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Hospitality (Guest Service) is not easily achieved

By Steve

Change is difficult.  Improving guest service starts with changing how employees provide the service.  They must step outside their comfort zone, and yes, they will find the process difficult.

You must identify what will motivate your people to perform the desired behaviors you're looking for.  You must overcome the hurdle of getting a critical mass of employees to see that this guest service culture is good for them as well as the ministry.

  • Start with hiring for guest service.  Looking for people that are wired for serving and have the "extra mile" mentality is important. Be clear in the interview process that "serving guests beyond expectations" is expected and then get a verbal contract that they will make this a priority.
  • Be intentional about the training.  Use training that makes the experience enjoyable and that encourages participation.  The trainers need to know the Christian camping ministry, and they should understand the nature of your guest groups.
  • Use the principles of accelerated learning.  Use 5-10 minute segments, hands-on lessons, visuals, color, humor, interaction, repetition, and solid conclusions to help your staff have fun and learn.
  • Training is an investment.  Training is an investment in your staff.  In turn, that investment creates opportunities to generate more group business. Guests who have a good time will come back.
  • Start with an accurate perspective.  Before you embark upon improving guest service, get a 360-degree view of your existing level of service. You need to see things from the guest's perspective, from management's viewpoint, and from the employees' standpoint. When this is done, you have a clear view of what is really happening.  Training must start from this perspective.
  • Great service is an acquired skill.  Few people inherently know how to provide great service.  Great service is built over time with training.  You need to offer training that shows employees that they and your property will be rewarded if they adopt these new, better behaviors.
  • Great guest service is only achieved in a "permission granted" culture. Every staff person must be given the freedom to be friendly and meet the needs of customers without fear of reprisal for not "staying on task". Grant permission for staff to briefly suspend their assignment to help guests.

The 7 part series we have been covering is Christian Hospitality and how it relates to the Conference/Retreat Ministry.  More than we realize, the effectiveness of off-site ministry is dependent on a thorough understanding of Christian Hospitality and how it affects the individual guest and their openness to God's work.

  1. Hospitality (Guest Service) is Biblical
  2. Hospitality (Guest Service) is Powerful
  3. Hospitality (Guest Service) is Good Business
  4. Hospitality (Guest Service) is Vital to the Customer Care Cycle
  5. Hospitality (Guest Service) is not Easily Achieved

Christian Retreats Network /

Based at Lake Williamson / PO Box 620 / Carlinville, IL 62626