Le ospitalità: practical tips for a better guest experience from an Italian partner
During the Traveller Review Awards I came across a very detailed and interesting post in the Italian Partner Community about a partner’s love of meeting and learning from people of different cultures. It’s so good that I asked our Italian translation team to translate it into English so I can share it with you.
One thing I really like about hospitality is that it has given me a chance to learn three new languages in just three years: French, English and Spanish. (I have tried speaking German with German tourists and Chinese with Chinese guests, but unfortunately after a year I remember very little of these languages.)
I find it very nice to exchange gifts with sociable tourists from other countries:
- The most generous of all have been the Japanese, sharing sweets and snacks brought from home in their luggage.
- Bulgarians with souvenirs and chocolates! I didn't even know they had such good chocolate.
- Among the Italians, I especially love the Neapolitans and all the people from Campania. I notice they are the ones who treat you like family, and they do it effortlessly. They’re also really proud of their land – as everyone should be.
- When Sicilians, Apulians and Calabrians come to celebrate their kids’ graduations from Bologna University, it is always a feast. Bologna is a destination for foreigners who stay overnight because of the airport connections. Then they go to Venice, Florence or Rome for a week.
Three things a host should do to get better results:
- First impressions – yes, you can always have picky guests, but maybe they’re behaving like this because they waited at the door, even if it was just for one minute. Maybe they are stressed out for their own reasons. I always arrive before the guest or, if it is a self-check-in, I make sure they get in and that they’re safe and sound with a message or a phone call. That and a small quality chocolate on the table will sweeten them up. Even if they paid very little for their stay, this is a small gesture that costs nearly nothing – a pack of 20 excellent quality chocolates costs €4. I would suggest you leave a diet-friendly chocolate, too.
- Recommendations – you need to study your area and the facilities and services of your city and neighbourhood so you can provide the right service and the right room according to the type of guest. Those who are on holiday will want suggestions about food – traditional, upmarket, fish, vegetarian, vegan, breakfast, tea. The places you suggest always have to be within easy reach and what you recommend will depend on whether the guests are a couple or a family. They will ask how to get around, what to see... do not throw a lot of flyers at them. Instead, look for current exhibitions and things like that to personally recommend. Your advice also has to be based on age.
- Comfortable climate – heating or air conditioning need to be always on at a comfortable temperature. If your guests are from a cold climate, they may always be cold and want to have 27-28 degrees in their room. This is what they are used to, so I prepare before they arrive.
I also have a few interesting observations about getting good feedback from guests:
- A business customer who stays one night will enjoy seeing snacks on the table. If it’s summer time, a bottle of fresh water can be given as a gift. They usually leave the apartment early in the morning. This is an easy 10/10 score.
- At times it happens that even if the guest tells us they felt like royalty, they may leave a score that is low to us but high to them, like a 7.5. If you are only renting two or three apartments it’s easier to be loved, but if you rent out many more, it’s more difficult. I created a flyer that, using words and images, politely explains what this line of work costs in sacrifices and money. It has been very appreciated.
Do you have similar advice or observations? Do you exchange sweet treats with international travellers? Let us know in the comments.