Hotel front desk now plays vital marketing role

A front desk sets the tone for a guest’s entire stay
Front-desk staff now play a more important role than ever in the success of a hotel, hotel training expert Doug Kennedy says. By creating vital first impressions, these employees are key players in hotel marketing.
In an era of online guest reviews, what used to be known as “word-of-mouth advertising” is now “word of click.” Guests can be a hotel’s greatest advocates and apostles to spread word about their wonderful experiences, or they can be a hotel’s worst nightmare.
A front desk sets the tone for a guest’s entire stay. If they are properly greeted and if they feel truly welcomed, the rest of their stay tends to be positive. If something goes wrong later, they tend to be more forgiving, Kennedy writes.
But a negative first impression does two things. It makes guests hyper-critical during their stay, “looking for flaws like a white-gloved inspector checking for dust at the tops of the picture frames”, and they get what Kennedy refers to as “bad guest karma” – magnifying insignificant problems from that point on.
“Back when I worked at the front desk we were told, ‘Be careful. An unhappy guest will tell nine to 10 others!’ When I first became a hotel industry trainer I used to make my participants calculate the potential for lost business if one unhappy guest caused us to lose 10 future bookings, and it was scary. In today’s world, we can add at least a few zeros after that ‘nine to 10’ number.”
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