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Murphy's Laws Can Be Infallible in the Hotel Industry


by Osvaldo Torres Cruz and Mariana Stachuk, October 2008

Mr. Smith was a businessman who arrived at the hotel for the first time. The next morning, he called the butler to complain about the air conditioner that had failed to work all through the night. 

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He was very upset because he had not been able to sleep well and would have a very important meeting in his room that morning. The butler apologized for the inconvenience and called in a technician to have it repaired right away. He suggested the guest should have breakfast at the hotel restaurant. 

As the waiter brought him the service, he found that the milk was not hot enough and that the quality of the coffee did not live up to his expectations. 

Half an hour later, he came back to the room only to find the technician, who had just arrived and would take at least fifteen minutes to finish the repair. He was very annoyed for all these inconveniences during his very few hours at the hotel.

In cases such as this, we wonder: How come a succession of inconveniencies could happen to the very same guest? This is when the famous MURPHY’S LAW comes to our mind:  “If something is going to turn out badly, it will do”.  “Things will go wrong in any given situation, if you give them a chance”. 

There are some situations that could run away from the human will. Nevertheless, by being aware of them, we can prevent them from triggering off a chain of calamities.  Once a guest has gone through a problem, it is very useful to classify him as a Sensitive Guest (SH). 

He will be more likely to expect the highest service quality given at any certain place. Therefore, to him any little inconvenience will turn into a huge one, which will eventually lead to him being less confident in the service or, even worse, utterly dissatisfied with it. 
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Number of Women Butlers has grown
significantly in the hotel industry.

The concept of some professions has evolved at the same pace as the world has.  This is the case of the traditional butler, who was historically pictured as a tailcoated, white-gloved man always submissive to the master’s needs. These days, however, the Modern Butler and his role in the hotel industry are pretty much different.

The Modern Butler is more focused on service management itself. Firstly, he is the one who searches for the guest information prior to their arrival in order to be one step ahead of their needs, and secondly, he takes care of their stay and does the follow-up after their departure.  All these duties can be indistinctively performed by either a man or a woman butler. Consequently, gender alone does not seem to make a difference at all. Actually, it is the combination of both gender and every one’s individual capacity that enriches the position.

Recently, the number of Women Butlers has grown significantly in the hotel industry. This is funny because there are certain personality traits typical of a gender that seem naturally well-suited for the position. A woman’s first natural ability is that of protecting the human being, which helps to concentrate her position on the service itself.

Being feminine (shown by a woman’s sensitivity, perceptiveness and emotionality) can be seen in her everyday duties, which are characterized by “feminine delicacy” or a “feminine touch”.  The female brain has a more detailed perception because it is capable of dissociating words from ambiance. That is why women can be more sympathetic, understanding. This ability, plus the feminine charm can help them to cope with difficult male guests.  Culturally speaking, whereas it makes no difference to some guests (regardless of their religion) to be assisted by either a woman or a man butler, others do wish only a butler of the same sex to take care of their luggage and personal agenda.

In conclusion, the notion of the Modern Butler is no longer necessarily linked to a man.  Nowadays, Guest Satisfaction is the number-one priority. Therefore, the proper butler’s skills and the combination of  gender  are necessary to achieve the objective. 

By the moment a guest CLAIMS OR COMPLAINS, an alert system should be activated immediately. This consists of informing all the guest contact departments so as to pay special attention to the service given, avoiding future objections and annulling the fateful Law of Murphy. 

Constant Information is the key to (or…instrumental in) the services control process. The BUTLER plays the main role in the distribution of this information. All the departments should be strongly communicated to deal successfully with the SH. The Butler must control all the services in order to neutralize (the possibly negative) first impression, being also responsible for monitoring the degree of guest satisfaction. 

For example, a complaint can be made because the room was not cleaned in due time). The BUTLER should bear in mind the remainder days of his stay, check that the room is cleaned by the time required, etc. 

Not only this, but he should also supervise all the other services such as laundry orders and room service, which must be carried out with the required quality. 

By establishing the guest profile prior to his arrival, the Butler will be able to be ahead of the guest’s wishes.

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Contact:

Osvaldo Torres Cruz
Hotel Butler
Alvear Palace Hotel 
Buenos Aires, Argentina
 kirios37@yahoo.com

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Also See: The Active Role of the Butler in Today's Hotel Industry / Osvaldo Torres Cruz / July 2008
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