At every hospitality venue – from QSRs to five-star resorts – guest experience is one of the most important factors to consider when ensuring your guests are happy and looked after. It’s more than just working to your organization’s philosophy and aims, or ensuring that a product is delivered to a high standard: guest experience is about meeting guests’ emotional needs as much as logistical ones.
In today’s blog post, we sit down with life and business strategist, and industry expert, Anna Dolce, as she takes us through her thoughts on hospitality, leadership, and providing an impeccable guest experience.
"In order to grow personally and professionally, I needed to walk away from what was familiar and comforting, and contribute to others in a bigger way.
What drew you to the hospitality industry?
My first hospitality job was bartending. Like many people who enter the hospitality industry, the initial draw was a flexible work schedule and interaction with people. I wanted to get away from a desk job.
Today, after having been on all sides of the hospitality industry and having gone from an employee to entrepreneur, I find myself drawn to the hospitality industry for different reasons than before. To me, there is no other industry that is such an integral part of people's lives.
The hospitality industry isn’t just about providing essential services or entertainment, it stands on creation and enhancement of people's life experiences. It’s a real privilege to play a role in shaping other people's experiences, whether it’s in a restaurant, hotel or any other concept where people visit, gather or stay.
What are some challenges you’ve encountered in your career?
The biggest challenge in my career was going from employee to entrepreneur. Staying comfortable is common for many people in the hospitality industry – our industry has a low barrier to entry and often the social aspects, along with flexible schedules, keep people in hospitality longer than initially planned.
I had a comfortable job that was not easy to walk away from, especially without a concrete plan in place. However, I knew that in order to grow personally and professionally I needed to walk away from what was familiar and comforting, and contribute to others in a bigger way.
To this date, it’s the hardest thing I’ve done.
You’ve coached celebrities, elite athletes, and entrepreneurs. How do you blend your entertainment, hospitality, and leadership skills?
My early success in the entertainment industry combined with my hospitality expertise and my entrepreneurial experience serve as a perfect cocktail of skills to coach my clients.
My entertainment industry successes and challenges help me relate to my celebrity clients in a real way. I understand what they are constantly up against and I help them navigate their very dynamic challenges and triumphs.
Similarly, my entrepreneurial experiences serve as a good practical blueprint as well as perspective shift needed to succeed in business for any entrepreneur.
My hospitality skills give me access to empathy and emotional intelligence which is imperative to guiding and supporting my clients through their most difficult challenges and most ambitious aims.
What does 'guest experience' mean to you?
I think guest experience is a visceral response your guests have while encountering you and/or your business. Guest experience is anything your guest feels, thinks, sees, touches, or hears during their encounter with you and your business.
What makes a guest experience great?
Guest experience is great when guests receive genuine hospitality along with great service – when guests’ emotional needs are met, along with their practical needs.
If you execute all areas of your job perfectly but neglect guests’ emotional needs, you will fail. Your single most important job is to make people – your guests as well as your colleagues – feel desired, included and valued. Everything else is secondary.
Anna Dolce is a life and business strategist, hospitality expert, writer, and keynote speaker. She leads Typsy's course on Guest experience fundamentals, available now.
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