We are a resort that receives many compliments on the review platforms for the friendliness of the staff. Recently, a guest commented that our friendliness seemed artificial. This made us think about what natural or artificial friendliness means and what Swiss hospitality is.
Definition of friendliness
The Duden dictionary gives the following synonyms for the term friendliness:
- Obligingness, complaisance, kindness, good-heartedness, good-naturedness, kindness of heart, cordiality, politeness, inwardness, amiability, mildness, niceness, gentleness, obligingness, warmth, warm-heartedness, benevolence, obligingness; (obsolete) cordiality.
- Comfortableness, coziness, brightness, warmth
- Attention, service, obligingness, favor, favorableness, cordiality, lovingkindness, niceness, attention; (exalted) show of favor; (ironic, otherwise exaltedly obsolete) benevolence
The many synonyms of kindness indicate that this term is broad. We on the editorial team wanted to find out if it was possible to describe what the optimal friendliness in a hotel is. We asked many people what is considered friendly. We walked through the establishment over and over again, observing staff members and how they behaved towards our guests. Are they dismissive, bad-tempered, short-tempered, or naturally friendly, or just friendly because it's constantly drilled into them? Of course, you realize that not everyone communicates the same way with guests. There are people who seem to have an innate positive vibe and send positive signals just from their body language. Others, on the other hand, are rather shy and inconspicuous, but show themselves to be very helpful, attentive and patient towards guests.
On the other hand, some of us have noticed during holidays abroad that friendliness is always different in other countries. The proverbial friendliness of the Austrians is apparently not everyone's cup of tea and is sometimes perceived as "too much" and artificial, while others simply rave about it. We also found out that the tolerance level abroad is much higher than in our own country. Swiss people are much more critical in their own country than abroad. Many have also noticed that as a German-speaking tourist you are not welcome everywhere because you have had bad experiences with some. Someone has said that he was treated very badly at the airport of a holiday destination because of his nationality and recently we heard from Turkey that Swiss people were also detained. All this is certainly not part of hospitality.
The awareness to be friendly is present in Switzerland
Regarding friendliness in tourism, a lot has changed. They still exist: the bearish and introverted people who don't bother to respond to their guests. But this is rarely encountered anymore. Most destinations, hotels and restaurants are aware that being superficially friendly and giving a minimum is no longer enough. We at Swiss Holiday Park define hospitality this way: We work in the leisure business and do everything we can to ensure that our guests experience the best for their precious holiday days and travel home with positive memories. In order for guests to return to Swiss Holiday Park, many things have to be right:
- The first impression at check-in
- A smile at the reception
- Patience when answering questions that are always the same
- Show understanding in case of complaints and find a quick solution
- Being open to the guests' concerns
- Being in dialogue with the guests
- Small attentions create great joy
- Make eye contact with guests in the restaurant so that they know they have been seen.
- All employees always greet the guests with a smile
- Greet and respond to children as well
- Take time for the guests
- Offer something more than the guests expect
- Neat and clean facilities
- Adapting the offer to the wishes of our guests
Mutual respect and tolerance
Everyone we interviewed agrees that friendliness should be mutual. It is nice when hosts receive respect and appreciation. We have found that we welcome very tolerant and great guests to our home. The staff is happy when people compliment them and thank them for exceptional help. It motivates and spurs on when you receive praise.
Make complaints immediately
Anyone who has something to complain about should do so immediately. If necessary, the responsible head of department or manager of Duty can be called in so that the problem can be solved immediately. If guests raise their complaints in a matter-of-fact manner, it helps much more than if one lobs. This is true not only in the hotel and restaurant industry, but everywhere. If one smiles at a person, then a smile usually comes back. Where people work, things go wrong from time to time. More than 260 people work at the Swiss Holiday Park, often under great pressure because many guests want to check in at the same time or almost everyone wants to go to the restaurant at the same time. As everywhere, not everyone in the team is equally motivated or able to work under pressure, and not all guests have a high degree of patience and understanding. This can lead to unpleasant confrontations and people forgetting that they are guests. Of course, we expect our staff to remain friendly and behave correctly even in difficult moments. If we receive negative feedback, we follow it up immediately and talk to the employees concerned. At Swiss Holiday Park, the quality standards for service and friendliness are very high. This is proven by the many awards we receive year after year. We are very proud of this.