Whether you're an event planner or a member of the hospitality industry, customer service should be very important to you.

Look around: When it comes to service, the world has changed. We pump our own gas, we use ATMs for most banking transactions, and we scan and bag our own groceries. As businesses continue to automate and reduce expenses, self-service has become the norm.

What does this trend mean for hotels and other hospitality venues? Guest service matters now more than ever. While other businesses allow or silently encourage customer interactions to wane, guests’ expectations remain high for hotels and resorts.

Many of the world’s finest hotels have been built on exemplary service. Their reputation for service has become their brand. Advertising did not (and cannot!) create this. Only time and commitment to providing service will create word-of-mouth buzz and consumer loyalty. It can only happen personto- person, one interaction at a time.

At Shanty Creek Resorts, we train staff to live by our Golden Rule of Hospitality. It’s a simple concept that says, “We will treat our guests the way we’d want to be treated.” This approach extends well beyond the check-in desk or the restaurant table.

The key is to keep in mind that at some point, we are all consumers; we have questions and want an answer, we need advice or we are lost and need directions. By putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes, we can give guests exactly what they need. And then we do this with a smile or a firm handshake. It’s friendly and genuine. And it doesn’t matter what job title you hold—everyone plays a role in delivering guest service.

Another simple rule we employ is to use our manners, the ones taught to us in kindergarten. We say please, thank you and you’re welcome. We add sir and ma’am. And we say yes, not yeah or uh huh. We recognize that small details go a long way if they are genuine.

Is it easy? Well, no, not always. Sometimes we err and must make amends with an agitated guest. Even if it’s difficult, we know each instance must be seen as an opportunity to earn trust, respect and, hopefully, longterm loyalty.


Chris Hale is vice president of marketing at Shanty Creek Resorts, winner of the 2014 Best of Michigan award for Guest Service.

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