*After you read the article, don’t forget to check out some exciting upcoming events I’m recommending! (below)*
Recently, I’ve been wondering how we can make community gatherings, of any type, more of a unique experience. That led me to reading a few books from the hospitality industry, an industry known for how it literally and figuratively caters to gatherings of all sizes. I got WAY more out of these books than I ever anticipated, and that’s because our industries are more similar than I initially thought.
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It’s about the ENTIRE experience.
As community professionals, if we want a successful community, we can’t provide that by only working on certain sections of the community. We need to be mindful of the entire experience, just as a great restaurant isn’t solely focused on food, but of the whole encounter the customer goes through, starting with the moment a reservation is made.
PERSONALIZATION is the difference-maker.
In Danny Meyer’s book (linked below), he talks about the importance of personalization in hospitality, and those restaurants that are able to pull it off give an experience like no other. In online communities, I’ve seen personalization efforts lead to more frequent member sign-ins, more time spent on the community, and more pages viewed per visit. There’s no doubt that people appreciate an effort to speak to their individual needs or preferences.
Both industries aspire to create a long-lasting positive FEELING.
Hospitality professionals aim to satisfy, provide value, offer something memorable, deliver uniqueness…all in the hopes of their customers leaving with a deep-rooted feeling of happiness and belonging. If they’ve done their job, there’s usually a sense of anticipation or craving for coming back to the establishment. Don’t community professionals want the same?
Setting The Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business, by Danny Meyers
Meyers is responsible for some of the greatest restaurant creations and experiences in North America. He shared his trials and tribulations in entrepreneurship, trying out new concepts, pleasing customers, managing employees, and more. After reading this, I had great respect for the lengths he went to for his customers…taking the time to truly understand why people chose to gather at his restaurants and what they got out of their experiences.
The 2-Hour Cocktail Party: How To Build Big Relationships With Small Gatherings, by Nick Gray
Even the most seasoned event planner will benefit from the tactics shared in this book! Community pros, it’s likely you’ve held an event before, but have you put the right amount of mindful thinking and preparation into your event? That’s what you’ll get out of reading Gray’s words. You may not be planning a cocktail party for your community (but if you are, can I get an invite?!)…but use the party as a metaphor for any other community gathering you’re planning, and you’ll still get a wealth of helpful knowledge. There were tactical tips I’d never even considered in my many years of event-planning. I was most impressed with how every piece of advice is geared toward making a warm, welcome, inclusive experience that fosters ongoing connection.
Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service, by The Disney Institute with Theodore Kinni
This is the only one, out of these 3 books, that I haven’t completed reading, but have taken in excerpts of so far. If you’re going to learn from the best in customer service, it makes sense that you’d learn from Disney! Once again, the main lesson is around understanding your customer behavior, and making sure you’re meeting (or exceeding) their needs. Sounds like community management!
IMHO, these are most definitely worthy of being added to your calendar!
CMX Connect: Tampa Bay Chapter Breakfast Meetup
Tuesday, April 4
If you live in the Tampa area, I hope you can join us for this special event in my hometown.
Community Pros of Los Angeles - Coworking Day
Wednesday, April 26
If you live in the LA area, it’s a great opportunity to meet more community professionals. Hope to see you there.
Community Rebellion Conference in Prague
June 12 & 13
Yours truly will be a co-host and speaker! The event is being organized by Talkbase. I’ll post on LinkedIn as soon as more info becomes available.
The ChatGPT Version
I was curious about ChatGPT and its ability to write a blog article, so I tested it out with this prompt:
“Write an article about the similarities between community management and the hospitality industry.”
And the result…well…damn…not bad. Lacking some personality, but overall, I agree with the points. Would YOU have been able to tell that this was written by ChatGPT? ⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️
Community management and the hospitality industry may seem like completely different fields, but upon closer inspection, there are several similarities that can be drawn between the two. Both involve providing a high level of service to people and creating an environment that is welcoming and accommodating.
Here are some of the key similarities between community management and the hospitality industry:
Customer Service: Both community management and the hospitality industry rely heavily on customer service. In the hospitality industry, it's all about making sure guests have an enjoyable and comfortable stay. In community management, it's about making sure community members are happy and engaged. In both cases, the goal is to create a positive experience for the customer.
Creating a Sense of Community: Another important aspect of both community management and the hospitality industry is creating a sense of community. In the hospitality industry, this means creating a space that feels welcoming and comfortable for guests. In community management, it means building relationships with community members and fostering a sense of belonging.
Meeting the Needs of Others: Both community management and the hospitality industry involve meeting the needs of others. In the hospitality industry, this means providing guests with everything they need to have a comfortable stay, from clean sheets to room service. In community management, it means addressing the concerns of community members and working to create a space that meets their needs.
Attention to Detail: In both community management and the hospitality industry, attention to detail is crucial. In the hospitality industry, it means making sure rooms are clean and well-maintained, and that guests have everything they need. In community management, it means paying attention to the little things that can make a big difference, like responding promptly to inquiries and addressing concerns.
Building Relationships: Finally, both community management and the hospitality industry involve building relationships with people. In the hospitality industry, this means creating a personal connection with guests and making them feel welcome. In community management, it means building relationships with community members and working to create a sense of belonging.
In conclusion, community management and the hospitality industry share many similarities. Both involve providing a high level of service to people and creating an environment that is welcoming and accommodating. By recognizing these similarities, community managers can learn from the hospitality industry and apply some of their best practices to their own work.
Great book suggestions, Jenny! I am always looking for unique touches to make communities more special and personal.