I was going to write about the importance of the guest experience, and about turning your guests into your sales team by creating a stellar and memorable experience. However, as 2021 begins with a bit of unknown – I want to address a challenge that is facing all of us. This is not inherent to just the hospitality industry, but something that seems to be affecting everyone.
A New Year has begun with perhaps more anticipation of better things to come than in years past. We want to be optimistic about 2021! However, it is still time of reflection on how 2020 has shaped 2021. At the beginning of 2020 you may have been filled with excitement and hope, and energy to start the New Year – unaware of the impending crisis that would rock our world.
2020 has depleted many of us in unexpected ways, and that bright smile you always were able to offer each and every guest, now feels different. Business losses and staff layoffs meant long hours multi-tasking in several departments, and you found yourself working under a completely new job description. “It’s not my job” is not part of our vocabulary in the hospitality business. Teamwork is the epitome of hospitality, but occasionally, *SIGH* it hits you! That bone weary exhaustion makes you question your ability to be hospitable! And, THAT’S OK. I doubt there is a person out there, in any industry, that hasn’t experienced some type of fatigue brought on by COVID- altered reality. Even at our optimistic best, and with some indicators pointing to a better year, 2020 was tough!
To begin with, I really like the description: “Crisis Fatigue is like lifting too much weight”. It goes on to describe the weightlifting experience; you can lift a certain amount weights easily, but when you start increasing your repetitions, it becomes more difficult to lift, to the point of muscle fatigue and you cannot lift a feather. Crisis Fatigue is the mental health equivalent.
It concludes with the powerful idea to “Let yourself grieve”. And I would almost suggest starting there, as for many, I feel letting go will allow you start anew and therefore allow you to focus on ways to better your mental health and move forward (as further outlined in the article). This COVID crisis has created loss, and profound change on many levels. “Avoiding grief means avoiding acceptance”. That, in itself, can cause Crisis Fatigue.
I want you to be able to engage with each guest and colleague with energy that drives us all in the hospitality industry. There are tips here that may seem obvious (exercise, sleep, eat well) but in essence, be kind to yourself and others. Be grateful. Accept today’s environment is today’s environment – not yesterday’s, nor tomorrow’s. Practice grace. With a mindset shift, perhaps your smile and sincerity, will be reflected by your employees and your guests. Thus creating a warm, inviting, and welcoming environment for everyone.