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  • The Storyteller

Answering vs Sharing Knowledge

"Is this airport terminal new?" the guest asked.


"Yup", the hotel's airport representative replied.


(End of conversation)

**


"This dish is really nice." the diner remarked.


"Thank you", the restaurant employee responded.


(End of conversation)

**


"Has this hotel been recently refurbished?" the guest enquired.


"Yes, we maintain it regularly." the receptionist answered.


(End of conversation)

**


Often, a connecting moment is one where product knowledge and tidbits of local information is shared with the guest. As a foreign visitor, there are so many things we can learn about - the local culture and customs, the provenance of ingredients, the hotel environment, the dining space, the art pieces hanging in the lobby, or just simply a unique anecdote.


I recalled the rooming employee who told me about how the owner had personally sourced for the hanging lamps and carried them back on his plane. Or the lounge lady who came over to inform me about the background of the sculpture in display as I was admiring the art. Then there was the driver who shared the difference between the old and new design of the airport and its symbolism to the locals. I had also learnt about the painting behind the reception desk was actually done by a fellow guest years ago during his first stay at the Thai resort. He was so enchanted that he did an acrylic painting upon his return to Europe and brought it along to gift the property on his next stay. He has since been returning with his family almost every year.


Too often, employees focus solely on the functional aspects of their role, and forget that they are ambassadors of their workplace, the city they live in, the country they are from. Perhaps they underestimate the quest for knowledge, informal exchange and connection their guests may have. Maybe they think, perhaps wrongly, "oh, they would not be interested to know more".


Reflective thoughts: Identify the various opportunities to share knowledge or/and interesting information with the guests. Encourage the team to incorporate these snippets into the conversation. Think of how to make these "sticky" and memorable so that ideally, both the employees and guests are motivated to pass them on.

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