The luxury hospitality world has long aspired to read the minds of hotel guests. But now, with a little help from a body language expert, one boutique hotel group might not be far off.
"If they're a tired traveler or have a smile across their face, our associates are able to read their needs and make their stay more exceptional," says Affinia's Chief Comfort Officer, Chrissy Denihan, in a phone interview with the Huffington Post.
The training, which is led by body language expert Patti Wood, is part of Affinia's new Tender Loving Comfort (TLC) movement headed up by Denihan, which aims to help staff figure out customers needs by reading lips, posture and even tone of voice, notes the Chicago Tribune.
While Denihan says hospitality is an art that can't necessarily be taught, she does believe certain key training can help bring an authentic experience that travelers crave. "You can't teach people how to have a natural connection with guests, but tools to read the customer can certainly help," says Denihan.
The staff learned from Wood to look out for certain signs in guests and to adjust their tone of voice to the customer's same level. For instance, a guest touching their face could mean they're anxious and in need of a speedy check-in, but if they're exhausted, why not suggest the pillow menu, says the Chicago Tribune.
"What's neat is that they are trying to put a little more behavioral science behind what they do," said Cathy Enz, a professor at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration in a press statement.
While hotels making an investment in training staff to read body language is certainly innovative, it might also be worth exploring Roman Lefevre's book on international hand gestures.
Below is a slideshow translating the meaning of hand gestures in certain countries.