Signage--A Silent Communicator That Speaks Volumes

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Every time a guest walks through the lobby doors, they are experiencing your hotel for the first time. Of course, for the first-time guest, everything is new. Even guests who are “regulars,” can be surprised since your hotel, staff, resources, equipment, menus and amenities change and their experience changes with it.

With fewer employees spread thin around the property, the best second line of service is your hotel signage. It is a communication tool that provides silent yet vigilant information that can take the pressure off the front desk or the hotel operator by clearly answering guests’ questions before they have to ask. On the other hand, poor or no signage at critical points can cause confusion, waste time and cause needless concern for your guests.

Hotel collateral, such as binders in the guest rooms, door hangers and letters from the General Manager on arrival provide a wealth of information. Outdated or incorrect information, on the other hand, can be a source of great frustration. Keeping up with the information in hard copy binders may be a thing of the past. How much better to have the hotel’s information binder available through the TV screen, like the automated checkout and billing? In this way, the information can be kept up-to-date and is easily available for anyone familiar with a TV remote.

One piece of information that is often lacking is a listing of the TV stations available and their corresponding numbers on the remote. Travelers rarely check into a hotel in their home city, so just about everyone who stays in the hotel has no clue which numbers to enter to find “CSI Miami” or CNN in a strange city. A little card with the numbers and corresponding stations can eliminate hundreds of calls. It helps make guests feel at ease by quickly connecting with something that makes them feel at home. It can quiet tired, fussy children who settle down with Sponge Bob, Thomas the Train or I Carley after a long drive, or enable a sports fan to quickly catch the end of that football game he didn’t want to miss.

A signage board at the front desk or in the lobby area listing events is a time saver with tens or hundreds of participants trying to find their meeting rooms. For years I traveled two to three weeks a month, delivering training seminars at hotels. Even though most hotels had some sort of information board posting meetings, my company provided me with paper signs with the name of the seminar and directional arrows printed on them to post from the lobby to the meeting room to help participants find their way. In large conference hotels, it is easy to get lost in the maze of winding corridors and poorly marked meeting rooms. Clear, concise signage available where guests need it most tells them they are important, their time is valuable, someone is thinking of them and is dedicated to meeting their needs.

Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, is a freelance writer, blogger, and consultant. Based in Savannah, GA, her work has appeared in "Training" magazine, "Training & Development" magazine, "Supervision," "Pulse" and "The Savannah Morning News." You can read her blogs at, and on the web at

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