Hospitality is more than façades

You walk into a hotel, and it has a terrific lobby – clean, comfortable, well-kept, and inviting. So far, so good.

You walk up to the check-in desk for the next layer of hospitality opportunities. This is your first opportunity to see the hotel’s true colors:

  • Do you greet me and make me feel welcome?
  • Is my reservation correct, and is my room ready as expected?
  • If something is not quite right, do you apologize and try to make it better?

I’ve found that most unsatisfactory hotel stays begin with an unsatisfactory check-in experience.

Lobby vs. rooms

As a frequent traveler, another common experience is the "fancy lobby, cruddy room" scenario. Sometimes it’s the condition of the room (my non-smoking room obviously hasn’t always been non-smoking, the room furniture is worn out or dirty, etc.).

Sometimes, it’s that the room is just not set up for business travel (when I travel, I really need a place to work and some hotels misrepresent certain business amenities on their web sites). Have you ever stayed in a hotel room that has a desk, but the only phone is on the nightstand and the cord won’t reach the desk? Or "in-room internet access" is really a dial-up data port on the phone? It’s the 21st century, and I expect more.

I could go on, but my point is that these experiences often drive me to "write off" a hotel or even a hotel chain, and I will avoid staying there in the future.

How does your lobby compare to your guest rooms?

We all know first impressions are important. However, does your first presentation to others reflect what you’ll be like down the road?

  • What are you like when things don’t go as expected?
  • Do you take extra effort to be welcoming and comfortable throughout your guests "stay" with you?
  • Do you set the appropriate expectations with others, and stand behind your commitments?
  • If you fall short, do you take responsibility and try to make it right?
  • Do you update your "amenities" when you find that they are not working for your "guests?"

If you were a hotel, how many stars would you receive?

Our Guest Author: Dwayne Melancon is the author of Genuine Curiosity, where he is always on the lookout for new things to learn.

Dwayne is quite the seasoned traveler and road warrior, and lodging establishments everywhere would take heed in learning about those true signs of hospitality he looks for!
~ Rosa


  1. says

    Dwayne, you make some good points here. Not long ago a hotel desk clerk asked me to go to the lobby to do my online work because that’s where the WiFi is located. You can bet I won’t be back! Convenience goes with hospitality and it does make a difference.

  2. says

    As an ex-hotelier Dwayne, yours is one of those posts that hits where it hurts when I am completely truthful about my own early blunders in the hotel industry.
    I very vividly remember handling a complaint at one of our hotel’s restaurants one day, where a customer ranted on and on – and he was right – about how the servers I was “hiding in the back room” weren’t as well trained, nor seemed to care about him as much as the “Ms. Aloha hostess” we had at the door of the restaurant who had absolutely charmed him. Though he was very upset, he patiently and passionately explained to me that I did my hostess a disservice, by tarnishing her image and reputation with poor partnerships in the rest of the restaurant. As wonderful as she was, now it almost seemed to him that she was just bait, and false advertising.
    That was a conversation I never, ever forgot. It was a management lesson on how I owed it to my stars to ensure that everyone else they worked with was a star too; no other job I did would be as important.