An insider’s story.

Etiquette- an elegant word for simple kindness.

I was working for many years in 5 Star hospitality. In beautiful hotels, in different places in Switzerland where people around the world would stay for their vacations. Hospitality is a fascinating world that is half a secret and half a fairytale. But I have also seen the harsh reality of this industry.

If you think about high-class hospitality, what comes to your mind? Hmm..let me guess, you might be thinking about “11 point Gaul Millau” meals served on a beautiful table with a fresh white tablecloth, expensive dishes, and silver cutlery, a fantastic outside area including a pool filled with blue water and green palm tree lines, luxurious bedrooms with a breathtaking view and wonderfully arranged flower bouquets and amazing chandelier hanging from the ceiling. I am curious to know what comes into your mind, dear reader?

Is it not a lovely place that you have just entered? I want you to ponder upon that very experience. What do you think does it take to bring about such a lavish experience to reality? Well, let me take you deeper into that world. This high rated meals you thought about are prepared by amazing chefs with fresh high great products like vegetables or fruits especially chosen and the fresh-baked bread which gets prepared for these great buffets. The beautifully set table you are going to sit on gets prepared before, every knife, spoon, or even glass is carefully polished beforehand. The pool area needs special treatment because the water needs to be checked 4 times a day so it is always ready for a refreshing swim. Special care is taken of your beautiful bedroom to keep it clean and fresh at all times, so you can feel at home out of your home. They actually can’t take any responsibility for the view or the weather but be assured, if they could, they would do that too. 

Memories of my days in hospitality are still fresh in my mind and I remember how passionate I was. As you also might have experienced, neither every job you start with will fit you, nor will you fit in every job. Or you might just grow out of it. I simply grew out of it too but still, I love getting lost in memories from those times. And for me, those jobs were my most important life lessons which I would never want to miss.

Starting a new job in each of these splendor hotels means, you have to learn their own language, etiquette and adapt yourself to the standards and culture they live in. And all these things may vary from hotel to hotel. So basically, as long as you are in hospitality and changing jobs, you are always required to learn.

To fully enjoy this royal hospitality as a guest, it is also important to be aware of the manners and follow certain etiquette. The etiquettes are heritage which we should honor especially in times where the change is faster than ever before.

As an insider, I would love to share some tips for you as a guest.

Maybe it will help you the next time when traveling or staying in a hotel is as easy as it was again. (And to the fellows who can’t wait for it, you are not alone! But we must be patient. The time will come and we will share all these great adventures again. In the meantime, travel within yourself and see what you can create and learn during this time too.)

It may sound like a matter of course, but let me please tell you, it IS not! And most of the time, people working in hospitality make embarrassing experiences with their guests. If you don’t want to be that guest, please read on!

  • Please be patient if you have to wait. You might be a VIP but for the hotel, every guest is a VIP and gets treated equally.
  • Mistakes can happen and the hotel staff tries to avoid them as best as possible. Complaints can be delivered courteously and they will do their best to solve your problem. Remember, shouting at the staff says a lot more about you than them.
  • The staff would appreciate you a lot if you treat them with humanity. Just because you are staying with the hotel doesn’t mean it belongs to you. Also, saying  “please” and  “thank you” would not hurt. They serve your meal with a genuine smile on their faces but they are not your servant. Please remember the better you treat someone the more you get in return. If you are nice to them, on your pillow you might find a bar of extra chocolate. 
  • Most of the hotels go green and encourage you to reuse towels or will not change bed linens during your stay under one week unless you request. They take this very seriously. In most of the hotels, you will find a “Greencard” which you can place on your bed admitting you agree that the sheets and towels won’t be changed. This card might also get appreciated since the hotel will gift you some sweets or a small surprise for using it. So it is definitely worth the try. Here one pro-tip, most likely if you leave the towels on the ground, the housekeepers will change them anyway for you. 
  • Take only memories – and the complementary travel-size toiletry with you. Please leave the robes, towels, blankets, hairdryers, hangers, ceramic coffee mugs, water cooker, and any other reusable items behind. It’s not worth it, since they already know everything about you, we will probably send you a bill or charge it on your credit card. And please bear in mind, the robe you are stealing is already used and washed over 100 times before you. Invest that precious money in a new one. Also never forget, They do not forget. If you are stealing, they will write it down on your guest card. Whenever you book a room with them again, They know what you did. 😉

I hope you enjoyed reading. Stay tuned for the next part with more exciting insider tips.


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