As I sit here hoping for inspiration for this week’s communication to you, I am reminded of the basics of the hospitality industry. At our core, we are people connecting with other people! That is our life blood, and without that connection, we miss the key thing that motivates us to get up in the morning—other people.
With that in mind, I looked to an online community that I’m a member of, called “Hospitality Family” to see what was “up” in the industry. There I found the inspiration for this message. I discovered just how resilient our colleagues are; whether they serve food to guests, check them in at the Front Desk, or cultivate client relationships in the Sales Department. Hospitality professionals ARE resilient; how else could they work 18-hour days for seven days in a row during high season? Or answer an all hands-on deck SOS from the Banquet Department to flip the ballroom from 300 classroom to 300 banquet style in 30 minutes? Hospitality professionals are resilient, and even as the news continues to be a bit dire, hope, humor, and a human connection are alive and well in the Hospitality Family posts.
I saw hotel staff that proudly posted photos of 130 meals that they had prepared for their employees. I read numerous questions, that had been asked and answered, about unemployment checks, the stimulus payments, and where to find the biggest pack of paper towels. I smiled as I saw the photo of a hotel with their windows lit to form a heart, with the message “We care.” Of course we care! We are service people who have been bred to connect and serve our guests. Every day, we care.
It’s said that “Laughter is the Best Medicine”, and there is no scarcity of humor within the Hospitality Family. One video showed a server in the “new normal” who flings the dishes, silverware, and meals to a table, just so she can maintain social distancing. Another featured a traveler using his treadmill to simulate the airport baggage carousel, just to make sure that he is up to speed when the travel bans are lifted. One woman noted that she had just thrown away her 2020 planner. Even if we aren’t planning, we’re still laughing, and sometimes that is half the battle.
Being a glass-half-full type of gal, I particularly enjoy the messages about new bookings, yes, new bookings. Most fulfilling is the reaction from colleagues around the world. Responses like, “Thumb’s up!” or “Congratulations!” and “Way to Go!” have become the common thread that binds the hospitality family together. There are also the messages that help foster positivity, like Dr. Seuss’ Five Life Lessons. We need these lessons more today than ever before.
Most touching was the post from a salesperson who recounted receiving messages of sorrow, hope and strength from her previous clients. Obviously, the human connection between that salesperson and her clients is thriving. I share this example because I believe it truly embodies what the Hospitality Family is all about. We make connections for business, that is certain, but we also make human connections that tie us to our customers and our colleagues.
We are an industry with heart; our life blood is the human element that pervades every facet of our jobs.
This is our message to Directors today, our human connections make us a Hospitality Family, and will ensure we will emerge from this chaos stronger than ever. Remind yourself and your team to #StayStrong, this is only temporary, and we WILL get through this together!
Author: Lee Ferris – Vice President