Front-line staff in any industry play an important role in the success of a business, including that of the travel, tourism and the hospitality trade. The interaction they have with the holiday maker can be crucial in making or breaking the holiday experience of the tourist. Although the product itself is very important, for most tourists the quality of the experience is of utmost importance.
With an increased number of international travelers of various ethnicity visiting countries for a number of reasons, the importance of awareness of different cultures and faiths and the ability and skill of the front-line staff in dealing with each and all of their unique needs are becoming increasingly important components of guest satisfaction and service. Front-line service staff need to be able to anticipate and read guests needs and they also need to be able to interact with guests from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds on a daily basis.
Muslim guests have their own unique set of needs when they travel overseas. Some of the facilities that are important to Muslim travelers are the availability of halal food, prayer facilities, separate leisure and recreational facilities for the male and female guests and so on. It is necessary for front-line staff to know their Muslim guests and their nuances to better serve them.
Customer satisfaction in the hospitality and tourism industry will greatly depend on the front-line service providers since these employees are first to be in contact with the customer. Service is all about people and how they relate to one another and fulfill needs and expectations. The best possible service an organization can offer its customer is the personal touch. So it is essential for these employees to know the guest and their specific needs in order to serve them better. Being able to identify the guest as a Muslim and knowing their preferences goes a long way.
The hospitality and the travel industry need to carry out training programs to make sure their employees are equipped to deal with customers of diverse cultures and ethnicity. Recruitment would be key in finding the right people for the job since everyone is not suitable to be a front-line staff. They need to find employees that are polite and able to control their emotions as well as recognize the emotions of others. They should also be able to handle the stress that comes with the job. Hotels that have an efficient and well trained front-line staff will have an edge over their competitors. Offering and developing service innovations would delight customers and make sure they come back to the hotel on their next holiday. It will also make it hard for your competitor if you were the first to introduce a particular service. Being first to offer a customer service innovation would delight the customer. But the last to offer a service would be providing something that is expected of them.
Those in the hospitality industry need to better understand the individual preferences of the their Muslim guests so that each time the guest returns to the hotel, the staff will know how to ensure that particular guest has a great experience in the Hotel. Muslim guests checking into a hotel can be provided with a list of nearby Mosques, their rooms provided information on the prayer direction, a prayer mat etc.. The mini bar could be emptied and replaced with halal beverages instead of alcohol. Muslim guests will greatly appreciate these small yet important services provided by any hotel. Those in the hospitality industry need to constantly seek and implement new ways of satisfying their customers and thereby beat the competition. But to do this effectively, the front-line staff need to be educated on all of the above.