My GM often speaks about “discovering” the guests at our property. It’s strange how different wording can make you think differently about the things you do everyday. When a guest approaches me I immediately begin to read, or “discover,” them. Do they look mad, confused, happy, indifferent? I then prepare myself for the interaction. Sometimes this means putting my guard up; other times it means loosening up. I then hear the compliment, statement or concern and react. There are so many factors, both internal and external – your mood, their mood, the surroundings, the situation – that influence these interactions every day. Unfortunately, there is no calculation to deliver the perfect result. You must rely on your social, persuasive, intellectual and – let’s be honest -BS skills. 

These interactions usually lead to two outcomes: negative or positive. For the most part, I understand that the outcome lies about 75 percent on my shoulders.  When I’m delivering negative information, the outcome is usually negative. This does not always have to be the case though. Simple empathy and sincerity can go a long way. Sure, the outcome might not be positive, but it does not have to be overwhelmingly negative. Just like a good joke, delivery is key. 

This goes hand in hand with the discovery process. Understand the guest’s situation, evaluate it, deliver your response and focus all your attention on putting it into the most positive light possible. Let the guest know that you care, and hopefully you do. 

I love when I see my fellow employees take pride in their guests. I see some of my agents come into my office every day at the end of their shifts and take the time to handwrite a personal letter, read it out loud for whoever is there to listen, take their advice, and send it up to the room with a special amenity. It’s truly awesome to see how much effort they put into discovering their guests and delivering an experience to them. I challenge everyone out there to discover their guests and, more importantly, discover themselves in the process.  

I’m currently in the phase of discovering my management style. From what I’ve been told, this is an ever-changing process.  As I grow, experience new situations and ideas, and mature, I’m sure the way I way I manage will change. It’s my job to make sure I am progressing and changing for the better.  

I’m one of those people who love change. I think it’s important to renew yourself every so often. That is one of the main reasons I decided to work in the hospitality industry.  You have the opportunity to be renewed almost every day because no day is like the one before, for the most part. I like to think that I change in a small way every day. Whether it’s an interaction with a co-worker or guest, I try to take something out of each individual situation. 

People are fascinating. There are times when I go into the lobby and just people watch. Now that we are in the holiday season, it’s especially entertaining. A lot can be taken in from watching and “discovering from a distance.” Maybe you see someone who looks confused or lost. This is a great opportunity to take the initiative and offer assistance. This is especially fun because we have these nifty iPads with helpful apps that the guests love (and so do I.)  

So please take it upon yourself to discover your guests and discover yourself in the process. Find ways to renew your outlook on life and your career. Be open to the smallest change, and don’t forget how important YOU are to the success of your operation.