These Times, More Than Ever, Call For Heartfelt Hospitality

Posted: Aug 20, 2020

Based on what I hear, working in the lodging industry during the current COVID-19 pandemic can be especially stressful. Not that it has ever been an easy profession. While today's guests threaten to write a bad review, guests of yesteryear similarly threatened to write a letter to J.W. Marriott or Conrad Hilton.

Admittedly though, the current pandemic has created unique stressors for those on both sides of the guest/employee relationship. Hospitality workers may be finding themselves short-staffed and/or working outside of their usual job descriptions. Our frontline associates are having to explain why there are no mid-stay cleanings, why the breakfast buffet is now grab-n-go, why the restaurant is closed and there is no valet parking. On the other side, guests who are traveling these days may be doing so for reasons that are themselves stressful, such as picking up a displaced college student whose dorm shut back down unexpectedly, or having to take up residence away from family for an extended stay due to a temporary assignment as an essential worker. Or perhaps they are finally brave enough to take a badly needed leisure trip to escape from the monotony and stress of daily life.

It seems to me that all these stressors are amplifying the default personality traits of those at both extreme ends of the continuum. In other words, the nice people are getting nicer and the meanies are getting meaner!

That is what we at KTN are hearing from the participants in our "Heart of Hospitality" Certification webinars right now, but we are also hearing this from a much bigger audience. Right after the pandemic hit, we at KTN joined a Facebook group called Hospitality Family, which has over 55,000 members. The group really took off when so many people were furloughed or laid-off and has since served as a support group for those who are working through major transitions. Now, of course, many members have been recalled and so there are numerous posts about what is happening in hotels around the world.

While the posts of some members are basically complaints about being short-handed, working overtime, and dealing with disgruntled guests who want everything to be back the way it was, the majority of posts seem to be talking having a passion for the industry and a sincere spirit to serve.

One such post I read recently was from Stacy, who manages both an upscale, classic restaurant and an elegant bar inside a historic, destination resort in North Carolina. The story Stacy told in her post really touched my heart, so I asked her for permission to share with my readers.

By Doug Kennedy, President of the Kennedy Training Network August 20, 2020 


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