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Service versus Hospitality

Amy-HowarterIn recent months, I’ve heard much talk about senior living communities and hospitality. Some claim to have it incorporated into their service models, while others intend to have it soon. But what’s the difference between great service and hospitality? According to Aaron Bare, entrepreneur and strategist: Service is delivering on your promise. Hospitality is making people feel good while you’re delivering on that promise.

With 10 years in the hospitality industry, I see many parallels between the services that hotels and restaurants provide compared to those at a senior living community. Embracing the word “hospitality” means going above and beyond the basic services you promise.

I was recently dining at a modern American restaurant for a business lunch. As I sat down, the hostess offered me a black linen napkin for my lap, while others received a white one. She indicated that the white napkin would leave white lint on my black dress pants. My service expectation was to receive a napkin. The hospitality piece came in when I was pleased to receive a black one, so I didn’t leave lunch with white lint on my black dress pants. A small gesture that stood out as impressive. I told others of my experience and recommended the restaurant.

Hospitality isn’t a new idea, just a relatively new word to senior living communities. Introducing the idea of hospitality isn’t a complete overhaul of your existing services; it’s simply thinking of the small, yet impressive gestures that get noticed. Most of your prospects have been expecting great service and noticing hospitality for the last 80 years or so, and recognize the difference. Start incorporating hospitality into your service model and you’ll soon discover that prospects will notice the difference and residents will brag to others about their exceptional experiences.

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