First Impressions – Why do they matter?

Why do first impressions matter?
From new BLLA member, Luxe Bloom

One only gets one chance to make a first impression. Some say people judge another person within the first 60 seconds of a meeting leaving an indelible mark. Now leading researchers from Princeton University reveal it only takes a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger. The scientific study was performed on the various faces of people. What if the same applies for the first impression of your guest arrival? Are you ready to make a good impression within one tenth of a second?

Luxe Bloom
Luxe Bloom

All great guest experiences begin with a great first impression. First impressions matter, especially for luxury business where the customer expectations are high. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, hotels are emphasizing on “dazzling guests during the first, crucial 15 minutes of their stay—or at least avoid annoying them.” Besides providing exceptional customer service, it is extremely important that hotels start impressing their guests from the moment they walk into the lobby and glance over the front desk. A positive first impression constitutes of several small details. The first one, of course, is cleanliness and along with cleanliness, scent is a factor that adds to the concept of a neat space. The next thing a guest will look for is good lighting, appropriate lighting will also add to that first impression the guest experiences.

First impressions shouldn’t be exclusive to hotels, creating a good first impression for a person, product, or place sets the bar for any relationship. Fine hotels have different techniques they use to create that great first impression. For instance – when welcoming their guests, luxury hotels follow the 10/4 rule for greeting. This means making eye contact and smile at 10 feet and verbally greet at 4 feet, this will assure them that you see them and they’ll be taken care of shortly. Another thing that will provide guest with a good first impression is to make all your offerings visible. When the guest can see all the available offerings (valet, restaurant, bar, fitness center) on their way to their room, they’ll have a good idea of the excellence in service your hotel provides. According to Barbara Armstrong, contributing writer at Forbes, “It’s been said that the first impression is the last impression. She goes on to say, “If you lose them at the beginning, it is very hard to recover.” In their mind they have already decided it is a bad hotel.

One guiding principle for hoteliers is the Forbes star rating system. Luxury operators all revere the star rating system; especially knowing it comes from a trusted sources and leader such-  Forbes Travel Guide. Due to their transparent rating system, guests and operators alike all understand what it means to operate and stay in a five star hotel. They offer a different experience because it is a better experience. In a five star hotel a guest can tell immediately if the hotel cares about every detail at every turn. Forbes recently announced the winners and it is no surprise which hotels prevail to lead the list. The Lodge at Sea Island earns the top distinction of 2014’s Best Hotel in the USA. The Lodge has been recognized as a Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond property for several years, the hotel skyrocketed to the top after gaining further recognition among experts and guests alike. Guests laud just about everything at the hotel — from the seven restaurants to the three 18-hole championship golf courses to the 65,000-square-foot spa. Guest rooms are appointed with every detail. Their waterfront views, wood furnishings, spacious patios and large bathrooms with rainfall showerheads and deep soaking tubs all add up to an over the top experience for guests.

Much goes into Forbes’ Five-Star rating system. Forbes Travel Guide assigns a team of professional incognito inspectors who traverse the country in search of the best hotels. They have been doing so since 1958!  The coveted Five-Star award is still highly regarded more than half a century later. They plan to continue inspecting the globe to uncover the world’s best hotels, restaurants and spas. Earning a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star rating is a pinnacle achievement; it means that a property aced up to 800 service and facility standards. Hotels of this caliber must provide a memorable stay through flawless service and the finest of amenities. The staff must be engaging and passionate.

Quality experiences define the perceived value of a visit. Tools exist to help operators put the right experience in front of the guest with Forbes Travel Guide and the rating system. Budgets might be tight but assigning dollars to making a great first impression can go a long way toward a positive guest stay.  Dedicate resources to making a great first impression and your guests will keep coming back!

About the Author

Shelley Rosen, is Founder and CEO of Luxe Bloom, a Chicago based firm. Luxe Bloom delivers a transformative innovation in the floral industry by offering natural, long-lasting rose arrangements to luxury business operators on a monthly recurring basis. Luxe Bloom roses do not require water or refrigeration to keep their supple beauty and last up to 60 days. In partnership with Pro Ecuador, we procure the finest roses in the world.  With over 30 colors and a myriad of designs, we serve the most discriminating luxury businesses. Kindly visit us at to find out how we can save time and money.


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