The future of guest services with Bianca Angelico

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Chief DayMaker and Director, Bianca Angelico, shares her thoughts and opinions on the future of guest services.

As more businesses offer hybrid working practices to their employees, they are facing the further challenge of encouraging them to go back to the office, and therefore making it a desirable prospect. What do you think the solution is?

For me it is definitely the provision of guest services. As we fully return to the world of in-person interactions, expectations around the quality of guest services in the corporate sector have increased. Since the world has found comfort in staying at home, there needs to be a greater incentive to return to the workplace. This can, and has started to, take shape in the form of increased care when looking after guests in certain contexts, ensuring their optimum total comfort. The future of corporate guest services is a growing industry and keeping up with it will require more extensive recruitment, which creates more job opportunities for people of all backgrounds.

With the hospitality industry at large facing some of the biggest recruitment challenges of current times, how do you think guest services is going to break through and continue finding great talent.

At On Verve, we are aiming to be forward thinkers when it comes to social value in our business, which definitely reflects in how we handle our recruitment. This all started at the implementation stage of On Verve last year; I knew it was a principle I wanted throughout the business. We looked at how we can support the happiness and wellbeing of our employees as well as prioritising diversity and inclusion in the workforce. To access this next level of workforce we needed to hire based not just on the level of experience, but on who the candidate is as a person.

What kind of talent are you looking for to help achieve this?

Traditionally, corporate guest services has been compared to a 5-star hotel experience. Now, we are prioritising qualities that our clients value, such as personable, approachable, and kind people. In the last year, we have employed people without prior experience in the corporate environment and those who were not familiar with the expected protocol for such settings. However, by introducing our clients to employees who don’t have the “ideal” CV, but rather those that we think would be the perfect fit for their culture, we have seen great results.

For example, Ingrid joined the On Verve team in 2021. She is friendly, has great energy and a willingness to learn. She was also 57 and had very limited computer skills, something that is usually a baseline requirement for an individual going for a front-of-house role. It was Ingrid’s personality and enthusiasm for helping people that made her the best fit. Since then, Ingrid has been given all the relevant training to be able to use the computer effectively and she has settled into her role with ease.

Do you think this is where the future of guest services is heading?

Absolutely. We believe in finding DayMakers like Ingrid who have an innate desire to help others; skills can be taught, but who you are can’t be. What our clients want from a guest service provider has changed, hence the title ‘DayMaker’, as we aim to make people’s day through our services. The days of the traditional, stiff front desk person are gone, and more clients are looking for relaxed, personable people. This is a truly exciting time for the sector.

We’re also seeing a greater emphasis on servicing the employees of an organisation as well as the visitors at a building. I think throughout 2023, this will continue to dominate the conversation around the future of guest services.