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September 22, 2016

Weaving Hospitality Management into the DNA of Facility Management

I like traveling: 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 and feeling comfortable in an environment where you are a guest is always an important factor. I know I’m able to attest to 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, even when the restaurant is half-empty. Or if they do, it’s located only in the smoking area. Unfortunately, no matter what else those restaurants had in store, I felt unwelcomed. That kind of feeling sticks, and the following evenings when I’m with my business contacts, I’m likely to skip those places.  

Hospitality Management as a core duty
The same principle applies in office buildings; we want to be received well. Developments such as mobile working mean we find ourselves increasingly in other offices or places we’re not familiar with, and where we need help. That’s why I think hospitality management should become a core duty of the facilities department. While the interpretation of hospitality management can be unique for each organization, at its core, I believe the common theme would be 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 personalized parking spot, a password for the Wi-Fi network that was issued immediately, an automated check-in process, and a reserved flexi-place to work. I feel welcome in places like that, and I see a growing number of organizations that are raising hospitality management to a higher level. A trend I applaud!

In recent years I’ve been able to introduce these developments with a number of leading organizations in my client portfolio. After each visit there was improvement in the process of making not only external guests, but also their own staff, feel more “welcome.” The best part is, on par with my holiday destinations, these are great working experiences that I can share with my corporate network and explain with pride how Planon plays a role in this.

My conclusion: Ensure that guests and your own staff become ambassadors of your organization. Add hospitality management to the DNA of your facility management strategy!

Rogier Blok
Information Manager