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  • The Storyteller

Check-in Information vs Get Us to the Room Quickly!

It is the same for everyone: when we arrive at the hotel, we would like to get to our room as quickly as possible. Perhaps in some resorts with expansive space, and with the consent of the guests, they may enjoy a leisurely tour of the compounds before reaching their room or villa. Still, it remains a universal truth that we want to settle in as soon as possible.

So please spare the guests the auto-scripted speech about all the outlets and their opening hours. The guests won't remember them all, I assure you. Perhaps breakfast timing matters a little more, although personally I have never found it critical. Besides, most of such information are also provided either on the keycard cover, or in the room (either printed or digitally on iPad/TV). So if a human were to speak to me, the guest, I would rather hear about the insider's tip (e.g. "breakfast on weekends tend to be busier especially during 9 - 10am and we have a wedding group these few days too. So I would suggest to avoid these timing if you can, or order from Room Service, unless you don't mind the crowd or waiting a little"); recommendation (e.g. do try our complimentary tea session tomorrow as it's only available Tuesday and Saturday; If you like street art, there is this pop-up exhibition next to our hotel....."); or offer a service (e.g. Would you like me to check for the availability of babysitters or have more information about the kids club? Would you like me to organise or book any dinner for you and your family?).

Most times, the hotel/room orientation provides basic information, regurgitated like a broken record and often, the articulation is not clear or the speech is rushed through. Usually it is a one-way communication where the employee speaks and the guests listen, and likely to be feeling increasingly impatient and wondering when the ordeal will end. If it serves no true purpose, why do it at all?

The best ones are those that demonstrate care and interest, where the guests feel positive and warmly welcomed. Ask questions to find out more about them and follow-up by anticipating their needs and exceeding their expectations. Plan for a surprise based on a tiny detail observed during the two-way conversation.

My general rule of thumb for orientation: Ask, not just tell. Instead of telling guests the spa is on the 7th floor, ask what type of treatment (e.g. facial, oil massage, feet massage, body scrub) they enjoy. Rather than only informing about the nearest metro, ask if there are some specific places guests have in mind to visit, and offer to arrange the transport or provide more information (e.g. need to change lines? should they buy a prepaid card? are credit cards accepted or must they have small change?). Telling about the Italian restaurant's hours are fine but boring, why not ask if they like this cuisine and what is their favourite Italian dish?

P.S: If the room is not ready at check-in, the luggage should already be sent to the room by the time the guests reach. Do inform if there is any expected delay.

Reflective thoughts: What information would you like to receive at check-in? (apart from having complimentary room upgrade!) Apart from the typical information provided - what would truly make a distinctive difference to the guest? Think of unique ways to make an impression.

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