On the continent, in the Far East and in America, employment in hospitality is regarded far more favourably and it is often not the British, but émigrées such as Fred Sireix and Diego Masciagna, GM of the Waterside Inn in Bray, who throw themselves with passion into the business of training and inspiring a new generation in the art of service.
Walk into a hotel where the majority of staff are long serving and happy in their work and then walk into one where the majority of staff are merely passing through, some with not much more than a nodding acquaintance with the English language, and the crux of the problem becomes immediately apparent.
The first hotel will have depth, rhythm and genuineness. The second will, in all probability, fail to engage you. As a generalization, large, busy establishments (with the exception of our luxury hotels, which are in the main beautifully run) and ones in quiet rural areas where it’s hard to recruit) are most prone to poor service.
What do we look for in hotel service? Efficiency and just the right degree of interaction.
So don’t call me ‘mate’ the whole time because you are a Kiwi (a hotel in Scotland this year); don’t make me have to act out the word ‘mustard’ because you don’t speak sufficient English (Cumbria); don’t make me order breakfast via an app because you think gadgets are the answer (Bath); come up with a greeting other than ‘did you have a good journey’ (everywhere); don’t call out ‘housekeeping’ three times just as I’ve got into the bath (everywhere); don’t decant the Marmite (Devon; every Brit is happy to eat it from the jar); do offer to carry my bag, however many bags you’ve carried that day; and please, give us a smile.
A room at The Cavendish, the hotel featured in Channel 4’s The Hotel