First of all, what is a host?
Some definitions of the word ‘Host’:
1. One who receives or entertains guests in a social or official capacity.
2. A person who manages an inn or hotel.
3. One that furnishes facilities and resources for a function or event: the city chosen as host for the Olympic Games.
4. The emcee or interviewer on a radio or television program.
5. Biology The animal or plant on which or in which another organism lives.
6. Medicine The recipient of a transplanted tissue or organ.
7. Computer Science A computer containing data or programs that another computer can access by means of a network or modem.
tr.v. host·ed, host·ing, hosts Usage Problem
To serve as host to or at: “the garden party he had hosted last spring” (Saturday Review).
[Middle English, host, guest, from Old French, from Latin hospes, hospit-; see ghos-ti- in Indo-European roots.]
I think for the purposes here, I will use number 1 and 2. The dictionary has some very basic definitions and if we were to agree and just stick with that, well, that wouldn’t really be much fun now.
There have been some interesting discussions lately as to what the role of the host or organiser of a Milonga should be. I would like to put my own opinion down here as to what I think the role of a host should be and not limiting it to a Milonga as I dance several different dance forms and have been to many different dance venues.
People who organise or host dance events are usually very passionate about what they do. It takes a lot of time and commitment to organise an event week in and week out. It is hard work as there are many things to take into consideration before even one customer steps through the door. Here are a few things that I know about that they need to organise: there is the music and sound system, lighting, seating, refreshments, finding the venue, setting up and clearing up, finding helpers. I am sure there is more, but I can’t think of what they are right now. Someone might want to clarify things a bit more here.
The first person that you see when you enter a dance hall is usually the person that takes your money. Sometimes it may be the host or organiser, but in most cases it isn’t. In an ideal world that person should greet you with a smile, and if they don’t recognise you or never met you previously they could ask you if you have been there before and maybe make some reassuring noises about having a nice evening. They should give you some basic information about what is on offer or where to get things and point out the loos. The front of house is the representative of your business and affects your image.
I can honestly say that in all of my years of dancing, I have only been disappointed by the reception at one venue. No one likes to give money to a person who doesn’t acknowledge you and just takes your money without a smile and seems genuinely grumpy. That person didn’t last very long as there were quite a few complaints. Sometimes the host/organiser can’t always see what is going on, so if a customer is not happy with the service, they should quietly complain to the person in charge. I suppose that it is easier to do if you are a regular somewhere, and a visitor would be less inclined to do so, which is why it is important to choose your front person wisely.
Once your customer is in the door, I think it is important to walk the room and say hello to people. This can sometimes be difficult if the host is also the DJ. It is a good idea to have a few good helpers to hand if you are busy with other things. Even if the host is the DJ, there is no reason why a couple of tandas shouldn’t be set up in order to make a little effort to walk the room and say hello to people.
There is nothing like the personal touch for making people feel welcome, and I think that is the basis for a successful event and what I think the role of the host is. Nothing else.
To sum things up, the host/organiser provides a venue whereby likeminded people can get together. The host/organiser should make people feel welcome enough to keep coming back. There are other factors involved in having a successful event and being a successful host, but this is my opinion on what the basic role of the host should be. Anything more is up to them and is most likely another topic.
The next topic is the role of the customer.