Traveling solo has always been a joy for me, as I cherish my own company and the internal dialogues that accompany it. However, one of the highlights of my travels has always been engaging with hotel staff. It’s not just their intriguing backgrounds that captivate me; it’s the wealth of knowledge they possess about the hotel—those hidden gems you’d never uncover through the tinted vision of a public relations team. This treasure trove of information is something you’d never discover online or in a glossy travel guide, and I know many of you, fellow hotel aficionados, share this sentiment.

The Erosion of Meaningful Engagement with Hotel Staff

Recently, though, attempting to initiate conversation with some of the younger staff members has felt akin to engaging in dialogue with a non-responsive entity. At luxury hotels, I anticipate encountering astute individuals who can intuitively read their guests and interact accordingly. Regrettably, my recent experiences have left much to be desired. In instances where I’ve attempted to strike up a conversation, it’s as if I’m met with a metaphorical wall. Instead of the enriching exchanges I’ve grown accustomed to with their more experienced counterparts, my attempts are often greeted with blank stares, awkward pauses, or nervous laughter. In one particularly memorable recent encounter, I met an exceedingly young staff member who treated me with all the formality of Victorian England—a performance so incongruous it was almost comical.

The Impact of Diminished Communication Skills and Hiring Standards

This leads me to question: Is the younger generation’s ability to engage in meaningful face-to-face interaction diminishing? Or have hotels become less discerning in their hiring practices? It appears to be a combination of both. There was a time when securing a position at a high-end hotel was highly coveted, offering respectable compensation, career longevity, and attractive benefits, thereby attracting talented individuals. Now, it seems the standards have plummeted to such depths that merely having a pulse or turning up for work is enough to land the job.

The Importance of Proper Training

Proper training is essential, yet this aspect too often appears to be overlooked. For example, I recently requested to see a spa treatment room and was informed that it was not possible because it was only the staff member’s second day on the job. Or, having to repeat your coffee order three times and still not receive it as requested. Surely, this does not meet the standards we expect.

Negative Impacts on Guest Experience and Hotel Revenue

Similarly, at another establishment, my inquiry about purchasing a specific spa product from the selection on display was met with a look of bewilderment. This not only reflects poorly on the hotel but could also dissuade guests from making a purchase, leading to a loss of revenue—a concern that hotels are typically keen to avoid, especially in times when every touchpoint is seen as a potential sales opportunity.

A Noticeable Shift in Hospitality and Communication

I do not wish to generalise excessively, but it is difficult to overlook the noticeable shift. It reflects the evolving dynamics within the hospitality and communication sectors, a change that is becoming increasingly prominent. The once-common enriching interactions with hotel staff are becoming rarer, and it is a trend that is lamentable for those of us who value a truly engaging and personalised hospitality experience.

By highlighting these issues, I hope to shed light on the importance of maintaining high standards in staff recruitment and training within the luxury hotel industry. Quality guest interactions are not just a hallmark of excellent service; they are essential for creating memorable experiences