Can You Smile Beneath that Mask?

guest service during covid19

Guest Service in the Time of The Coronavirus

Tough times are these, but then, I don’t need to tell you that sitting on your shut-down property with your team members all out on leave, paid or otherwise.

And there will be plenty of articles and suggestions for how to spend that time, cleaning, organizing, working from home to maintain data and to-do lists and preparations for reopening sometime in the future.

But what about service?

What about the service needs of your guests and team members when they return? That’s a good question, and while I don’t have a lot of answers for you at this point, there are a few things I am sure of …

  • Your team members will need reassurance and support as they come back to work. Is it safe? What procedures will be in place? Will they need to wear masks? Practice social distancing? How and where and when?
  • Same with your guests, they need assurance about safety and security as they come back to their home-away-from-home.
  • It will be more important than ever to reinforce the need for delivering basic service standards while performing work upon reopening. Things like smiling, greeting, listening and wishing well and good luck and goodbye. These basics will be more important than ever.
  • Back of house service standards will be even more critical. How we treat each other, especially manager to front-line, will be critical in reestablishing a proper environment and culture of care and concern within the organization.
  • Communication, both about cleaning and safety procedures, and about services and products available and not available when reopening, will be critical.
  • On-property signage that furthers this communication will be a critical need, letting guests and team members know about cleanliness and sanitation.
  • It may be necessary to screen for signs of illness in guests (and team members) in the same way security now screen for inebriation or underage patrons.
  • External marketing vehicles, direct mail, texting and push notifications, etc., will be a critical component in reassuring and welcoming back guests (and team members).

Start Preparing Now

As you ponder these and other issues while remaining at, or working from home, keep in mind that planning for all this right now will eliminate a lot of pain and confusion during the hectic time of reopening the property. Here are a few suggestions for preparing and planning during prior to opening:

  • Online reinforcement and training in service standards and protocols, especially if you have team members still on payroll while quarantined at home, will pay huge dividends when you reopen.
  • Leadership programs and training for your management and supervisory team members can also be conducted online at this time.
  • Involve as many team members as possible in the planning stages of developing your reopening strategies. These types of meetings and calls for input can also be done online and through remote meetings (Zoom is a great tool for this, check it out).
  • What other skills training can be conducted remotely or online during this time? For example, I am currently providing online advanced sales training for hosts at one of my client properties (and they are half-way around the world, so it can be done).

Let’s face it, if you have paid team members sitting at home looking for ways to stay occupied, then now is the time to think about training, planning, and strategizing. Put together a program and get busy. Before you know it, you’ll be back, engrossed in the glue of running your properties and will wish for the days when you had more time!

Put some work and thought and effort into these areas now and your property will come out of this better, stronger, and more powerful than ever before.

And that’s what I call making lemonade out of lemons.

Good luck and take care.

Steve Browne