Emotional Hospitality

An emotionally intelligent approach to service that begins with empathy. The concept of emotional hospitality is today widely spread and applied in the tourism, spa and wellness industry. Many companies agree upon that the emotional approach is what is required to perform and succeed. But was does this really mean?

Emotions are energy and all energy have touch points. We have an opportunity to find touch points with our guests, spark positive emotions and spread emphatic energy. This requires other skills and personal traits when working with people, very different from what was needed 30 years ago. Great service is not what the service provider give, but what the guest perceives. The ability to ask the right questions, actively listen and pro-act upon opportunities takes engagement from us as service providers. It also requires us to stay out of judgement, disregard our own personal likes and dislikes and us being able to connect with our own feelings.

At this moment we are stepping into a new age of hospitality and the demand and expectation from our guests are increasing. Sometimes they are not aware of it themselves but they wish not only to be served upon what they ask for, they are longing to be seen, surprised and cared for. As service providers today, we are not just supposed to make our guest feel something, we are also being measured on exactly how we made them feel. The quality management systems has started to measure our service performance by their ‘primary emotions’ felt during their experience. How it made them feel. In order to spark someone else’s feelings in a powerful way, we need to be know who we are serving and being able to step into the guest shoes. The only way for us to understand someone else is to reflect through ourselves and our own experiences.

An example from LQA on measuring the feeling of a spa treatment.

The spa and wellness center is a very special place. We have many more touch points with our guests than other departments and we are already invited by the guest for close connection. And the opportunities we have to connect are many. If we sensibly sustain this invitation and treat our opportunity with care, we are on the right track already. Emotional service is about people touching people, and this describes very well what already happen in our spas. The high touch mentality is our key to emotional connection.

Delivering emotional service is simple, but not necessarily easy. Many service providers are today so focused on doing things the “right” way so they actually forget to do it “well.” And as guests, we want to be treated “well” but also “with care.” Unfortunately there will never be a specific SOP  that shows step by step exactly what to do within emotional service. How to care for someone else in a specific situation may not and cannot be scripted. Emotions are energy, and energy is subtle and individual.

The good news is that even though there is no precise map in how to give Emotional Service, we have several tools to guide you in how to connect closer. It takes engagement and you need to make an effort, but as long as you do, the conveyance will be very easy. Remember that a higher level of service does not have to be complicated, it can sometimes be easier than the standard service you are used to deliver, since you may always reflect back to yourself (instead of a manual) and listen to your inner voice. While listen through your heart.

If you are interested in reading more about emotional hospitality applied to the spa and wellness industry, we are glad to announce that we later this year we will launch another online course on our website with this topic. The course will guide you through Emotional Service and we will give you tools in how to engage yourself, and your team.

Remember, a simple act of kindness and care takes you longer than you can ever imagine.
/Josefin

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