How To Remember Names When You Travel

First image...
(Illustration by Paul Thurlby)

Total Recall

You meet hundreds of people while traveling. How do you remember their names?

These tips work from younger...
... to older.

Originally appeared in September 2015 issue of Virtuoso Life

“People crave and appreciate recognition,” says Offer Nissenbaum, managing director of The Peninsula Beverly Hills. And his hotel delivers it, going to CIA-level lengths with staff briefings on the day’s arrivals and guest preferences, and photos of new guests posted in back-of-house areas.

How to improve name recollection at home and while traveling? Nissenbaum, who interacts with scores of new people every day, suggests focusing on an aspect of someone’s personality that reminds you of something else – a geographical or visual cue. “If someone is from Montréal, for instance, I can remember that I lived in Montréal, and this is Mr. Jones from Montréal. Or if someone looks like Tony Bennett, I use that connection to remember their name.”

And if you forget a name? “Be honest and transparent. There’s nothing wrong with saying, ‘I’m so sorry, please remind me of your name,’ ” Nissenbaum says. “We are all human.”

Franka Holtmann, GM of Le Meurice in Paris, adds: "Apart from guests we have been welcoming for years and we know very well – to the point that we're invited to their birthdays and weddings – we have helpful formal practices that help us recognize the guests. When I meet guests, I put so much energy in creating a relationship with them, then that’s up to them to share and develop it. I receive many positive feedback about the kindness and generosity of the team here in their exchanges, and that’s the best reward."

"Overall, the most important aspect is to remain sincere, genuine and passionate, while adding a warm, personal touch."

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