In this days is a lot going on in hospitality, services and tourism. Is not a most easiest time for this industry where human contact is a base. Back to basic is what always been there and those rules are now more than needed. To make the customers and guests feels comfortable and welcome. To let them come back and bring more friends.
Topics for conversations can be anything from weather, shopping, traveling to gardening. This is generally very popular. Of course when you meet a strict Eco fan which is fighting for global weather changes or a person who really do not care about anything, you just back up.
Never go into:
– politics and all related topics about the government, law, restrictions etc.
– health – you do not know if person is just big or has a serious problem
– sport and teams – here the fans would fight till end
– sex life and orientation, race and origin – why do you care?
– religion – do you really want to risk this?
– money, job and pay – no question is right
In the restaurants, hotels and services you do not really have much time to make a big conversations. When you welcoming the customers and guests, best questions are about their preferences, wishes and needs. When service is already in process, very good is to check how is everything going. How is the food, hotel room, service we offering. Be specific and formulate the question that answer need to be longer than yes or no. When the guest start to make a conversation about his or her job, comparing your establishment to other, you can always listen. When is trying to get some personal information or opinions, just excuse yourself and leave. Make it with a smile and gentle approach. While working you are always busy. No hidden question here.
To be polite, professional and tactful do not need much. Just to know the basic rules and have a bit of conversational training. This can be trained every day between the people who works together.
You talk only to topic started by the guest or related to your business. Like this will be satisfaction guarantee.
On a cruise ships this is also a bit different. Same guests are around for 3 to 125 days. Basic rules apply. With more time comes more topics in. Around the bars, shops and services this can be sometimes tricky. In the restaurant is very thin edge, because the guests spending a lots of time together and when get bored, looking for all different things. Just be polite and professional, make them feel comfortable and welcome. In case you feel to be in trouble, always report it to your manager. No need to deal alone with unpleasant situation. Management is trained for unexpected crisis and will help you.