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The Art of Great Hospitality By Hinesh Parmer

As one of the leading temporary staffing agencies supplying event staff to some of the UK’s biggest and best venues, Arc has one of the most impressive pools of team members in the hospitality industry. We asked one of our fantastic London Team Members to write a piece on what hospitality meant to them…

Service by default is the norm for most as we’re a culture of results, we live in a world where we care about what works and what makes money, we care about the process over people and as a result, guests often feel processed instead of feeling welcome and desired. Service without hospitality is simply a transaction and when we become transactional at an event or in life we cannot sustain success. The key is putting hospitality ahead of service because when hospitality is provided a lot of the positive outcomes occur naturally.

The difference between other agencies and Arc is that at Arc, the importance is hospitality over service. At every event I attend, I go above and beyond to ensure guests have a memorable experience by putting guests first. My experience has shown service is acts, tasks and procedures for consistency.  However, service is a commodity (we expect an Uber to arrive in less than 2 minutes or food delivered within 10 minutes), what makes a difference is hospitality and hospitality is the positive emotional response from the guests while service is being delivered. Most agencies will provide a service and meet the needs of guests.

I always try to anticipate the needs and wants of the guests, I’m always welcoming, openhearted, confident and generous. Most people forget good service but will always remember hospitality. I will use the smallest of moments to make an event a success. I always greet guests by name, remember the drinks they like and where possible birthdays.

On one occasion a family attended an event and I was waiting at their table. In the opening conversation, they briefly mentioned that they were out celebrating their mother’s 90th birthday who had impaired vision but wanted to be out with the family.

I took it upon myself to Google “Happy Birthday” in braille and got the pastry chef to decorate the dessert plate with the message. The family were totally touched by the gesture and stated that I had turned a good day out into a memorable one.

My story isn’t very original in the sense that I started hospitality by chance, I was looking for some extra casual work in between my writings and it was brought to my attention that Arc was looking for ambitious individuals that would serve with purpose.

My first thoughts were that I know very little about hospitality, but the wonderful team at Arc ~ Lisa Grozier and Beth Gwynne said that’s fine, we’ll guide you every step of the way! I’ve enjoyed hospitality so much that I decided to grow and improve with Arc and the rest is a question of opportunities from each event to another.

What I like is no one event is the same, everything that I anticipate doesn’t happen and anything that I don’t anticipate will happen! But I learn, evolve and improve with each event, most importantly it’s an adventure and that’s the aspect that I like the most. Arc works hard at retaining, hiring, training and developing a team with a strong bond; that is something quite unique that the entire team is aligned with the same goal and it’s a wonderful feeling that I enjoy being part of.

Pride, passion, and working hard are the strong values of Arc and the most important part is to have fun and enjoy what you’re doing. When the team is enthusiastic the guests can feel it.

If there’s one common thread, it’s pride by all parties – the client, Arc, and the team put together for an event, with that I try to make every event memorable for guests.

Some of my fondest events and most positive feedback have been Goodwood, Hampton Court, Chelsea Flower Show, Excel, Tottenham and Chelsea. It’s always nice when guests recall the name of members providing super service and when you get such feedback, it means you’ve succeeded in the service provided as it creates a bond.

To me, making each event memorable for guests is the key. If the last few years have taught us anything, it is that society needs people with purpose and at Arc Hospitality we all serve with purpose.