The Power of a First and Lasting (Hospitality) Connection
I don’t take great selfies. I don’t know why, but I’m usually never happy with them. But for this one below, it didn’t matter because Mary was the reason I took the selfie. And unknown to Mary, she delivered to me one of the 5 Essential Laws of Hospitality that I talk about in my seminars.
In my Keynote presentation, The 5 Essential Laws of Hospitality, I talk about what the 5 Laws are and why they are important today. And these laws start with the Law of Connect. I think they have to, as “connecting” is right in my definition of Hospitality- “The art of making that personal/emotional connection with someone.”
Mary did that for me, and it’s a connection that has never happened to me before in an airport and one that I will remember for a long time. Here’s the quick story…
I traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana in late August, as I was going to be a Keynote Speaker for their state travel/tourism conference. I had never been to Louisiana and was looking forward to the conference and my time there.
I arrived at the airport in Baton Rouge and headed to baggage claim to get my luggage. That’s where I connected with Mary. She must have noticed me looking at all the signs above on where to find a ride to the hotel. She saw me and said, “Welcome to Baton Rouge! This must be your first time in our beautiful city! My name is Mary and I’m with Visit Baton Rouge, I hope you have a wonderful time here! Is there something I can help you find, as I saw you were looking for a car?” (and she had the name tag to prove it)
I told her I needed a ride, but not a rental car. She said, “We have the usual companies for you to get a ride, but may I recommend one of our local drivers and companies? They do a wonderful job and they will get you to your hotel safely, plus will tell you all about our city and the great things that are happening here! Tom is one of our favorite drivers and he’s right outside. I know you will be very happy with his services.”
I have to be honest and say that I was surprised by her comments, but I could also tell that she was very genuine in making them. I was still a little hesitant and started thinking of reasons NOT to use that driver. “Does he take credit cards”, I asked Mary. “Absolutely, and it’s an easy process.”
“Well, what about my luggage? I still need to get it.” Mary said, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll watch for it, while you go talk to Tom”.
And so I did. I think I told him, “Mary said that I need to ride with you to my hotel.” A big smile came across his face and he said, “Mary’s the best and I’ll make sure to take great care of you”.
I went back in to tell Mary and wait for my luggage. And as I did, we connected even further. Mary told me about her job, how she loved it, and that she wasn’t supposed to be there that morning, but the regular staff member called in sick, and she was happy to take his shift.
I’m so glad she did, as she made a connection with me that I’ll never forget. And when I got to the conference, I had to tell this story during my Keynote. There were people in the audience who worked with Mary, and not only did that story bring a big smile to their faces, but they all said, “Yep, that is how Mary works! She’s one of the best ambassadors we have for our organization.”
I couldn’t agree more. The question I have for you is- How many Mary’s do you have on your staff? These are the ones who make that first and lasting Hospitality connection.
Bob Pacanovsky is a Keynote Speaker and trainer. He works with companies and organizations that aim to achieve the highest levels of Hospitality and Service Excellence to attract and retain more customers and employees. His programs are customized to meet the needs of his customers and he strives to always look for ways to deliver a Black Tie Experience. He can be reached at Bob@BobPacanovsky.com.