
Amit Tejpal | Founder | Tejpal Hospitality

Good service in the hotel and restaurant industry is the newest need for even establishments with the best food for generations. We often see older restaurants being consistent with their food quality, but more often than not they skimp in even the most basic etiquettes, like refilling the guest’s glass of water upon seeing an empty glass, or escorting a guest to their table.
Without a personal touch hospitality fades to only an eating / sleeping experience, ‘experience’ being the operative word here. Hospitality, especially top class, is only about creating the best experiences for guests. Whilst offering food with gold leafing or caviar, and butlers to pack and unpack luggage are the norm to promote luxury, a personal touch goes a far longer way in leaving a lasting impression and making the guests’ experience a memory of a lifetime. In fact for most well travelled tourists or people who frequent fancy restaurants, a personal touch is the only unique thing about their experience.
A personal touch doesn’t mean being overly chatty with a guest, neither is it supposed to be intrusive nor is it supposed to be over involved, it is just simple gestures that let the guest know that they are / will be taken care off very well, and the staff is thinking about their experience from their perspective. Good examples of things which show a personal touch are like keeping a regular guest’s favorite table reserved, knowing their regular order, and ensuring it is delivered as per their taste and time expected, it is doing things like adding personal photos of guests with their family, on their bedside table, if the hotelier wants to go out of the way, when the guest checks in to their hotel room. Most guests are not looking for freebies, if they are regular or frequent travelers / restaurant guests they are only looking to be recognized as a regular and offered their services with care and without mistakes, whilst guests who go out less often are looking for a memorable experience, which may require some additional personal attention from the hotelier in making them comfortable.
Adding a ‘Personal Touch’ is a tool used to show the guests that you care as a hospitality professional, and it should only be used to create a memorable experience for a customer, not to gain additional revenue or as a sales technique, as guests do understand those things too. We mostly see VIPs getting additional attention as they are important people for different reasons, or guests with a high billing capacity getting additional favors from the management. Any of these favors for high spenders, or personal butlers attached to VIPs cannot be considered as adding a personal touch, it more like an expectation fulfilled. When a personal touch is added it should be done only to make a guest happy, and may not necessarily include giving freebies, it could be just the staff getting together and singing ‘happy birthday’ around the guest’s table, or offering them a free ride into the city / airport in a hotel car which is already going towards their destination. It means getting their children a small Cadbury chocolate even though hotels and restaurants don’t keep Cadbury chocolates to give. It could offering free laundry service to a guest who has dropped some food on their clothes, or it might be arranging a guest’s favorite ‘jalebi’ or ‘pyaz kachori’ from the nearby snacks shop, even though the hotel has the same items available on their menu. It is about giving a honeymoon couple their space with a bottle of wine, or arranging a few toys or a babysitter for the children of young parents. These efforts qualify as personal touches, as they were not readily available for purchase, and the hotelier had to go out of the way for that guest in a curated, personal way.
In conclusion the important thing to remember is that going out of the way for guests is being recognized more and more nowadays as restaurants and hotels are branded on their ‘warmth’ in offering hospitality, and the guests are far more exposed to various styles of classy service. The most personal touches today are seen in the casino industry where anything is offered to bring in the high rollers, however all hospitality has a responsibility to make every experience special. All they need to do is to try to understand and assess the guests’ needs before the guest mentions it to them, a hint of charm while talking to the guest, and to do whatever it takes to correct any situation which might be a negative moment of truth for the guest’s experience on that day. When these personal touches are added to anyone’s experience, it makes the entire experience far more memorable and interesting. It gives the guest a new perspective on hospitality at that location, and hotelier the satisfaction of having served well by adding their own personal touch.
About the Author
Amit Tejpal has worked at 12 five star hotels in 9 cities, owned a restaurant and food vending business, and presently consults and executes restaurant and hotel projects for clients through his company Tejpal Hospitality.
Tejpal Hospitality is a B2B setup that aims to assist, current or aspiring, Restaurateurs and Hoteliers to establish new Restaurants – Bars and Hotels and upgrade existing ones with global standards of quality and service.
You can reach out to Amit on fb, Twitter and LinkedIn

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