There are many definitions of social skills. Common to all is the ability to get along and to create and maintain good relationship with others. Social skills are one of the most important skills for people working in hospitality. Doug Sandler, an author of the bestseller “Nice guys finish first” lists 10 essential social skills:
Maintain eye contact during conversation
Use proper body language
Be assertive, not aggressive
Select communication channel carefully – know when face to face is better than phone call, or phone call better than e-mail
Be flexible and cooperative
Accept criticism without being defensive
Remain positive all the time
Learn all the time
Show respect for others
- Be human, be yourself
For details read Sandler, D. (2015) 10 Social Skills Essential for Success.
Friendliness and politeness
Words FRIENDLY and POLITE are one of the most often encountered words in hospitality.
Friendly means to be cheerful, easy to start conversation, caring for the people, smiling.
Polite means to have and show good manners and shows respect for other people.
Although it might seem a routine to people in hospitality, these are five sentences that guests most often remember:
- It is my pleasure… or I am happy to …. – gives impression that you are approachable and truly concerned about your guests
- Thank you…. or We appreciate….
- Welcome ….. - to give guests sense that this is where they belong
- Is there anything else…. - to show intention to make them as comfortable as possible
- We are looking forward to having you again as our guest…- to show them appreciation
- With friendly, polite attitudes you want to build a relationship (rapport) with guests. There are many opportunities for that prior, during and after guest stay
- Before arrival – ask questions that will help you give them more personal service (have they been here before, how they will be getting here, do they have any special requirements). If possible write them a personalized e-mail. You might send them information about forthcoming events. Send them a welcome message just before their arrival.
- During their stay – talk to your guests, listen to what they have to say (good and bad), fulfill their requests if reasonable (offer alternative if not), prepare a gift, offer wine or cake if their stay coincides with birthday
- After their stay – write a personalized thank you note, if you have permission to contact them stay in touch – inform on events, send season greetings, information on special offers.