Introduction This report is based on how nonverbal communication such as body language can be used within the hospitality environment when language becomes a barrier in the form of contact between the service provider and the guests. This highlights how a staff, who works within the hospitality industry who are usually seen on a daily bases dealing with certain number of guests who is unable to speak the local language.
These staffs must not only be able to notice the different body language that the guests are sending but to understand what each different body language means in order to provide the guests with the best service possible. This could involve the basic forms of interaction such as eye contact, hand gestures and the physical space between the service staff and the guests (Sana Rynolds & Deborah Valentine 2004, p. 77 – 90).
With studies have stating that a majority of communication done is non-verbal and the rest is verbal (Linda Lee-Davis 2007 p. 127), this could heavily affect the communication between the first contact between the guest and staff if the staff is unable to use body language to try and understand what was it meant for.
As a tourist travelling to a new destination With more and more tourist having the motivation of traveling to a different country for short break or long overdue holiday, the situation that they might face there is they might not be able to speak the local language and finding a local person that might speak the same language as them might be hard provide that these guests are in a group which have a tour leader together with them. (J Christopher Holloway 2009 p. 62 – 66)
Free independent travellers (F.I.T) who on the other hand usually travel alone or without guides, usually have to rely on hand signs and body language in order to get the message across to the local service provider’s staff for examples at the hotel and restaurants and hoping that they would be able to understand what the traveller is saying or tying to say.
Should a guest or traveller who know the certain information about body language and is being served by a front line staff, the guest would be able to tell if the staff is providing the guest with the quality of service and value that is expected of the organisation or the staff does not care about the service that he or she is providing.
As a staff of a hospitality service provider For staffs who are working in the hospitality industry especially as a front line staff in places such as boutique shops, hotels or restaurants which interacting with guests would be a daily part of the job. These staff would need to have a better understanding of the different types of body languages and what each of these different body languages represent so that the staff would be able to know how the guest or customer is feeling or reacting if the opposite party does not speak the language the staff speaks.
As a front line staff in such an industry, being trained to recognise certain body languages that the guests are displaying like nervousness or doubt can help those guests in their problems and make their experience an enjoyable one.
While dealing with guests, different forms of body languages like eye contact lets the guests know that the staff is trying to help him or her in their problems and not just for the sake that it is part of their job; this reassures the guest that the staff is trying his or her best to solve their problems, the facial expression can also be used to show the guest that the staff might not understand like nodding of the head for a yes or a no or a simple smile to indicate a simple kind of friendliness toward the guests and the staff is there to help.
The staff should also know some information about different cultures so as to avoid offending the guest that they are serving or help as to some cultures it might seem appropriate but to another it might be taken as an offence towards them. (Linda LeeDavis 2007 p. 127)
Examples of how body language can be used in such an environment As one example, a tourist visits a place of attraction and is lost among the attraction at the same time, tourist does not speak the local language; in such cases, the tourist would display signs of nervousness and doubt as the tourist is unsure who to ask for help. As the tourist is displaying such signs it becomes a giveaway that the tourist is in need of help, this signs can become visible to a staff working at the attraction and the staff could offer assistance to the tourist.
Another example is about front line staffs that work in hotel. They are mainly working in the front of the house, this staffs are expected to portray certain body language clusters like openness, enthusiasm and confidence as these staff will look more approachable for the guest to ask for help, as such presentation would help break down the fear of the guest from approaching the staff to ask for help even if the guest does not speak the language. Such portray of positive body language at the front of the house would also projects a positive image to the guest arriving about the hotel.
Conclusion Body language is an important tool that can be used in the hospitality industry as working in this industry, a staff would not only just be meeting guests but at the same time providing a service them. With body language, it can help the staff to take notice of guests that are in need of assistance.
Body language can also be used as an expression between two parties that do not speak the same language but with body language, the two parties could understand what each other are saying. Body language can also be used providing the first impression in places like restaurants and hotels as it give a positive image of both the hotel and brand.
With the two examples that is show above, its gives a clearer ideas on the different ways how body language can be used to either help a guest/ tourist and to project a positive image.
Courtney from Study Moose
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