Good manners = Good business

When addressing new intakes of employees at our monthly welcome events, I always make a point to talk to them about our Avari Service Promise, which is to do our very best to ensure that every guest who visits, stays or dines at an Avari International Hotel leaves happy and satisfied with every aspect of their Avari service experience.

I then spend some time explaining what I believe to be one of the prerequisites for ensuring this actually happens, which is the display of good manners — acting appropriately in a way that’s socially acceptable and respectful, as that type of polished behavior will go a long way in ensuring our in-house guests and our corporate clients respond positively to our service and sales efforts.  

I tell them if they display respect, care and consideration for others’ needs, those excellent manners can help them and us to have better relationships with all those guests and corporate clients we already know and those we will encounter later as a result of our good-mannered reputation.

I use simple examples to illustrate how they can acquire and display good manners, beginning with personal hygiene, good grooming, good posture and using good grammar when corresponding with clients — and of course always saying “please” and “thank you” when interacting with our guests in the hotel. We also train our restaurant and front desk service providers to say thank you when a guest is leaving in a personalized and sincere way, and to offer a sincere smile or even a handshake.

I also insist our salespeople always use good-mannered phrases such as “thank you for your inquiry” and “we appreciate your loyalty and your support” when writing to clients, and we sign off with “kind regards” instead of “yours sincerely.”

At this point, I mention the fact that whenever I am working late in my office and the cleaner empties my trash bin, I always make it a point to thank him for doing his job, and to offer a friendly pat on the back. I then encourage all our new staff members to behave in the same courteous and polite manner when interacting with their new colleagues, in order to gain their support and their respect.

My presentation concludes with the recollection of the following incident from my past, which perfectly illustrates the necessity of possessing and displaying good manners at all times in all situations.

After a long and tiring journey to attend a trade fair in London several years ago, I finally arrived at my hotel in the back of a black cab and said to the driver, “Get my bag will you, and hand it to the bellman,” while I fiddled with my wallet to find sufficient cash to pay him.

Well, he did not move, and then moments later said in his unique Cockney accent: “Don’t you say please where you come from, mate?” which shocked me, and even made me flush with embarrassment at my own lack of manners, especially as I was born and bred in Great Britain, a country renowned for its good manners, especially since “Downton Abbey” became such a big hit worldwide.

Not only did I give this cheeky cabbie a larger-than-usual tip for reminding me of the need to walk the walk and talk the talk, I vowed there and then never to let that happen again, and it never did.