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  • Writer's pictureAdele Gutman Milne, CHBA, CHDM

Hospitality From Within Author Sarah Dandashy chats with Adele about Inspiring Five Star Reviews

Sarah Dandashy is the hospitality industry’s Golden Girl, so smart, so funny, exceptionally hard-working, elegant, relentlessly kind and helpful, and full of love for our industry. It is no wonder that her new book is titled, Hospitality From Within, and is filled with heartfelt and unpretentious wit and wisdom that our industry really needs to hear right now.

I had the great honor of interviewing Sarah as one of my earliest guests in January of 2021 for last year’s season of the show, which was formerly called Hospitality Reputation Marketing, the podcast. Sarah recently released Hospitality from Within in early 2022. Needless to say, I loved it, so I thought it would be the perfect time to repost our discussion for everyone who missed it.

Here are a few highlights from our conversation:

The Importance of Purpose: Creating a mission, vision, and guiding principles to inspire our teams creates alignment. Ensuring your staff has the tools, training, inspiration, and empowerment they need to be successful creates positive energy and engagement guests and staff will appreciate.

Never Stop Nurturing! Setting the stage is important but Sarah recommends that to keep the inspiration fresh in everyone's hearts and minds every day, continuing to support and nurture your associates every day is essential as they strive for excellence in guest experience.

It's not about the Grand Gesture: Sarah is a great believer in “The Art of the Follow up”. Once you have provided the service, whether it is recommending transportation, arranging a restaurant reservation, or sending a maintenance person to the room, it is the art of the follow up that shows you care, expresses true hospitality from within, and creates a relationship with the customer that is likely to result in repeat visits, recommendations, and positive reviews. When you see that guest again, ask them how was that experience? How did you enjoy the meal? Was everything fixed to your liking?

You don't need all the answers right away: It's great if you already know, but if you don't have the answer to a guest or associates question right away, you can still give five-star helpfulness by saying you don't know, but you would be happy to find out and get back to them. That extra touch will make you a superstar to your guests as well as to your "internal customers", your associates.

Hospitality Truly Starts from Within: Sarah says that it is less about the fancy language you use, but more about how you expressed your kind intentions and made the guest feel important and cared for during your brief encounter. A stay that is filled with magic moments from each employee who has given a little bit extra from the heart to lift a guest's spirits will add up to an amazing, exceptional stay.

We all could use a little more Empathy: Put yourself in the shoes of the customer, and imagine all they went through to be in your hotel…dreaming, saving, planning, and then they chose your hotel above all others. Even though they might have asked a small question you hear repeatedly, take a moment in that interaction to focus on making them feel very important to you. To brush off the answer quickly, even though you may be giving them the correct information, you may miss an important opportunity to create a loyal guest for life.

What would you do if someone left you a 3-Star hotel, what would you do as an owner to inspire 5-star reviews? Sarah would ensure that everyone knows that their voice and their contributions matter. Sarah says she would arrange for the employees to be treated to experiences that will help them understand what it feels like to experience what is available in the hotel, so they are better able to relate to what the hotel teams can give as experiences to our guests.

Thank you so much in advance for subscribing to the podcast, newsletter, and blog.

I invite you as well to subscribe to Get Great Guest Reviews on YouTube.

New Videos Coming Soon!

I will definitely re-edit this video in the near future, but in the meantime, for those who prefer to see lovely Sarah speak, here is our YouTube conversation from January 2021 while Sarah was still working on the book.

Connect with Adele Gutman on LinkedIn or on Twitter.

Watch the video of Sarah and Adele on YouTube

Buy Hospitality From Within on Amazon or directly from Sarah.

If your hospitality business could benefit from more five-star reviews (and honestly, couldn't we all?), please contact us at, and let's see how we can put you on a reputation optimization plan to meet your needs and support your goals.

Access Adele's Speakers Sheet Here:


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