What’s in a Name?

In the time of internet shopping and easy price comparison, building loyalty is more important than ever.  If guests do not feel loyal to your hotel, they will always pick a cheaper option.  Building loyalty is about creating an emotional connection between your guest and your hotel.  Using the guest’s name during every interaction is the most important step towards building that connection.

During our one-night Service Experience Audit, there are over 15 different areas where we score the use of the guest’s name.  Every associate from the bellman to the breakfast server is expected to use the guest’s name.  Here are some tips to help you and your team use the guest’s name more often:

Does the guest have a name that you cannot pronounce and you are afraid to butcher?  Don’t worry.  Anyone who grew up with a name with 12 letters and no vowels has heard every possible attempt.  They will not be offended by yours.

Is the name on the room a male’s name but a female answers when you call?  Don’t assume that it is the wife.  Do a better job during the reservations and check in process to get the names of all of the guests in the room.  If you are still unsure, say ‘I’ll send 2 towels up to the Smith room right away’ instead of ‘I’ll send 2 towels to room 302’.

Never refer to a guest by their room number.  When they approach the desk to check out or make a request, ask them their name and never ask them their room number.  You are a hotel and not a bank; do not treat your customers as numbers.

Train your associates to use the ‘chain of name’.  When a guest arrives at the hotel, the valet attendant asks the guest their name and writes it on the valet ticket.  The valet attendant then introduces the guest to the bellman by using their name.  The bellman then introduces the guest to the front desk by using their name again.  The guest only told one associate their name and now three associates have already addressed the guest by name and they have not even checked in yet!

Have the PBX Operators use the guest’s name during every phone conversation.  This one is easy because the name is displayed on the phone.

Have the restaurant servers and bartenders use the guest’s name every time the guest signs a check to their room or pays by credit card.  Take it a step further and ask them for their name when they approach the hostess stand so the server can use the name during the meal.  Take the same approach in the bar.  Ask the guest their name when they open a tab.

Make sure that every associate who visits a guest room uses the guest name.  If they are delivering a room service order or fulfilling a guest request, they should know the guest’s name and use it.  If you are still using 2 way radios to handle guest requests, make sure that the housemen are wearing earpieces.

Again, using the guest’s name is one of the most important tools that you have to create a personalized, memorable stay and build guest loyalty.  A guest should be addressed by name 10 to 20 times during a visit.

3 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. Would you kindly elaborate the reason for the housemen to wear earpieces if we’re still using 2-way radios? Is it because that will keep the staff’s conversation from being heard by guests?
    Thank you.

  2. Esther,

    Thank you for the question.

    There are two things wrong with using 2 way radios without a earpiece.

    First, the associates always feel the need to turn their radio volumes to the highest level. If you are in your guest room, you can always hear when a houseman, bellman, or security guard are on the floor. The radios echo through the hallway.

    Second, for guest safety. When the PBX operator calls a houseman or engineer to go to a room and assist a guest, they should tell the houseman or engineer the room number and the name of the guest. Just like you would not announce the guest name and room number in the lobby, you should not annouce it over a radio that can be heard by anyone.

    Also, the front desk radio should be kept in the back office and not used in the lobby. I can’t tell you how many times I have been checking in and hear a loud radio conversation in Spanish in the background.

    Some hotels have now gone to hi-tech 2 way pagers to send requests to the houseman or enginner. The houseman will receive a page with the request, room number, and guest name. Once he/she has completed the request, they press a button to notify the front desk that the request is completed.

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