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Determining a Return on Investment for
Your Quality Assurance Program
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by John R. Hendrie, November 2005

During an address on Destination Development and price/value relationships, a distinguished gentleman asked whether there were figures to support an increase in Guest Traffic when an independent property invests in a Quality Assurance Program.  In my mind, QA has been costed out by many but never related to “heads in beds” or subjected to risk/reward analysis.  It is simply the right way to conduct business.  I had no numbers for him, in response.

Perhaps I should have related the history of Hotel Chain Operations, which utilize QA to establish their reputation, creating a known product, which represents a certain level of cleanliness, safety/security, comfort, service delivery and facility condition.  Quality is an integral commitment within their philosophy, operations and performance.  Whether you are a Marriott, a Best Western franchise or even a Motel 6, attention to Quality standards is evident.  These standards, measurement and reliable performance support the Brand, and the Consumer responds.  It follows that a lodging decision will be influenced with a known and expected experience.  The same could be said for the “formula” restaurants.  Consistency has value.  Most independents do not have this certitude, whereas the Flags do.

Perhaps I should have discussed US Manufacturing, where essentially you do not do business, unless you are certified under ISO International Quality Guidelines, designed to establish  global compliance, understood and recognized manufacturing processes and resultant quality products for the marketplace.  Much of this history began in the 1980’s with Quality Circles and Statistical Process Control (SPC), believing that we needed to improve the manufacturing process at all points, be innovative and empower the machine operator, who actually made the product.  This template should be an easy application to Hospitality, voluntarily, for we should not need International directives.  But, our product and service is uneven, especially for the independents.

Perhaps, I should have mentioned the State of Indiana, where legislators are considering some type of State requirements for Hospitality, beyond the Health Department regulations.  Perish that thought! But, are we inviting governing body interference?

The Independent operator simply has no credibility when they merely use the term Quality, because it has not been defined or certified for the Consumer.  There are many Rating Schemes and Companies out there, but most do not really help the operator in improving their business and delivery of product and service.  Mobil Travel is a Consumer Advocate.  AAA is essentially a marketing service and costly.  Michelin and Zagats use patron reviews of mostly selected cities and higher-end businesses.  But, the Consumer is attentive.  If the industry does not self-police and establish meaningful standards, someone else will fill that niche, in spite of your protestations. Hopefully, not the government.

Quality cannot be left to your whim!  To be candid, as a traveler, looking at two similar properties, one offering HBO and the other Quality Assured Rooms, most of us would select the hotel with HBO.  But, if that guest room were dirty, if the bathroom was an insult, or if the front desk clerk was surly, the HBO amenity is meaningless.  That is the bottom line.

Quality Assurance is your statement to the market that your product and services will meet the expectation of the Consumer.  To survive and flourish in a competitive marketplace, any edge, innovation or statement of beliefs will be scrutinized, embraced or dismissed.  Quality Assurance provides the norm, which is indisputable.

So, my answer to the distinguished gentleman should have been more thoughtful, recognizing that not everything can be reduced to numbers, particularly Quality and the assurance of those basic standards.  Quality should be the foundation of Hospitality, and we are inviting a significant Consumer outcry and market correction.  Industry leaders are beginning to voice similar concern, with Joe Kane, incoming Chairman of the AH&LA, stating the obvious,  that it is time to”…resurrect the spirit of Hospitality”.  Wouldn’t it be something for the National Association to take the lead with a Quality Assurance Program for their members.  But, that is probably a numbers game, too, for you do not want to lose members who may not make the grade.  However, that would be a significant statement and commitment to elevate the Guest Experience. 

