By Cynthia Tumwine
First off, before we dive deep into how hospitality is a key anchor in the restaurant and hotel business, we should ask ourselves what the true meaning of hospitality is. Google describes it is as ‘the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers’.
According to several reports, Uganda has been declared one of the most hospitable countries to visit in the world. Naturally, Ugandans are warm and receive people with open arms which is not necessarily the case all over the world. This can also be seen clearly in how open our country is to tourists, expatriates, and refugees coming from volatile areas of war and general unrest. This aside however, hospitality becomes even more key for stakeholders in the Restaurant and Hotel business because these come into contact with most of these people on a daily basis. This therefore means it has to be practiced more not just because it comes naturally but on a professional basis. In summary, it is an art that needs to be mastered.
Every single day there will be a person that needs to eat or a bed to lay their head after a long trip or work day especially if they are in a foreign country, region or area. Their experience as they eat or rest in the hotel needs to be top notch. Straight from the point of contact that is: from the waiters or waitresses at restaurants, to receptionists at the hotel or even the managers. As long as someone is directly involved with customer service, hospitality should be considered as they carry out their work. Let us look at some of the ways hospitality can be achieved.
- A smile costs nothing and helps the customer feel relaxed and welcome.
This means that they will be able to communicate their needs more comfortably, therefore improving the quality of their experience.
- Anticipate the needs of the customer
For example in a restaurant, if someone needs the menu as soon as they sit down, or in a hotel if someone needs extra towels or beddings. This helps them to know that the establishment has efficiently trained stuff.
3. Crisis management and problem solving skills.
These play a big role in how a customer’s experience could go, if for example someone forgets something and needs to purchase it, will you go out of your way to ensure they get it? Payment options in case one method is ineffective or is not working. These are all things that makes the customer’s life much easier knowing you have them covered.
- Lastly but very important is attention to detail
In order for a customer to have the best experience, all the services being offered by a hotel or restaurant should be spick and span. For instance, the environment should be clean, and amenities should be in mint condition; which encourages the customer to return.
Hospitality is one of the topics that is going to be addressed at the 5th Annual Uganda Hotels Expo, happening at Hotel Africana from August 4-6, 2017. It is important that this message is emphasized for a better quality experience for the different categories of people that frequent restaurants and hotels in the country. Therefore, for all stakeholders like hotel owners and those responsible for customer service and hospitality this expo will be highly relevant.
The writer is the PR Manager at Jumia Travel Uganda