A “compact program” on hospitality and outstanding guest service provided insights on how to connect with customers during a workshop Friday at the Hampton Inn & Suites.
The workshop, which also provided certification along with the insights for 10 participants, was handled by Linda Barnett, former manager of the Hampton Inn and now operations director for Eagle Hospitality & Adventures at the same north Carson City location. Barnett focused on seven key elements of customer service and summed them up with an addendum in triplicate:
“And most of all, it’s connecting, connecting, connecting with people you’re talking to,” she said. That is crucial anytime you’re interacting with someone, Barnett said.
The seven elements are being authentic; being intuitive; being empathetic; championing the guests’ interests; providing delight with extras that surprise; delivering by following through with needed service; and always taking initiative. She gave various examples, including one from her Hampton Inn experience. She showed a video about actual hotel guest service situations across the nation and had her charges role-play under similar circumstances.
Her anecdote regarding the Hampton recalled a night when there was a power outage. Inn employees handed out flashlights to guests and brought them from their rooms to partake of wine and make the rare outage festive for the lodgers.
“We partied,” she said. “That’s something memorable.”
She also counseled service personnel to be pleasant, look guests in the eye while interacting, and avoid doing less than their best.
“If one of us does one thing that’s not great, we’re all taking a step back,” she said.
Hilton Worldwide allocated a $5,000 Travel and Purpose Action Grant to Western Nevada College, Hampton Inn of Carson City, Carson Valley Inn and the Carson City and Carson Valley chambers of commerce to help put on the workshop. It was keyed to an American Hotel and Lodging Association program, which provides the certification for those attending.
David Steiger, WNC director of economic development, was on hand to describe the Guest Service Gold Workshop as a compact program that he also has said helps give WNC’s hospitality program a great head start. Also there was Ronni Hannaman, Carson City chamber executive director, who has said hospitality and tourism should be given higher priority in the community.