Greetings are important in forming first impressions. First impressions last a life time, or at least until the guests check out, so it is important to make a good first impression. There are numerous expressions that can be used when first greeting people. Some are very formal and appropriate for greeting guests and some are more informal and should only be used with friends or co-workers. Obviously, employees of the hotel industry should use the more formal expressions, however the less formal expressions will also be presented to give learners a well balanced repertoire to choose from.
Good morning (sir/ma’am)
Good afternoon (sir/ma’am). Welcome to (name of hotel/shop, etc)
Good evening (sir/ma’am)
How are you this morning (afternoon, evening, today)?
Less Formal Expressions
How’s it going?
Of course, after the greeting, the dialogue must be continued, and what is said then depends on the situation. When interacting with hotel guests that continued interaction usually involves determining what the guest wants or needs. A couple of standard expressions that can be used in the hotel industry are:
How can I help you today Ma’am (sir)?
Can I be of assistance?
How may I assist you?
May I assist you with anything?
What can I do for you today?
Staff: Good morning Ma’am. Welcome to the (…Spa)
Guest: Thank you.
Staff: How can I help you today?
Guest: I’m here for a (….massage).
In normal social situations, to continue an interaction after a greeting, it is customary for people to introduce each other by giving their names (assuming of course they are meeting for the first time).
But remember, that not all hotel employees would normally exchange names with a guest. For example, a bell man would not usually tell a guest his name, but a waitress in a restaurant may, as part of the standard restaurant greeting (such as “Welcome to the Beef House. My name is Rebecca and I’ll be your waitress tonight”). Guest service representatives who interact with VIP guests may be more inclined to make a formal introduction as part of the extended service provided VIP’s.
Dialogue- Introducing yourself
Staff: Hello, I’m Ms. Jabdee.
Guest: Hello, Ms. Jandee, I’m Susan Appleton.
Guest: My name is John Grey.
Staff: Nice to meet you Mr. Grey, I’m Mrs. Sukjoy.
Guest: I’m George Franks. What’s your name?
Staff: My name is Sopida, Sopida Hakam. It’s a pleasure to meet you Mr. Franks.
Guest: Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Frank Jeffers.
Staff: I delighted to meet you Mr. Jeffers. My name is Pornpan Orasa.
This last example is a very formal introduction and would not be used unless meeting a very, very important person in a very formal situation (such as a ball in the government mansion while meeting the governor).
On occasion, you may find yourself in a situation where you have to introduce one person to another. Look at these possible expressions that are used for this.
Dialogue- Introducing Others
Peter: Sam Kellogg, I would like to introduce Miss Helen Cranston.
Sam: Hello Miss Cranston, nice to meet you.
Helen: Nice to meet you too Mr. Kellogg.
Bob: Min Ju, this is my friend Betty Watson.
Min Ju: Hi Ms. Watson, a pleasure to meet you.
Betty: Same here.
Alice: Harry, let me introduce my supervisor, Mr. Lee.
Harry: Mr. Lee, it’s good to meet you.
Mr. Lee: Good to meet you too. But please, call me Sammy.
Point to remember
Many beginning learners use the expression “Nice to meet you”, even when they interact with a person they have been introduced to before. This expression (Nice to meet you) is only used at a first meeting, not after that. Instead the person could say “Nice to see you again”.
After the introductions it is only natural to continue the conversation in some way. Many people inquire about your well being, especially with friends, acquaintances, and co-workers. Several expressions can be used for this, and the responses to these inquiries depend on how you actually feel. Look at these examples:
Expressions for Well Being
How are you? Great.
How’s it going? Couldn’t be better.
How has your day been? Fantastic.
How have you been? Could be worse.
How’s the family? Fair to middling.
Did you have a good day? I can’t complain.
How do you feel? Not too good.
How was your day? I’ve had better days.
Have you had a good day? No, it was lousy.
After greeting, introductions, and polite conversation people will go their separate ways. There are numerous expressions that can be used when giving farewells. Some are more formal than others. Obviously the more formal expressions are more appropriate when interacting with guests. Look at the examples below.
Expressions for Farewells
More Formal expressions
Thank you for coming. Have a pleasant day.
Goodbye, please come again.
Goodbye, I hope to see you again.
Less Formal Goodbyes
See you later (soon) So long
Good bye Bye
I have to run I have to be going now
Catch you later Later
See you again Please come again
The informal expressions above can be used among friends and co-workers, but would be too informal to use with guests.
Point to remember
Bye-Bye is an expression that very young children use when they are first beginning to talk, or on rare occasions by women, but almost never by adult males.
Practice Conversation Activities- Greetings, Introductions and farewells
1. Paired Conversation- Greetings
Practice using the above expressions by having a conversation with other people in your class. Walk around the round and greet someone, introduce yourself, ask about their well being and say good bye. Talk to as many people as you can.