Yesterday, I spent the entire day in Lexington, Kentucky touring hotels for a future event I am planning. I visited the Griffith Gate Marriott Resort, Holiday Inn North, Embassy Suites, Crown Plaza (formerly known as The Campbell House Inn), and Hyatt Regency. Throughout the day, I observed the hotel staff members utilize many basic, but impressive welcoming principles that can be applied to the church. See if you can pick up a couple of things from this post that can help in your setting.
Each hotel tried to put their best foot forward in an attempt to attract my event to their facility. (See Be A Great Host and Creating A Welcoming Environment for more tips along these lines.) At each location, I had an appointment with the sales manager, but at a couple of the hotels, the entire managerial staff came to the front and introduced themselves when I arrived. After the initial introductions, they welcomed me to their hotel, thanked me for coming, asked me if they could get me a cup of coffee or something to drink, told me their role, shared a couple of the strengths of their facility, mentioned how they would love to work with me on my upcoming event, and called me by name.
After the initial introductions, the sales managers took over and toured me through their facilities. They showed me their meeting space, hotel rooms, swimming pools, exercise facilities, restaurants–you name it–I saw it! One sales manager even gave me a nice box of cookies “for the road.”
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. I had a fairly tight schedule throughout the day and it was important to me that the meeting at each location be on time.
- Be prepared. I was there to get information. Although, I did not expect the sales managers to know everything about their facility, I did expect them to know most things. I expected them to be organized and prepared for my visit.
- Be flexible. A couple of times throughout the day I was running ahead of schedule. It was a pleasant surprise to find that the sales manager at the next hotel could see me a few minutes early. I would have understood if they were unable to do so, but their flexibility was appreciated.
- Be nice. Everyone provided a warm handshake, a friendly smile, eye contact, and good manners! They acted as if they were truly glad I was there and honored I was considering them and their facility.
- Be real. A mechanical “sales pitch” is obvious. It was nice to meet real people who were working at a real jobs. Those who seemed most genuine especially caught my attention.
- Be thorough. It will be interesting to see how each sales manager follows up after my visit. It would seem appropriate that they send a simple thank you note or letter that conveys appreciation for the time and consideration I gave towards their facility.
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!
Surely, if the business world can do such a good job in order to make money, the church can do a good job in order to make disciples.
Excellent post! These basic things cause us to be seen as caring, committed people of excellence. Those around us see our living letter (witness) to them as one which is birthed in grace, passion for Jesus and people, while being full of the positive effort and excellence we all want to have in our day to day living.
This is Good Word for any believer who wants the world to see that ‘His grace is Still Amazing.’
Great post, Steve! I would imagine that the ones who appeared the most warm and genuine were the ones who paid special attention to your communication. They looked you in the eyes. They listened well. That practice could lead many churches to better efforts to greet guests.