Hospitality 201: Being Available

One of the key aspects of great hospitality is being available and accessible to your guests when they have questions, problems, or needs.  Your guests are in a new environment, which is inherently a little less comfortable, and are quite unlikely to come seeking you out if they have needs (especially if they are smaller issues).  But if you are readily available, they will be much more likely to come to you with concerns.

Each time a guest tells you of a need, it gives you the opportunity to show them how important they are to your organization.  Rather than seeing the problem as an inconvenience, it is important to understand that every problem that arises gives staff the chance to prove to every guest that they are able to solve issues quickly and efficiently, and that they are willing to go through the inconvenience.  This makes people feel valued, a key piece of meeting The 3 Needs for each guest.

But as much as you’d like to be available to your guests at all times, you do have work to accomplish.  Campsites have guests almost all the time (at least if your camp is doing well), and your other work cannot wait indefinitely to start.  This is impractical.  So how can you be as available as possible while still doing the rest of your job?

  1. Identify key leaders.  Whoever the group, there will always be a few guests who are the lead coordinators or planners for the group.  These people might be teachers, pastors, youth leaders, etc.  Find out who is perceived as the ‘leader’ of the group you are hosting, and be available to them.  Ask guests to go to one of these leaders with problems, and consistently connect with these people to see if anything needs your attention.
  2. Be present at key moments.  Camper schedules have a certain amount of similarity, and so you can plan your availability around known elements.  Be around during check in and check out, and at least either breakfast or supper.  If you are able, make yourself available for at least a few minutes at each meal, and possibly at the start or end of large sessions.  You only need to be around for a few minutes at a time, just long enough to check in with group leaders, and then you can go on your way to whatever other responsibilities you have.

Just those two things should keep your guests happy and give them the feeling of value you want everyone connected to your organization to leave with.

Related Articles:

Hospitality 101

Hospitality 102: The Friendly Greeting

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