“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” -- Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Do-gooder activities, “just because”, paying it forward, and random acts of kindness. In the hospitality industry, each of these practices create a friendly, warm welcome for hotel guests in need. Every hotel associate knows that to provide great customer service, one must be pleasant, helpful, and courteous to all guests. But in this article, we’ll focus on the grander gestures that create a memorable guest experience for guests who might be facing difficult times.
When we consider the reasons that guests stay at a hotel, it’s typically to attend a special event, to travel for a quick work trip, or to have some fun with friends and family. The overall experience is generally positive as guests converse with helpful staff members and enjoy some of the hotel amenities. But the truth of the matter is, many hotel guests find themselves away from home for slightly less positive reasons.
Maybe they are undergoing extensive treatment for a long-term illness and can’t travel back and forth. Or they’re taking an extended stay for work-related reasons. A flood or fire may have destroyed a family's home and they need a place while temporary housing is established. Perhaps an illness or death in the family necessitated unfortunate travel. These guests may be exhausted and need time for themselves, or they may need an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. No matter the reason, in these cases, your guest is likely entering the property without a smile on their face. If you take the time to observe and listen to these guests, your team of associates can create a memorable guest experience with an impact lasting a lifetime.
At your next all-hands meeting, create a team building exercise where associates can brainstorm ways in which your property can enhance the hotel guest experience through hotel care packages, innovative and personal experiences, and maybe even a little fun. The experience will unite your team and help get them thinking creatively when it comes to helping hotel guests in their time of need.
We also suggest working with an engagement agency like E Group, that focuses on creating connections with the guests who make your property thrive. An engagement agency can work with you and tailor custom solutions that fit the needs of your property and address the woes of harried guests.
One of the best ways to help stressed guests relax is to provide entertainment for their children. Our agency created this whimsical shadow puppet kit to help a leading hotel brand engage young guests in imaginative (and quiet) play while their parents relaxed. No noisy electronics needed! This creative and fun respite creates a warm welcome for hotel guests in need.
Thoughtful Ideas for Guests that Need Cheering Up
We surveyed our team of hospitality experts to get their thoughts on some random acts of kindness for hotel guests. Below we’ve categorized these ideas based on different scenarios. They are all moderately priced and can help bring a little extra sunshine to your hotel guests when they need it most.
For those with families:
- Provide a basket of healthy snacks and games for the family to play.
- Your hotel property could sponsor clothing or toy drive to replace items lost in a fire or flood.
- Provide items to make ice cream sundaes for a sweet treat.
- Arrange a pool party for the kids.
- Deliver a gift certificate for a date night for a couple at your restaurant with babysitting services for the kids.
- Supply a picnic to get the family outside to relax.
- Have a movie night with free kid-friendly movies, popcorn, and candy.
- During the holidays, bring a bedtime character to the property to read a story to kids.
- Help kids become the heroes in their story with their own superhero capes.
For those teams in an extended stay for work:
- Provide a technology package complete with wifi, technical support, and cables galore to ensure they are fully connected to get their projects completed.
- Arrange for a game night so colleagues can let off steam.
- Show up with a coffee delivery to help the team work through the long hours.
- Provide a basket of fresh fruit, water, granola bars, and trail mix to keep stomachs from rumbling while working.
- Provide shuttle service to farmers market for fresh food for their stay and some recipes from your chef for easy but tasty prep.
For those who are sick or grieving:
- Provide a comfy robe and slippers for the guest to keep; it does not have to be branded.
- Arrange for room service for free.
- Bring guests a bouquet of fresh cut flowers.
- Give a guest soothing bath products or supplies from the spa.
- Provide a collection of assorted teas and nice coffee mug.
- Give free in-room movies and chicken soup for someone who is sick.
- Provide books or digital downloads for an avid reader.
- Arrange for rides to a treatment facility or to funeral services.
- Allow the guest to bring their pet and provide small pet supplies.
Random acts of kindness for hotel guests are fulfilling and impactful in and of themselves, but take a look at these additional ancillary benefits:
- You may not see these hotel care packages as way to increase hotel revenue, but it’s like the ripple effect. One small drop of thoughtfulness cascading out. Random acts of kindness for hotel guests can affect so many. Your guests may leave positive GSS comments or online reviews and share their stories of your kindness with their friends and family.
- More than ever, guests are interested in corporate social responsibility and spending their money with companies that share the same values. Hospitality brands understand this and have teams of people devoted to promoting the good that their brand and individual properties are doing on site. Don’t be afraid share these random acts of kindness for hotel guests and hotel care packages on your property’s social media pages. While protecting the guest’s privacy is of the utmost importance, sharing inspiration and ideas encourages others to to take ownership, helping guests in need by doing something special for them.
- Marriott’s TownePlace Suites actually collects “Just because” stories from their associates and guests throughout the year and creates a small coffee table book highlighting some of those special and memorable moments. The books are left in the lobby for others to read.
We know your team is trained to handle service recovery issues that pop up with different strategies, but you should also arm them with the tools to be creative and proactive with thoughtful ideas for guests that need cheering up. Need inspiration on gift packaging? Pinterest has amazing gift basket ideas to get you inspired. And remember to observe, listen, and be aware of your guests, and as a result, opportunities for impact will show themselves. Be innovative and sincere. Remember that it’s okay to have a little fun and definitely make your property feel like home for guests.
Items like these are also good to have on hand for quick gestures:
I’ll leave you with this short video from #InAHyattWorld: about how sometimes a simple gesture is all you need to keep moving. Not every guest needs a grand gesture, but each and every kind gesture makes a difference.