why understanding the difference between service and hospitality is the foundation stone of our success?
Every single day we express the necessity to enhance guest experience. We need to upgrade our performance, - we stress. We need to excel at delivery, - we constantly repeat; or “we need to improve our service” - we say. And while all these intentions are important and fair, why do we barely ever think about enriching our hospitality?
Within the years our industry became characterised by the service we provide - what and how we do the things. We measure our performance by the speed we serve and the number of options we provide; we create manuals, rules and procedures for training our staff and we focus on ensuring they are followed. But very rarely we help our people understand and feel the essence of hospitality.
Service is not equal to hospitality
The difference between service and hospitality I learned very early in my life growing up in beautiful Lithuania. Like most Lithuanian people my grandma (as I only realised later!) was (and still is!) a real master in hospitality. Her ability to brighten someone’s day was a natural gift resulting in frequently having guests in the house. There were no special or complicated manuals she followed, except of one simply rule - everything what’s best is for the guest!
In her world, service is feeding your guests. Hospitality is cooking your best (or even better - their favourite!) meal and serving it in the newest set of table wear. Service is offering them to stay overnight. Hospitality is letting them sleep in the master bedroom while taking a sofa yourself. Service is the plumber coming to fix your broken pipe. Hospitality - is you offering him home-made lemonade or cup of coffee while he does the job.
Her intent was never to perform the certain act as such, but create the feeling of being welcomed, appreciated and looked after. And that is exactly the main difference between the service and hospitality. Service is the act of transaction - doing something to fulfil your guests needs. Hospitality on the other hand - is doing so while making them feel special and important. It is personalising their experience to…well, make them happier. It is connecting with them and applying to their emotions, not only tangible needs. So service is what and how we do. Hospitality - how that makes them feel.
How to “do” hospitality
So how to do, or, even better - live - hospitality?
As service and hospitality goes hand in hand with each other, to reveal the SECRET to success it is indeed important to master some technical service skills as well as personal characteristics. Working on our emotional intelligence and developing skills and behaviours such as empathy, confidence, responsibility, enthusiasm and social skills, such as team work, is essential.
Starting to train our staff from the very fundamentals, such as, understanding what hospitality is; realising the importance of the guest; perceiving own roles in guest experience, team and whole organisation; and providing the possibility to experience hospitality by themselves, are the key stones in our success path. Because things, which often look so basic, are the vital ones to lead us to greatness!