Joanne Newton, group welcome services manager at Portico, says guest services personnel need to upskill, be people-focused and integrate technological solutions if they are too succeed at bringing employees back into the office.
How guest services can attract people back into the office.
Where are we now?
The challenge lies in attracting people back to the office. Guest services must find appealing ways to bring people back to the workplace and give them a reason to want to be there. In order to best support people in the transition back, guest services need to be able to understand guests’ needs and hesitations, what tasks they want to complete in the office and what is important to them. These conversations are critical in being able to personalise experiences.
Front-of-house personnel also need to continue to support people who continue working from. Guest services are now providing two separate services for two different camps.
Where do we need to get to next?
Front-of-house welcome services need to evolve to a 24/7 operation. The standard 9am-5pm working day doesn’t exist anymore. People want to work different hours to fit with other commitments and the front of house industry needs to evolve to cater for that. What guests want has changed and will continue to change further over the next six months. Guest services teams need to watch, listen and learn so services evolve in line with demands and expectations.
How do we get there?
The focus must be on people more than ever. Not only guests but front-of-house personnel too. Guest services teams need to be upskilled with the tools, knowledge, and skills to make people feel comfortable and ask the right questions without prying. Coaching and mentoring will be essential to navigating the next chapter.
Technology is fundamental. The industry needs to replicate a service that has always traditionally been face-to-face, with a technology-based option that serves guests wherever they are. The service needs to mirror the excellence of a face-to-face experience with the human touch. Open, detailed communication with technology companies that showcases the true guest services experience will realise the best results.