Hospitality is one of those words that doesn’t get the full credit it deserves.
When was the last time you felt hospitality? Since we’ve been sequestered at home for so long, it’s probably been quite a while since you felt pampered and well cared for.
Hospitality is not just for fancy hotels and restaurants. It’s for all of us in everyday encounters. Why should we wait for special occasions, locations, or situations to exhibit or receive hospitality?
First, maybe we should define the word hospitality. According to Webster, hospitality means the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.
That definition obviously applies to hotels, restaurants, event planning venues, and other people and businesses in the hospitality industry.
But how do we do hospitality in our line of work if we don’t work at a hotel, restaurant, or similar business? And why does it matter?
First, let’s examine why it matters.
It matters because no matter what we do for a living (whether we are employed or not), we almost always interact with at least one person at some point in our day. It might be professional. It might be personal. It might be transactional.
So what does hospitality look like? More importantly, what does hospitality feel like?
The best way to figure out how to present and perform with hospitality is to look at it from the receiver’s perspective. So let’s do a little visioning.
Think about a time when you were being treated like you were really special, like you were a VIP, like you were the only one that mattered in that moment. Take a few moments to remember, in detail, what it looked like, what if felt like.
Maybe you are arriving late at a hotel and the valet guides you in with a graceful waving gesture, he opens your door, smiles, welcomes you to the hotel, and asks how your drive was. As you approach the lobby, the doorman opens the door, smiles, tips his hat, greets you by name and then escorts you inside. Upon reaching the front desk, the clerk smiles, greets you by name, and hands you your card key and menu specials and asks if you’ll ordering room service, anticipating you might be ready to turn in for the night.
Everything seems so well orchestrated, and personal, like they are catering just to you. You feel warmth from the smiles all around. You feel welcome from the personalization and anticipation. You feel a sense of wellbeing from the pampering and catering.
When these three things come together, we experience comfort, safety, belonging. And that is what people want in relationships, work, and life. So how do we bring this quality of hospitality to each of these areas? How do we show people that we care about their comfort, safety, and sense of belonging?
Consider these three types of interaction.
- Personal: How can we show hospitality to our friends, family, and loved ones?
- Professional: How can we show hospitality to our bosses, coworkers, and customers?
- Transactional: How can we show hospitality to strangers, shop workers, and service people?
Next time you call a friend, how will you make them feel warm, comfortable, and happy to hear from you?
Next time you visit a customer, how will you make them feel a sense of wellbeing, knowing they can trust you to care for their needs?
Next time you meet someone for the first time, how will you make that person feel welcome into your group or network?
These are the ways we cultivate trust in common conversation. These are the ways we ensure safety in everyday encounters. These are the ways we show compassion in ordinary occurrences.
So how will you decide to make a difference in your next interaction with a friend, a coworker, or even a stranger? How will you make hospitality a purposeful part of your daily routine?
Don’t leave hospitality just for the fancy hotels and restaurants. Be more of a host by extending a warm welcome and promote a sense of wellbeing with every person you see today.
Your Mindful Moment:
You may not be in the hospitality business, but you are in the business of hospitality.Tweet