About the author.  John Hendrie believes that Remarkable Hospitality is the portal to the Visitor Experience.  Contact him at:  jhendrie@hospitalityperformance.com

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Contact:

John R. Hendrie, CEO
Hospitality Performance, Inc.
www.hospitalityperformance.com
978-346-4387

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Also See: A Prescriptive for Destination Marketing / John R Hendrie / November 2005
The Visitor Experience Is Impacted Before They Get to Your Door - the Value of Customer Service / John R Hendrie / November 2005
The Independent  Restaurateur Challenge; Competing with the "Formulas" / John R. Hendrie / October 2005
Are you ready for Business? – A Hospitality Recovery Plan / John R Hendrie / October 2005
Destination "Damage Control" Starts with that Single Visitor Complaint / John R. Hendrie /  October 2005 
Grappling with Progress, A Destination Denies Chains / John R Hendrie / October  2005
Promoting the Dining Experience by Matching Expectations / John R Hendrie / September 2005
The Gratuity Revolution / John R Hendrie / August 2005
Plotting His Travels; Some Bumps Encountered - Chaper III / John R. Hendrie / August 2005
Jacques Sets Up Shop or Jacques Joie Hospitality Advisory Establishes Rating Scheme / John R. Hendrie / August 2005
Thats So Jacques' / John R. Hendrie / August 2005
The Symbol of Hospitality, the Pineapple, Has Morphed to That of a Kumquat; Hotel Operators Focus on the Guest Becoming Secondary / John R. Hendrie / August 2005
Ready for Pluckin'; Hospitality Represents that Fat Roaster, Just Sitting there, Plump and Contented / John R. Hendrie / July 2005
Literally Every Destination Marketing Organization Is Under Duress; The Challenge to CVB's / John R. Hendrie / July 2005
A Smile is Really a Simple Thing – an Expression of Welcome, No Cost Involved / John R. Hendrie / July 2005
Lead the Trend to Becoming Guest-Centric; Demonstrating Behavior Not Normally Experienced by the Guest / John R. Hendrie / June 2005
Hospitality QED, That's Latin to Me! / John Hendrie / June 2005
Unless You Operate a Business in a Very Remote Location, You Belong to the Amorphous “Brand-Scape” /  John R. Hendrie / June 2005 
Maximize the Performance of Your Greatest Asset - Your Employees / John R. Hendrie / May 2005
Preparing for the Assault by Organized Labor on Hospitality / John R. Hendrie / May 2005
Customer Service - Panacea or Placebo / John R. Hendrie / May 2005
How to Even the Playing Field, As Independents Suspiciously Eye the Chain Hotels / John R. Hendrie / April 2005
Oh, What a Web We Weave! Pitfalls with Descriptive Language / John R. Hendrie / April 2005
Woe is We! We in Hospitality Have Lost Touch and Share the Responsibility for Consumer Cynicism, Angst and Ennui / March 2005
Moving the Guest Comment Card from Paper to Paperless / John Hendrie / March 2005
Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association Launches 'Total Quality Destination' and Presents 'Gold Star of Excellence Awards' / March 2005
The Evolution of Guest Room Amenities / John Hendrie / February 2005
Advertising Integrity; Framing the Visitor's Expectation Through Print, Signage & Internet / John Hendrie / February 2005
Hospitality Trade Associations:  What Have You Done for Me Lately? / February 2005
I Would Like to See your Hospitality Standards. Where Are They? Anybody Seen Them? / John Hendrie / January 2005
Remarkable Hospitality - the Road Map to Excellence; Exceeding the Expectations of our Guests / John Hendrie / January 2005
Are Your Guests Expecting Mediocrity with Your Hospitality Services? Move Your Level of Excellence to the Remarkable / John Hendrie / December 2004
Guest Services - A Tradition Diminished / John Hendrie / December 2004
Rescue from Mediocrity; The Decline of Service Etiquette - A Sequel / John Hendrie / November 2004
Offering Crushed Pepper Before Tasting the Entrée; The Decline of Restaurant Service Etiquette / John Hendrie / October 2004
Destination Marketing – How to rebuild your Reputation and the upcoming Season after the Hurricanes / John Hendrie / September 2004
Six Factors Which Dictate Success in Performing Destination Marketing / John Hendrie / September 2004
Influencing the Consumer to Book Business through Your Commitment to Quality / Aug 2004
Major Hotel Operators Have Rediscovered Hospitality Fundamentals by Revisiting the Guest Room / John R. Hendrie / July 2004
Destination Marketing 101: Take Care of Mom / John R. Hendrie / June 2004
Service Unions Combine, Presenting Huge Challenge to Hospitality Industry / John R. Hendrie / March 2004
What Value Quality? Most Hospitality Operators Use the Term “Quality” In their Advertising. What Exactly Does that Mean? / John R. Hendrie / April 2004


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