|March 2004 - “It’s my observation, that owners and operators who do
well on the Signature training program usually do well at a lot of other
things,” says Signature's chairman, Don Farrell. Don was so interested
in his observation that he hit the road to uncover how top industry performers
such as Linchris, Northwest Management Company and The Hotel Group become
top Signature performers. His interest wasn’t limited to how
these companies rose to the top but how they’ve been able to maintain and
sustain their legendary performance levels. These organizations not
only provide excellent service to current and potential guests, but they
bring in more revenue, provide a more productive work environment,
have a low employee turn-over rate and most importantly, have fun managing
successful hotel operations.
One of Don’s first interview was with Linchris, a hotel ownership and management company, which has utilized Signature’s expertise for 5 years at 20 locations. Signature provides visits to each of the Linchris hotels 4-times a year, and each hotel is phone-shopped 10-times a month where their skills are graded using Signature’s new web-based reporting system -- Statability®. This reporting system provides on-line scores and audio access to actual calls so that the employee being shopped, as well as management, can replay the call for teaching and learning purposes. Linchris employees also take advantage of unlimited phone coaching to help train new employees and improve skills within the veteran workforce, as well as tracking and incentive vehicles.
What Don challenged Linchris executives to explain, is how they consistently, month in and month out, perform at a level that is 15% greater than Signature's entire portfolio of hospitality clients. Not only do they achieve a better monthly average, but each Linchris hotel is scored on 10-skills, while most other Signature-trained hotels are scored on an average of 7-skills. And if that is not a success story in itself, Don was intrigued on how Linchris is able to achieve these numbers without dedicated reservation agents, while most of their hotels employ only 2-front desk personnel during the day and 1 at night.
What Linchris shared and what they employ is not revolutionary in concept,
but it is indeed unique in practice. Linchris values 2 main concepts
throughout their daily, weekly and monthly applications of delivering greater
skills because of their Signature training; Firstly, Signature is an integral
part of the Linchris culture and, secondly, Linchris makes it simple for
their employees to know what success is and strives to be more professional
than the competition.
It was during one of these quarterly meetings where one of their new guest service managers stood up and asked, “What is all this Signature stuff about?” The crowd fell silent, Chris Gistis, chairman of Linchris, stands up and in a ten minute memorable speech, asked the crowd how a guest service manager could be employed within Linchris and not know about Signature. Chris made it a point to stop into that hotel on his way home to make sure the general manager and the new guest service manager were clear and did not take personal offense from Chris’ direct response during the meeting.
Linchris also has a policy of rewarding corporate personnel and general managers with 3 month paid Sabbatical after 5 yrs of employment with their company...it seems to have had a terrific impact at reducing turn-over.
The culture comments did not surprise Don, but he was surprised to hear about their focus on something else and that was their simple approach towards sounding more professional than their competition. They listen to their Signature shopping calls which also include two shopping calls to nearby competitors. Linchris evaluates how they sound compared to their competition. Simple fact in their minds....sound better, present your hotel’s value better and you will sell better than your competition. It is that simple. Signature knows how many times each hotel client dials in to hear their shop calls and without a doubt Linchris’ managed hotels are at the top of the list in the listening-in department.
So in summation, Don's feeling is that there are 46,000 hotels in America and several thousand hotel operators out there who claim to have what it takes to manage a hotel...to make it excel...to maximize revenue. Signature has worked with well over 7000 hotels representing the majority of the brands out there and without a doubt Linchris is a major player when it comes to walking their talk. Don Farrell wrote in his notes, “Here is a small to medium sized management company who beats their competition every day because they view success happening locally.....not just through their brands marketing programs. They tune their people into what's important and they use programs like Signature to motivate them to be their very best. Kudos to Chris Gistis and his company.....if I owned a hotel, they would be one of the first companies I'd call to manage it for me."
Stayed tuned in to read the outcome of Don Farrell’s future interviews with other successful management companies; companies to be announced as schedules are confirmed.
About Signature, Inc.
5115 Parkcenter Avenue
Dublin, Ohio 43017
Phone (614) 766-5101
Fax (614) 766-9419