I like travelling: the departure, the adventure, the unknown far away. In recent years I’ve been able to visit many wonderful places in the world, both privately and for my job at Planon. In fact, as I write this I’m in Singapore, a city of extremes. But the list of places still to be discovered is always longer than the places I have already visited. So there’s work to be done! On returning to the Netherlands, one of the questions I’m asked most often is: How were you received where you arrived? Were they hospitable, was it safe, was it clean and how was the food? This probably is familiar to many.
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A warm welcome is often all-important
Being properly welcomed where you are a guest should be a matter of course. I’ve certainly been able to notch up some wonderful experiences in recent years, but I’ve also ended up in situations where there was room for improvement. It happens regularly, for instance, that restaurants don’t have a table available for one person, or only in the smoking area. And moreover, this can happen when the restaurant is actually half-empty. You will appreciate that I quickly leave such places. Over the following evenings, when I’m with my business contacts, these also are the first places I avoid.
Hospitality Management as a core duty
The same principle applies to office buildings; we want to be received well. Developments such as mobile working mean we find ourselves increasingly in places we’re not familiar with, and where we therefore need help. That’s why I think Hospitality Management should be a core duty of the facilities organisation. The interpretation of Hospitality Management is unique for each organisation, but I believe the core duty is in creating a welcoming feeling. Software can support this.
To give an example, one of my clients surprised me pleasantly with travel directions sent in advance, a personalised parking spot, issuing me immediately with a password for the WiFi network, an automated check-in process and a reserved flexi-place. I feel welcome in places like that, and I see that a growing number of organisations are raising Hospitality Management to higher levels. A trend that I applaud!
In recent years, I’ve been able to introduce these developments into a number of leading organisations in my client portfolio. After each visit there was some improvement in the process of making not only external guests, but also their own staff, feel ‘welcome’ too. What is great about this is that, just as with my holiday destinations, I often tell my corporate network about these experiences, and explain with some pride how Planon plays its role.
My conclusion: ensure that guests and your own staff become ambassadors for the organisation. Add Hospitality Management to the DNA of the facilities organisation!