Fabulous first impressions

Have you ever heard someone say that “a first impression is a lasting impression”?

Unlike many other clichés this one is actually true. The first impression of your establishment will set the tone for how your guests view their entire experience.

That first impression may begin even before your guests arrive at your door and that’s why it is so important that the telephone be answered in a professional and friendly manner by someone who is able to offer information about your establishment and accurately record the particulars of the enquiry or booking.

The visual cues make up a huge component of the first impression once a guest arrives, so do consider how well-maintained your property is, how neatly it is presented. This also applies to you and your staff members. A well-groomed team that is smart, friendly and polite is sure to impress a first-time visitor.

Larger establishments often have corporate wardrobes or uniforms for everyone from front office staff to the gardening team. If you only have a few rooms then you are unlikely to be visiting a corporate clothing consultant. You may well just go to the nearest supermarket for staff uniforms. How good is the quality of the material? How long do they last?

It is a good investment to make sure that your staff members, even if there are only one or two, are well dressed. It is much easier to feel good about yourself and have a good attitude to your work if you are provided with smart, comfortable clothing. It motivates staff to take a pride in their work and to care that they do things properly.

It helps you to transform your domestic worker into a housekeeper/ receptionist - very valuable in a small establishment where you have to go and shop for supplies, attend meetings, maybe do school lifts and generally have some kind of leisure time away from your establishment.
Of course it is not only the clothing that achieves the transformation. Training is a must, and a monetary incentive/reward for treating guests well achieves a great deal.

To know how well you are handling guests you need feedback. Do you personally say good-bye to each one and see them off?

Either way you win because by taking note of criticism you can improve things for your next guests. Positive feedback is motivating for you and your staff and confirmation that you are doing things right.

The first impression is most important but don’t forget to back it up by offering a pleasant, well-rounded and positive experience to your guests. South Africa is filled with many superb establishments who get it right. Make sure you are recognised as one of them.