What is welcoming ?

Everyone agrees that welcome is fundamental in any business. And still, there is a lot of confusion about the definition and the essence. In this article, we will analyze some of the fundamental components of the welcome.

In the first place, it is necessary to remind that welcome is always about a human interaction. And it is fundamentally different from a service. For example, a vending machine provides a service but not a welcome, even if its interface is welcoming. Here are some other points to consider.

  1. Welcome is a dynamic process

If we look to the Etymology of the verb “to welcome”, “accueillir” in French, is formed from the verb “cueillir”, “pick” in English, and the original Latin prefix « ad », meaning « to, » “added”. There is an idea of action, intention and will in the welcome. Picking something is voluntary; it is an active action, there is a dynamic in gathering too.

Therefore, welcome is “moving towards someone” whereas usually we think at the contrary, with figures of hosts waiting for their guests in front of the door. We can also imagine the one who is welcoming motionless, behind a desk or a reception counter, and the one seeking to be welcomed going towards him.

  1. Welcome is not receiving someone

Here lies the difference between reception and welcome. When we are only receiving someone, we stand and wait for the one to come to us; we let him make the effort, sometimes until exhaustion (like queuing). On the other side, we stay protected in our territory where we know we are the master and the strongest. But as welcome is « going towards someone », it means it has to be a meeting of two dynamics on a neutral field where everyone shows himself as he is, vulnerable, without protection.

Thus, the one who welcomes accepts to get rid of the benefit to receive in his own territory, protected by its fortifications. The authentic encounter happens when we remove our protections. Because when we agree to get unarmed, we trust the newcomer and accept him as a brother, as someone who does not want to hurt us, like someone we can go to with bare hands. Authentic welcome needs confidence.


  1. Welcome is about compassion

The two movements, when an authentic welcome happens, tend to the union. The first characteristic is compassion. Whoever comes is helpless, the one who receives him get disarmed to be voluntarily his equal and prove his confidence. He uses empathy, listening. The second is action. After having accepted him as worthy to be welcomed, the host is full of

warm and attentive care by giving the guest refuge in the house, make him meet those already there, and consider him one of us. That’s why, compassion in action is the essence of the welcome.

In summary, these assets are fundamental to understand the issue:

– Welcome is not a service, because it implicates necessarily a human relationship.

– Welcome is not receiving because it implicates a mutual dynamic that we cannot find in the reception.

– Welcome needs the material and immaterial aspects to appear but it is unpredictable by essence, because it is a co-creation in the present moment.

– Welcome is based on empathy and listening. And it leads to the highest mission of a hotel: the hospitality experience, « let the guest feel at home », if there is mutual willingness to live this experience. And this experience is about compassion and love, freely given and receive

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