Team Building Resources

Gold Rush Escape Room at The Escape Game

The 5 Cs of Hospitality

Jul 3, 2019

The 5 Cs of Hospitality

Care, Customize, Courtesy, Cleanliness, And Communication

At The Escape Game, when we say we love our guests, we mean it. In fact, we are guest-obsessed.

We show our love for guests by delivering epic service and hospitality. Your company can show love for your guests by following The 5 Cs of Hospitality that we at The Escape Game practice every day. We have had over 1.7 million guests and have over 25,000 five-star TripAdvisor reviews, and every day we think about the 5 Cs. Keep reading to find out what drives our guest-first culture.

Whether you are a local restaurant or national brand, your company exists because of your guests. If you decide not to treat guests as headaches or logistical challenges, they can become your secret weapon. If you can train your staff to deliver epic service, then everyone wins. Guests get value for their time and money and your company continues to grow.

For too long, companies have focused on delivering one-dimensional service. A store that is always well-stocked or has a fast drive-through is providing a one-dimensional service, but it could benefit from putting effort into hospitality. The famous restauranteur Danny Meyer says, “Service is the technical delivery of a product. Hospitality is how the delivery of that product makes its recipient feel” – [Setting the Table, Danny Meyer]. One-dimensional service can get a store off the ground, but hospitality and the way your brand makes your guests feel is the game changer that can help your company rise to the top. Follow these tried-and-true methods for instilling a culture of hospitality into your front line, guest-facing team.


It starts with caring; it’s as simple and as complicated as that. If you care about your guests, your brand, and your product or service, creating a top-notch guest experience comes naturally. You’ll care about how guests feel, that their in-store experience goes perfectly, and everything in between.

Some keys to this great experience are to be hospitable, be emotional, and always be on the side of the guests. Make sure also to have exceptional technical knowledge of your product or service to best serve your guests and to answer any questions they might have. If we don’t care about our guests or customers then we really don’t deserve to keep them, and they will probably not care to return.


Everyone who visits your store has something unique they are trying to accomplish. Each guest has an expectation, and if we care about their experience and how they feel in our store, then we should start to tailor the experience specifically for them. Customization doesn’t have to mean throwing your business into constant chaos; it means being a good listener and understanding that everyone is different and wants to engage with your brand in a slightly different way.

At The Escape Game, we understand that what each guest wants is as unique as they are. In order to customize the experience, we have to start by discovering. What does this guest really want? We are constantly watching out for nonverbal clues, tone, and facial expressions.

Nonverbal clues, tone, and facial expressions are ways that guests can tell you what they are thinking and what they want. Maybe you have a guest who wants to talk about the weather, while another is clearly in a hurry. We’ve all been in situations where retail staff clearly didn’t read our intentions and it damaged the overall experience. If you are alert and engaged, you can determine what a guest wants. Once you know what they want, you can more appropriately serve their needs.

After caring and genuinely listening, the final step is about going above and beyond. It’s the cherry on top. It’s the time to create a loyal lifelong guest. We’ve all had cherry-on-top moments and walked away saying, “Wow, that company knows what it’s doing,” or perhaps, “They’ve got my business from now on.” If you fail at the first two steps of customizing, then you will rarely have the opportunity to go above and beyond. Going above and beyond requires knowing something special about the guest, and you can only know that if you have cared enough to listen and understand what their goals are for the experience.


Put what your parents taught you to good use! Everyone loves manners. Surprisingly, there is a lack of common courtesy in most service-oriented businesses. Differentiate yourselves by being remarkably polite. Use these six tips to train your team members to be courteous.

GENUINE SMILE: A genuine smile as soon as someone walks through the door immediately makes them
feel comfortable.

10/4 RULE: When you’re within 10 feet of someone, smile. When you’re within 4 feet, verbally greet him or her.

POWER OF A NAME: Always greet guests by their names.

OPEN BODY LANGUAGE: If you are behind a desk or some other obstacle, physically changing locations and coming out from behind the desk and facing the guest can show open body language. Your body language tells guests how you feel about them being in your space. Are you going to welcome them or tell them they don’t matter?

KIND EYES: Have kind, understanding eyes when talking to people.

THE GUEST IN FRONT OF YOU IS YOUR HIGHEST PRIORITY: But you can also let other guests know they’ve been seen. You can nod, make a gesture and brief eye contact and pleasantly say, “I’ll be right with you! Make yourself comfortable.”


Research shows that people consciously or subconsciously immediately evaluate the safety, professionalism, and quality of a business based solely on its cleanliness.

It’s up to you to make sure guests’ first impressions are outstanding. Trust us, you’ll feel a deep sense of pride when reviewers mention a “sparkling clean lobby.”

“People can feel perfection.” – Walt Disney –

Your credibility immediately increases if you have a clean facility. Spend downtime washing the windows, picking up trash inside and outside, tidying the area, wiping down hard surfaces, etc.


Greet, engage, introduce, thank, and say goodbye to your guests. Research shows that people’s primary take away from experiences tends to revolve around how they started and how they ended. How you start and end with our guests is critical. Always thank guests because without them your job and your company wouldn’t exist. There is nothing wrong with showing genuine appreciation. Your words matter, and what you say and how you say it will mean more to the guest you interact with than almost any other element of their experience with your company. The frontline employees (receptionists, cashiers, tour guides, waiters) are the primary conduit through which your company “talks” to your guests. Make sure they are talking well.

The 5 Cs are simple, but couldn’t be more powerful. They are designed to make people feel welcome and at home, and to make people feel like they matter and you care. These concepts have the power to propel your team to new levels of epic guest experiences.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Carl W. Buechner

Recommended Next Reading:

How to Recover from A Service Failure

Recommended Book

Power of Moments