Last week, two members of the Kentucky Baptist Convention Church Consulting & Revitalization Team and I spent part of the day in Lexington, Kentucky touring the Downtown Lexington Hilton hotel for a future event we are planning. Throughout the day, I observed the hotel staff members utilize many basic, but impressive welcoming principles that can and should be applied to the church. See if you can pick up a couple of things from this post that can help in your setting.
The hotel did a good job of putting their best foot forward. We had an appointment with the Convention Services Manager, Emily Dowd, but she was tied up on a telephone call when we arrived. Instead of making us wait, she sent another manager to greet us and make us feel welcome until she could break away from her call. When she arrived, she welcomed us and offered us coffee or a soft drink. Throughout our visit, she was helpful, ready to listen, and extremely knowledgeable about her facility. As we randomly ran into other hotel staff members throughout our visit, they smiled and said hello. Some even asked if they could help in some way. Mrs. Dowd invited us to join her for lunch in the hotel restaurant and made sure that we received a validated parking pass as we were leaving.
Here are some basic welcoming principles that impressed me from the day. I believe all of them apply to the church setting as well….
- Be on time. Although we had an appointment, our appointment was simply for the “late morning.” As a result of not setting a precise time of arrival, Mrs. Dowd could not help that she was tied up on the phone when we arrived. Knowing the importance of being on time, she was courteous and asked another manager to “fill in” until she arrived.
- Be prepared. We were there to get information and to make relational connections. Although, we did not expect the managers to know everything about their facility, we did expect them to know most things. We expected them to be organized and prepared for our visit–we were not disappointed!
- Be nice. Everyone provided a warm handshake, a friendly smile, eye contact, and good manners! They acted as if they were truly glad we were there and honored we were utilizing their facility.
- Be real. A mechanical “sales pitch” is obvious. It was nice to meet real people who were working at a real jobs. It caught my attention that everyone seemed very genuine.
- Be flexible. Throughout the visit, we ran into a hotel staff member who is in charge of Audio/Visual. Although we had not planned to do so, we spent several minutes talking with him about new audio/visual improvements in the hotel. Mrs. Dowd was very patient and flexible throughout our visit.
- Be thorough. When we’ve held events in that hotel in the past, the staff always sends a very nice thank you note or letter that conveys their appreciation. It’s a small gesture, but little things make a BIG difference.
Surely, if the business world can do such a good job of welcoming people simply for the purpose of their business, the church can do a good job of welcoming people for the purpose of God’s business. Keep striving to put your best foot forward!
For more help in this area, please see the following posts: