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What is it that makes people smile (or not)?
Published by: Hugo Mechelse
Published on: 10-07-2014 3:49 PM
Pageviews: 1590

Do you ever think about how many times staff in a hotel or restaurant make you smile? That unidentified reason that evokes a pleasure? From my experience, not enough (OK I’m sometimes too critical). But what is that makes it happen or not?

'Just do your job'

In hospitality a lot of people ‘just do their job’. In order to survive that’s about all you need. Basically it is that simple. But of course there is a little bit more to it as well. In the end it does not add to your self-esteem, your self-confidence or your pleasure to ‘just do your job’.  In our profession, it is a kind of game we play with ourselves and with our employer or guest for that matter: we want to beat them. We want to be first on location, have the drink ready before he even realises he is thirsty, have the jacket pressed before he asks for it or the dress ready on the hanger, before she can ask for it: the list is endless.


I’m a passionate promoter of personalised service: I’m convinced you can really make other people happy, by just doing the right thing at the right time. ‘Anticipating needs’, we call this. And this goes way beyond a possible job description. Job descriptions give a guideline for sustainability and security for some staff. To lay down the basis, you need them. But job descriptions don’t bring smiles to a guest or an employers face. And that is just what we want to do! It is what we as professionals add to this.

Maybe it is a gift, but I know it is also embedded in the culture of each hotel or restaurant. May I recall again the sharp observations of Danny Meyer in his ‘Setting the table’. Your team is the most important asset you have; that will make the different, this is what will fuse passion and as such bring a smile on the face of your guests, as well as on the faces of the staff. This is why managers for a start should have this smile on their face. If they don’t what reason or motivation should staff have to have this smile on their face?

Leading by example

It is all about leading by example again. This is exactly why I keep on encouraging hotels to include (line)managers in my training: to drag them away from their desk to sparkle them with a bit of passion for the guest and to show them what their staff I doing. Leading by example is a much stronger tool for securing sustainability than a job description.

What is hospitality without Passion!

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