When a guest arrives at your establishment they should feel welcome. A pleasant greeting, 'good morning' or 'good afternoon' with a smile, the opening of a car door, the opening of the establishment's door, the offer of assistance with luggage or simply direction to the front desk can make the guest feel welcome from the moment they arrive.
Different establishments will have different enterprise standards as to how a guest is to be greeted. It could be that the establishment requires all guests to be addressed as 'Sir' or 'Madam' or 'Mam' unless the guest's name is known. Establishments may have a policy that guests should not be addressed by their given (first) name regardless of how often they stay with you. If the guest is a regular visitor to the establishment, checking the arrivals list will identify that they are staying with you again. If you are able to recognise the guest immediately it will make the guest feel very welcome when you greet them by name.
If the establishment has a doorperson, and / or concierge and porters one of these staff would be required to greet guests and assist them to the front desk. The concierge may have asked the guest's name before they reach the front desk for check-in and they will advise the receptionist of the guest's name. For example, "Mr. Godfrey will be checking in Susan (the receptionist), I will arrange for a porter to take Mr. Godfrey's luggage to the room." The receptionist would be alert to this cue and would take over from there.
In a very large accommodation establishment with a central business district location it would not be unusual to have a check-in and check out of a full house in the course of one day, particularly a Monday. The establishment may have been filled with tour groups over the weekend, which would leave on the Monday morning. The establishment could then fill with business travellers. Reception staff could be extremely busy with a number of things happening all at once.
In a smaller establishment there may be less staff to carry out the many tasks. The pressures on staff whilst different to a large establishment may none the less make it difficult for staff to always appear friendly and able to provide the service a guest expects.
How do you make sure each guest who checks in to the establishment, large or small, feels welcome?
Apart from the standard greetings, reception staff need to greet guests as individuals. You need to be perceptive to the mood of (aware of, conscious of, tuned in) each guest, you may notice the guest seems very tired or possibly irritated. International guests often seem disorientated because they having been flying for sometimes up to eighteen hours. The reservation can 'tell' you a great deal about the guest if you consider the information carefully. With the E.T.A, a flight number and arrival time may be included. This could give you a hint that the guest has come in on an international flight, which may have very long or even delayed. The guest's address may indicate that they are from interstate.
Special information may have been provided to the reservation clerk at the time of the booking being made and this could have been recorded on the reservation. An example could be that it is the guests' Wedding Anniversary.
There is a very fine line between being personable (friendly, courteous) and personal (overly familiar, disrespectful) with guests. It is important that whilst you personalise the conversation with a guest you do not become too familiar. If you recognise that a guest seems irritated and tired then perhaps less conversation and a speedy check in is what the guest would most like.
Using common sense and empathy when dealing with guests and with colleagues as well, will stand you in good stead in most instances.