As consumers travel for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, Virginia Tech travel and tourism expert Mahmood Khan says customers should be mindful of their interactions with hospitality workers during this stressful and busy time.

“Saying thank you to a waiter, a hostess or server goes a long way in appreciating their hard work,” says Khan. “Hospitality workers undergo a stressful time during holiday weekends and consumers should be considerate that they are working long hours yet working to present their best appearance.”

Khan offers the following travel tips for consumers:

  1. Do not forget to say thank you or pass on a positive comment.
  2. Convey your appreciation in writing on either a comment card, payment receipt or feedback form.
  3. Empathy deserves most consideration. Anything that a server goes out of the way to help deserves recognition.
  4. Reward the server with appropriate tips or gratuities. Consider all dimensions of service such as tangibility, responsiveness, knowledge and empathy.
  5. Do not shoot the messenger! Service providers on front-line often get the brunt of the anger or frustrations. This is particularly true in the case of air travel. The person, who is responding to a delayed or cancelled flight might have absolutely no control over the circumstances.
  6. Pack a lot of patience, particularly during holidays and long weekends. Recognize that it becomes very difficult for service providers to handle large groups.
  7. Plan ahead and make reservations. Give your preferences for food orders, table preferences, and hotel stays as much in advance and as clearly as possible.
  8. Be considerate of others when you have to share services. For example, do not use mobile phones or talk loudly on the phone while seated in a restaurant, lobby, or plane. Minor disturbances creates major problems during stressful times. 
  9. Be prepared for unexpected situations. Be careful and take care of all safety precautions especially for those travelling with small children.
  10. Care about the sustainability, environment, and unnecessary usage of food and utensils.

About Khan

Mahmood Khan is a professor and director of the Pamplin College of Business Master of Science in Business Administration/Hospitality and Tourism Management program in the National Capital Region. Major areas of his research include hospitality franchising, services management, customer relationships, food service and operational management, and consumer preferences in hotels, restaurants and institutions.


To secure an interview with Khan, please contact Shannon Andrea in the media relations office at [email protected] or 703-399-9494.