The gift of gab

The gift of gab

First off, I want to thank you all very much for the great comments in response to my post last week, “The GM Gene.” I enjoyed reading all of them and was glad to see I am not alone. For those who asked, my wife and I had the pleasure of staying at The Royal Playa del Carmen.  General Manager Nestor Ospina and Operations Manager Edwin Barragan run one of the best resorts in Playa del Carmen. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting both of them on my trip, and I recommend the resort without hesitation — among the best staff I have come across in my life.

After writing that post, I was pondering other “hospitality conditions” and thought of one that is truly a gift: the gift of gab. Let me guess — some of you can relate to this one as well? I thought so. Like to hear yourself talk? You can admit it. We’re friends here.      

I love to talk, shoot the breeze, chat — you name it. I even talk to myself sometimes (don’t ask). In our line of work talking is a gift. It’s when you talk — to guests, to associates, to colleagues — that you make some of the best discoveries and connections.   

In talking to two guests I discovered they traveled to New York and decided to go to City Hall to get married while here. They needed a witness. One of my desk agents, Khady, overheard us and said without hesitation, “I’ll do it!” That couple has referred over a half-dozen friends and colleagues to The Benjamin since.  

When I was talking to one of my room attendants, Marcia, she let me know we have a guest who came to New York regularly to see a doctor for severe allergies. Each month this guest packed her truck to the brim with cumbersome air filters and supplies and drove 12 hours to get here because she couldn’t load all of it when flying. Marcia came to me and suggested we store some of the supplies at the hotel to make this guest’s travel a little easier. When we called the guest with this offer she immediately began to cry. She couldn’t believe that someone would care as much as Marcia did. It is safe to say we have a guest for life who has — without question — told her friends and family, spreading the word of The Benjamin. We don’t do what we do for referrals, although it’s surely a nice recognition of our efforts.   

In this business our guests are both external and internal — those who choose to stay with us and those who choose to work with us. Talking to both audiences is critical to our success. All of us are blessed to have such caring people working in our hotels. We need to be talking to each and every one of them, and listening. They are so in tune with the needs of our customers. If we empower them and give them a voice, the possibilities are endless.     

I’ve realized the gift of gab is really a lot less about talking and a lot more about listening. It’s when I engage in a conversation and then stop to listen when the gift really kicks in. Let me shut up now and go walk the floors and see my room attendants so I can learn something.