Hoteliers know that there are certain unwritten boundaries that we must follow to appropriately address our guests. Departing from the fact that respect is always present, here are some of my personal boundaries:
- Never call a guest before 9:00 am or after 8:00 pm,
- Address a guest by Mr. and Mrs. Plus their last name,
- Exercise the Motto: “The answer is yes, now what is the question,”
- Let the guest enjoy at their leisure, and let them contact you if they need you,
- I only shake a hand if a hand is extended (to respect people’s private space).
All of these rules are wonderful, and give me a clear (and safe) path to manage a cordial relationship.
The “problem” presents when we have those amazing guests who clearly cannot only be guests. They are kind with us and so generous when it comes to compliment, reward, forgive, that it is difficult to address them as a “guest” because all you want to do is hug them and say: “Thank you for appreciating our jobs”. Sometimes there is so much focus on the guest who is not completely satisfied, that we forget to recognize those who are the complete opposite and give true meaning to the joy of serving others.
I am not quite sure when a guest becomes a friend to me. It’s not after “x” amount of stays at our property, or after an interaction. I guess it is when both, them and I are able to establish a meaningful connection, and we both allow ourselves to be vulnerable and open to another human being.
When a guest becomes a friend, I long for their return. I’m a hugger (and I introduce myself as such) so it is nice to see them with their open arms to receive a warm embrace. We laugh together, we share personal stories or crazy tails about our families, and we even share tears if the situation requires it.
Today it can be perceived as is unprofessional to send handwritten thank you note, a missing you notes, or say to a guest: “Oh, we love you!” I completely disagree. I love all the guests that over the years have become my friends. I celebrate them, and I cherish their return to Vail. I know this sounds like a cliché, but I so hope you come to stay with us as a guest, and leave as our friend…. The world needs more friends.
Picture below shows some of our many, many friends….