Recently I stayed in a hotel that I would rate as one of the best hotels I’ve ever had the privilege of spending the night in. I don’t consider myself a “high maintenance” type of guy…but when I am pampered, I enjoy it as much as anyone. This was a great experience and made me think back to my own days in the hotel business.
The years that I spent as a bellman all the way to an assistant general manager were a time that I often look back on fondly. It was early in my career that I had this experience and it, in large measure, made me the leader I am today. I learned many lessons during my time in that industry that have served me well throughout the years.
As I spent my time in this obvious 4 or 5 star hotel, I couldn’t help but to notice several things that I think could help churches all across the world. The hotel business has figured out some things that could translate well across several different industries. Here are four lessons that I feel churches could learn from hotels (see how many your church is already doing well):
1. People notice the extras. One of the things that stood out to me when I arrived at my room was that there was a Keurig coffee maker in my office. No cheap, old school coffee maker – but a nice Keurig! I immediately thought about my church and wondered what our Keurig is? What is the one thing that we do that is extra or unexpected to help guests feel special and welcomed?
2. Excellence improves the experience. Nice hotels are notorious for excellence in all that they do. This hotel was no different. From the concierge that was prominently positioned in the lobby to the beds that felt like you just laid down on a cloud in the sky. These are things that aren’t “necessary” to my experience, but they certainly made it better! It was obvious that they anticipated the needs of their guests and were positioned to make it the best experience possible. How are we improving our guests’ experience through excellence? Do we anticipate their needs and make it easy for them to be a part of our church?
3. Service sets you apart. Let’s face it, receiving good customer service is really a thing of the past. And, when an organization figures out how to provide good service, they are immediately set apart from their competition. Churches are no different. Questions come to mind like: Are we friendly? Is it easy to navigate our facility? Is there a system in place to receive feedback from our guests? And let’s not miss the fact that our most important service is to SERVE. Is serving others a core value of our church and do our guests see that as soon as they enter our doors?
4. Size doesn’t determine the “wow.” The great thing about the hotel business is that it doesn’t matter how big your hotel is, how many guests you have staying there, or how much revenue you have – you can still WOW your guests. The smallest hotels can provide a “wow” experience for their guests in exactly the same way as the biggest hotels. Of course, there’s a mindset in churches that the size of your church determines your ability to do many of these things that I mention. But, I want to push back on that! I believe that these are all things that churches of ANY size can implement immediately. Think about how you are “wow”-ing your guests. Did someone follow up with a phone call to thank them for coming? Is there a way to easily connect new guests into a group experience? Do guests receive a gift when they visit?
I’m sure there are even more lessons that hotels can learn from churches…but here are a few that I think churches can learn from hotels! Which of these do you feel like your church does well and which one could you improve on? Comment below and let’s talk about it…