“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music”
– Friedrich Nietzsche.
This quote by Nietzsche has always stuck in my head. Not so much for the statement itself, but for what it can be expanded to. We all dance to our own music. Some call it the beat of our own drum. To some, our dance looks chaotic. To others, it looks rhythmic and intoxicating. What more interests me, are those people that can recognize other people’s music and sync with them in their own rhythm and beat. These are the truly talented hospitality folks I occasionally work with.
To be hospitable, you need to have an environment where people feel comfortable. To be in sync with guests and what they desire, even before they know what they desire, is creates one of the most hospitable environments. But while this is intuitive to some, others of us need assistance to recognize and predict desires.
And what does this have to do with technology you ask? Well to those of us that are not as intuitive and cannot recognize the music of our guests from across the room, we need help. Much like the contact list of your phone that helps you remember your best friend’s phone number, technology can help you know your guests’ music before they arrive. (Quick: kudos to those reading that can recite, without looking, their best friend’s phone number!)
There is also a perspective that even when you can get in tune, you need some historical perspective to provide the best guest service. Technology has been a tremendous help in achieving this. To know when the guest was last here or at another one of our properties. What they liked to do for food, recreation, or entertainment. Even to what they used in their mini-bar to ensure that at least it is there, if not to ensure it is there in abundance.
Technology can be a crutch. But for those that need assistance to be effective, a crutch is of phenomenal value, especially when used to serve the guest. We need to train our employees to recognize the music of our guests. And when that is not possible or needs to be supplemented, technology should be there to assist in exceeding the guests’ expectations.
When looking for or creating management applications, it is important to keep three items in mind. One, the application should record as much as possible about guest history and preferences. Two, the user interface should be geared towards the staff members that are going to use it. Sometimes just listing the information and sometimes prompting them through the information to best serve the guest. And third, it needs to be secured. PCI may be involved as a minimum standard but some of what we may record is intimate and considered private to our guests. We need to ensure it stays that way. But overall when all is takeng into account. We will have a happy guest and be rewarded with repeat and enhanced stays by that guest.
And a note to end on. Should you be one of those who can hear the music of others, then I applaud you. I’ve admired and envied many of you over the years.