Luxury gestures – do actions speak louder than words?

serverLuxury service doesn’t always mean expensive or posh; sometimes luxury service can be found in less grandiose surroundings. On a recent business trip to London, I was pleasantly surprised by the service I received in a small restaurant serving Venetian fare. The eatery was a bàcaro—a Venetian word used to describe a humble restaurant serving simple food and good, young local wines. If you’re familiar with Spanish tapas, then you have the idea.

Given the informal nature of the food and locale, I wasn’t expecting anything remarkable in the way of service. My waitress began by leaning over the table conspiratorially to explain the menu, thus creating a fun,  personal experience. I noticed later as she poured my water, that she leaned forward at the waist while holding her left arm behind her back—a simple, elegant, yet quite formal gesture. As the evening progressed, she gracefully combined courtly gestures with unassuming Gemütlichkeit.

At the end of my dinner I told her how impressed I was with her ability to create a unique atmosphere of informal elegance. I asked her what training she’d received. She chuckled  and said when the owners trained her, they had stressed their vision for the restaurant—”informal elegance”—the same phrase I had used. How extraordinary that the owners were able to translate this singular vision not only into the restaurant’s atmosphere and décor, but into the singular gestures of their waitstaff.

I’ve previously written about the need to align your luxury vocabulary to your brand’s promise (see Choice Words: How to Speak to the Luxury Customer). Now it’s time to think about how to translate your brand’s message into  gestures and expressions. What unique movements differentiate your service?  For inspiration, take a minute to look at how JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts partnered with The Joffrey Ballet to train employees in basic ballet movements in order to improve their poise.

Remember, sometimes actions do speak louder than words.


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