How do you make a good first impression, and make sure your guests keep coming back? Caterer and P&G Professional held a roundtable at the Goring hotel in London recently, where industry experts gathered to discuss exactly what it takes. Daniel Thomas reports.
You don't get a second chance to make a first impression. It's an oft-heard quote that applies to job interviews, blind dates - and, of course, hospitality operators. A long wait for check-in and a surly front desk employee will linger long in the memory for a hotel guest, perhaps more than a luxurious bed and a sumptuous meal.
At a Caterer/P&G Professional roundtable at the Goring hotel in London, industry experts gathered to debate exactly what it takes to create a good first impression.
For John Andrews, head concierge at the Goring, it's all about the staff. "If you get the warm welcome and the fond farewell right, the bit in the middle looks after itself," he said.
As director of design at Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, Stephanie Briggs could have been forgiven for suggesting that the look and feel of a hotel is the most important aspect in creating a lasting first impression, but she concurred with Andrews.
"You can walk into a beautifully designed hotel, but that is completely destroyed if you go to reception and don't get good service," she said. "The customer welcome, ongoing service and maintenance are paramount."
Gordon Cartwright, business director at Regent Recruitment & Consultancy and a former AA inspector, said there are three levels at which relationships can be made or broken in hotels: indifferent; polite and courteous; and full engagement.
|ROUND TABLE PANEL|
|Lee Cash, Peach Pubs Angela Jaquiss, UK Housekeepers Association Gordon Cartwright, Regent Recruitment and Consultancy Mark Lewis, Caterer & Hotelkeeper Rachael Park, Rudding Park P&G Professional spokesperson Stephanie Briggs, Malmaison and Hotel du Vin Liz McGivern, Red Carnation Hotels John Andrews, the Goring hotel|