The Art of Hospitality aboard the Island Spirit

Posted by Nancy Mueller on Monday, June 7th, 2010
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As we head down the walkway to what will be our home for the next nine days, a crew member smiles warmly, extends his hand and introduces us to Captain Jeff Behrens who is waiting to welcome us aboard.

Island Spirit Great HospitalityAnother crew member takes our bags and shows us to our cabin, briefly describing the room amenities before departing. One of Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suites plays over the speaker as we take in the view both inside and outside our cabin. Before long, our comfort and relaxation is complete. Ahhhh . . .

We have just experienced the first of many such personal touches shown by the captain and crew of our small ship cruise to Alaska’s Inside Passage.

Do you remember the last time you were treated like such a valued guest and what that felt like? More importantly, do your customers or clients remember when you extended the same courtesies to them and how they felt as a result?

Hospitality is a time-honored tradition of welcoming strangers or guests with care and kindness, coupled with warmth, friendliness and personalized attention.

In Spain, they say,

“Mi casa es su casa.” My house is your house. In Japan, hospitality is the practice of “total care” which travel writer Pico Iyer describes this way:

“If I were visiting your home and I ate a piece of candy that I liked, and if I didn’t visit you again for 10 years, the next time I was there, that kind of candy would be there waiting for me.”

Done well, hospitality extends far beyond the home into the field, to wherever it is you interact with your clients, customers and visitors.

Consider how you can apply the same Island Spirit to your own work environment:

Welcome Your Guests.

√ Acknowledge their presence with:

– a pleasant greeting
– a firm handshake
– a smile with direct eye contact

√ Greet your client, customer or colleague by name.

√ Take care of your guest’s coat and other belongings.

√ Make introductions.

√ Escort your guests to their destination.

√ Offer a selection of beverages.

Engage in Pleasant Conversation.

√ Be present and attentive.

√ Make small talk.

√ Let your visitors know what to expect, including any unexpected delays.

√ Find out what’s important to them.

Create a Comfortable Environment.

√ Provide plenty of light.

√ Have comfortable chairs.

√ Offer a selection of reading materials, including company literature.

√ Have writing materials close by.

In the end, what your clients and customers will remember most is how you made them feel in your presence. By welcoming your guests, engaging in pleasant conversation and providing a friendly, comfortable environment, your guests will leave with a positive, lasting impression. For those of us lucky enough to be on board the Island Spirit, even memories to last a lifetime.

If you’d like to learn more about our small-ship cruise to Alaska, follow these links to read my travel articles:

http://wanderlustandlipstick.com/wandertips/general/top-10-reasons-to-cruise-alaska-on-a-small-ship/

http://www.gonomad.com/cruises/1008/small-ship-alaska.html )

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