Hospitality Industry
3 min read

Frontline staff training: from customer service to entertainment

EHL Insights
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The role of frontline staff is changing within the hospitality industry. Staff members are now expected to have an expanded role with additional service skills at their disposal. If you’re hoping to get into this industry, you should know that on top of proper customer service skills, you’ll need to up your game to deliver an entertaining experience to your guests. This is what gives modern guests the immersive experience they crave.

Why has the industry changed?

Hotels didn’t always need to provide an entertainment experience, as they were generally seen as a home base for relaxing and resting between going out to other destinations. But now, people often see the hotel as a destination in and of itself, and as an important part of the entire experience of a trip. A major factor behind this shift is a generational change of Millennials and those younger than them driving the market to provide unique and entertaining experiences at hotels.

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Examples of how to provide entertainment to hotel guests

You may wonder how you would entertain guests within a frontline position. These are some of the trends we’re seeing in the industry related to providing an entertaining guest experience.

Storytelling

Storytelling is now considered a key skill for hospitality frontline staff, as it can help guests become emotionally connected to an experience and immersed within it. This is a great tool to have in your arsenal when you’re trying to entertain guests, especially when you need to think on the fly. By creating emotional experiences, you follow affective hospitality. You also help guests remember their experience and want to share it and come back.

How can this play out? Examples include:

  • Describing a destination in a way that helps guests see themselves as part of it.
  • Creating performances through story to entertain guests.
  • Telling stories that get guests to want to live out the imaginary world you created for them.

As a bonus, storytelling can help you humanize your brand and your online presence to connect with people.

Using technology

As we move forward with hospitality technology, providing an exciting and immersive experience won’t solely be on your shoulders as frontline staff. The industry is adopting a lot of technology that could assist you in your role. Imagine virtual reality that gives guests the opportunity to tour the hotel and local attractions before their trip. Think of augmented reality with capabilities like sharing interactive maps on room walls. Whether now or in the future, you may have technology like this at your disposal that could help you to enhance the guest experience.

Specialty positions

Not only can all frontline staff benefit from providing entertainment, there are now entire positions dedicated to it. Similar to how senior residences hire positions to plan activities for those living onsite, the hospitality industry hires events and experiences positions as specific roles within the company. It’s possible for people to gain specific certification or schooling to become specialized in roles for entertainment and guest experiences. Nonetheless, it’s important for all frontline staff to be ready to provide entertaining experiences as well.

Lobby experiences

Hotels now offer a range of experiences in their lobbies. Sometimes these are impromptu, relaxed experiences, while sometimes they are well-planned and elaborate. They range from free wine tasting events and social hours to creative ideas such as snuggles with puppies borrowed from local shelters just for the event. These kinds of events add to a unique brand experience and experiential travel that guests are looking for. It may be part of frontline staff’s role to come up with ideas for events like this and to executive them on a regular basis.

Unique roles

We see examples of hotels coming up with unique roles for assisting their guests. One example is a concierge dedicated to helping guests recover from hangovers, while another is a role dedicated to flattering guests with positive affirmation messages that make them feel good. These are the kinds of roles that may be expected of frontline staff, whether it’s part of a specialty position or incorporated into another frontline role.

Lifestyle features

Providing an entertaining experience does not always mean that you have to play a role. Instead, many places in the hospitality industry have added features to their spaces and created events that encourage an entertaining experience during the stay. For example, we see hotel spaces with ping-pong tables, climbing walls, live concerts, art shows, health and wellness offerings, and other experiences. Some hotels also create tours to take guests to certain destinations in the area and provide a local cultural experience. It may be your role to let your guests know all of your offerings.

The good news is that technology is expected to take away many of the day-to-day tasks that used to fill up your plate. This can free up your time and energy so you can provide a more personalized and entertaining experience to each guest.

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