Make Your Guests' Experience Top Priority

In a classic episode of comedic television series The Dick Van Dyke Show, Dick Van Dyke’s character, Rob Petrie, sneaks out of his army camp to meet his new bride, Laura, at a nearby bed and breakfast. In this comedic tale, Laura studies the signs indicating various house rules while waiting for Rob to arrive. In addition, the underprepared innkeeping woman is continually invading the room to put in towels and is often heard shouting up the stairs. The innkeeper is obviously frustrated and often treats Laura and Rob Petrie as a burden. This melodramatic portrayal of an innkeeper is funny. We all know that real innkeepers care about their guests. However, the innkeeper’s mistakes on The Dick Van Dyke Show remind us of simple no-brainers we should keep in mind when guests arrive. Let’s start with:
  1. Guests have expectations.
  2. Much like the new bride, Laura Petrie, on The Dick Van Dyke Show, all guests have expectations. They have prepared and arrived filled with ideas of how their vacation should go. After all, why shouldn’t they? What’ is important to a customer should be important to you as an innkeeper. Try your best to make their experience as welcoming as possible. Something that helpsthem to feel cared for is to send, before they arrive, a welcome email giving them directions and instructions. This makes your guest’s travel less stressful and helps build excitement.
  3. Give them "dime" moments.
  4. Norbert Schwarz in a study of his, found that something as small as a dime can change the way we view life. He placed a dime on a copy machine and interviewed the people who both found the dime and those who did not. He then asked the individual how happy they were about life. The people who found the dime were more upbeat and had a much better outlook than those who did not.DIMES “Very minimal things can temporarily put you in a good mood,” said Schwarz. “Those who found the dime were more happy and more satisfied and wanted to change their lives less than those who didn’t.” He went on to say, “It’s not the value of what you find. It’s that something positive happened to you.” Schwarz’s research also found that the “dime” moment only worked if the participants didn’t connect their happiness to finding the dime. Once they realized the dime is what made them happy, they often would brush it off—“It’s just a dime.” We dismiss it because we tend to think happiness has to come from some grand event or gesture, but it is often the small things—the little steps we take—that can change everything. With that principle in mind, remember that simple things, like a welcoming smile or a thank you email after they have left, are great ways to brighten your guests’ day. In addition, you can send guests birthday and anniversary emails wishing them the best.
  5. Be prepared for your guest.
  6. In the video, Rob arrives at the hotel and the mattress is missing and the innkeeper is even freshening up the room while he is in it. This kind of inattention to detail, though exaggerated, sometimes happens. Housekeeping might forget to straighten up. Some locations need very little preparation while others need much more. No matter whether you are a big or small property, being prepared for a guest’s arrival will make their settling in so much easier. The less you have to tweak, the more enjoyable their stay will be.
  7. Treat your guest like a celebrity.
  8. In The Dick Van Dyke Show clip, the innkeeper says she “wants her guests to feel like they are in their own home and I am a member of their family.” An article on Hospitality Trends explains that there is a fine line between being familiar, accommodating, and helpful to your guests versus being annoying and intrusive. Guests often want to be able to go into their room and shut the rest of the world out, not have an innkeeper standing in the doorway while guests are in compromising situation like the Petries. Allowing guests to have their space when they need it is a great way for them to feel respected. In essence, be available when your guest needs you but don’t stalk their every move.
  9. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  10. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff A “No rocking after 8 PM” sign was placed on the rocking chair in the room on the episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show. Laura got an earful from downstairs the minute she began rocking. She was just trying to relax and she was miserable. As long as guests aren’t being destructive or disturbing other guests, giving them a little leeway can make them feel like they are special. Rules are important and should be enforced, but the guests shouldn’t feel like they're intruding or are a burden.
Our emotions and memories tend to be tied to the small moments of our lives, both good and bad. Remember that we are emotional beings. The slightest things can affect those emotions, even a dime. Make sure that your guests experience simple gestures that make the world seem a little bit brighter.; even if it is just your welcoming smile.
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