The reception as an inspiration and service point

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Articles about the “reception of the future” are published regularly. Very often this revolves around digitization (for example replacing a counter with employees by digital kiosks), discontinuation (no reception check-in) or a futuristic interpretation of the furniture. This mainly concerns the check-in process This while the reception can play a much broader role in the customer journey of the guest. In short: it is time for a reorientation on the role of the reception in the future.

The reception in the customer journey

The guest goes through a customer journey. Dreaming of a destination, planning transport, accommodation and entertainment, booking and anticipation are part of this. The experience phase has finally arrived. The reception is often the first contact moment that the guest has with the new destination. Checking in (especially at campsites and holiday parks) often involves waiting times, as there are many changes on certain days. You want to limit that negative start of the holiday and that is why there are more and more alternatives; the drive-through check-in, kiosks, digital check-in columns, license plate recognition, check-in via a park app or a digital key that you can put on your smartphone in advance.

Functions and personal attention

However, the reception can fulfill even more functions. In addition to checking in and out, the reception is often the location where guests can go for first aid on arrival, questions or complaints, booking certain services, ticketing or information about the area. In some places, the reception performs combination functions, such as a bar, lobby or a shop with a limited range.

Personal is still important for the tourism sector. It can make all the difference in a guest’s vacation experience. A survey from showed a while back that 91% professional and helpful staff is an absolute must. 49% say it significantly enhances the experience. No less than 42% indicate that they cannot do without it at all. We also know that the German guest attaches extra value to personal contact.

An accommodation can make the difference in personal attention, customization based on the personal interests of the guest and an excellent service that exceeds expectations. Sincere warmth and commitment, personal attention and wanting to do something extra for the visitor are examples of this. When expectations are exceeded, experiences are more likely to be shared by visitors.

Integrate the environment into the accommodation

A reception can still – outside the check-in and check-out days – still play an important role as a practical control point, booking point and service point. In addition, the visibility of the surroundings of an accommodation has often been greatly undervalued. In general, guests (with a few exceptions) come primarily for the environment and find accommodation there. However, the accommodation is often very self-oriented and almost not focused on the environment. This can be done differently. After all, if guests have a positive experience in the area and feel that there is a lot to do, they will be more willing to come back. It is therefore also directly important for the entrepreneur himself. The accommodation thus acts as a kind of satellite tourist information office.

In a single location, the VVV function is combined with the reception function. Usually this is limited to a wall with leaflets and that is a pity. Leaflets do not inspire. It is important to give guests ideas, preferably based on their personal interests. This way you can let guests do more and different things than they planned in advance. As a result, they gain more experiences, so that they will also appreciate the environment more. Contemporary tourist offices are increasingly developing into brand stores or inspiration points. Why should receptions not also go through these developments and focus much more on experience, inspiration and service and translate this into a contemporary total concept based on the combined identity of the environment and the accommodation itself?

However, in 9 out of 10 cases, receptions remain boring places with a business-like appearance. That is striking, because “experience” has been an important creed in the tourism sector for years. It is a matter of waiting for the first reception, which will mainly focus on inspiration and excellent service in the periods outside check-in and check-out, and will also make this explicit in the appearance, telling stories and interactions. This not only offers opportunities for the experience and inspiration of guests, but also for upselling products and services at both the park and the surrounding area.

Finally: we are still talking about “the reception” here. With the reception’s changing role due to increasing digitization, it may no longer be necessary in the long term to locate it at the entrance. This can create an alternative inspiration and service point at a different location in the accommodation.

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