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Lessons from the Field
A Common Sense Approach to Success in the Hospitality Industry
By Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE, June 9,2009

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Personal Stories of Delivering
Hospitality and Pride

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By Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA MHS, June 16, 2009

For those of us in this industry, it often becomes second nature to offer that extra effort to provide our guests that sense of welcome and hospitality.   A wonderful benefit I receive in preparing these columns is that I often have the opportunity to meet (by email, phone or perhaps at a conference where I am speaking) terrific people from all over the globe who are involved in the daily delivery of hospitality and pride.   It is the realization that hospitality is much more than accounting, culinary, engineering, marketing, housekeeping and management – it is the combining of all features into a an exceptional experience.

“In our business, the customer service business, the intangibles are far more important than the tangibles.  It’s not just providing good value - providing a good product at a reasonable price – you need to offer an infusion of spirituality.  In other words, if you’re in the customer service business, you don’t want people just to fly from A to B and say ‘Woo, we made it!’  You want  them to get off the plane with the feeling that they were welcome, perhaps entertained. You want it to be a warm event in their lives , so they will come back. ”    Herb Kelleher, founder and former CEO of Southwest Airlines 
Last fall,  I shared my definitions of the word HOSPITALITY in a column published in this service and invited readers to contribute their definitions. Reader input was very positive and  definitions came from people around the world who wanted to express themselves.   About three weeks ago, I found myself considering examples of excellence in hospitality and ways that successful hotels build pride.  I realized defining hospitality was the really the introduction to delivering it.  Again, I asked readers to share their thoughts and again the response from a different set of people is the result.

Building Pride

Hotels play an important role in their communities, as centers for meetings, local social and business events, and of course, in accommodating visitors who may have traveled great distances and are in unfamiliar places.  Many hotels have much to be proud of – service to their guests, contributions to their community and a solid reputation as good citizens and employers in their locale.
As is explained in the following examples from three continents and very different facilities, Building Pride is not a program, but a commitment to excel in what they provide at their hotel.  

1. From  Muin Serhan, General Manager,  
Tamani Hotel Marina in  Dubai ,U.A.E  
http://www.tamanimarina.ae/         

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for inspiring us in the hospitality around the world.     In reference to your recent article “Delivering hospitality and pride”,  I thought first to introduce Tamani Hotel Marina,  part of Tamani Hotels and Resorts, with one open hotel and 4 iconic hotels under construction.   As a single brand striving to deliver exceptional service to our guests as well as competing with major international hotel chains in the market place, I thought of sharing some ways that Tamani Associates excel in delivering hospitality!
This is a story of how our great Mr. Mc Donald (Room Attendant) performs his job with a high level of professionalism,providing guest satisfaction. 

  • One of our in-house guests (Mr. and Mrs. B)  had a son who was celebrating his 10-year-old birthday. With Mr. Mc Donald’s initiative and creativity, he made many paper airplanes made with a ‘Happy Birthday” sign. It meant a lot to the SON, as he was missing his sister and his friends back home in Iceland. Now he has new ones in Dubai! ………..Not only that, Mr. McDonald also made two loving swans from bath towels to represent the son’s parents. The family left the hotel with great memories as well as great friends.     (Personally, I came to know all the above from the boy’s father Mr. B,  as he sent me a letter expressing appreciation). 
  • We helped another couple in a very different way!.  This guest, Mr. P, came to the concierge and asked if the Head Concierge could arrange for some flowers for them. While the Head Concierge considered it a pleasure to arrange for the flowers, he wanted to exceed the guest expectations. The Head Concierge asked the guest the reason for the special occasion and found out they were going to be married in the next two days in Dubai.    The concierge found their favorite color and ordered for them a very nice bouquet, at a very fair rate.  He reserved a white luxury car and arranged an upgrade to a limo – for a “Hollywood star experience…….”    The impression of the guests was WOW!   When it was finally time to go to the church, the couple discovered the hotel  housekeeping team had done an extraordinary job in making all of their guests feel at home. With old and new “friends” all around them, they had an exceptional time even though they were far away from home.   
  • I totally agree with you, this is what our guests are expecting from us to do and we are glad to do that;   Looking forward to serving you - In my home of Dubai.  
2. From  Rina Yazid - Gilliland     
E-Marketing Manager, Grand Hyatt Singapore, Singapore      
singapore.grand.hyatt.com
  • Warmest Greetings from Grand Hyatt Singapore!    I read your online article in EHotelier News on some of the finest examples of hotel staff who excel at delivering hospitality.  Considering our (Hyatt) Mission is to provide authentic hospitality, we would also like to share with you a very recent example of what we have done for one of our guests. This is one of many examples on how we strive to make a difference in the lives of those we 'touch' every day. 
  • A few days ago, a guest called the hotel and made a lunch reservation at the hotel's very popular restaurant, mezza9. The guest also booked a room to stay overnight. Our staff who took the call asked if there was any special occasion and the guest indicated that it was to celebrate a 10th year wedding anniversary. Without the guest knowing, our staff not only organized a complimentary upgrade to a suite, but also made sure that the entire room was set up with rose petals, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries accompanied with a card with best wishes from the hotel. Needless to say, the guest was very pleased! 


3. From James C Bates (Jim)
President & CEO, Destination Hotel Partners, LLC, New York, NY 
www.desthotels.com

One of the most incredible experiences I ever had in reference to true hospitality in my 40-year career in the hotel business was…..

  • 2 years ago, I was in Los Angeles for a function at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. I used to work there over 35 years ago for Mr. Cortwright.   I drove up to the valet parking,  got out of the car and was surprised when the doorman said “Good evening, Mr. Bates. Welcome back to the Beverly Wilshire.”  This doorman was retiring in 2 months after a 40-year career. How he recognized me, I do not know, but it blew my mind! 
  • The next morning I went to the concierge to arrange for help on something and the concierge said. “Good morning, Mr. Bates. On behalf of the entire staff, we want to welcome you back and thank you for your past service to the Beverly Wilshire.” Again, I am blown away.  The strangest thing is that I worked there only a very short time before I went to The Beverly Hilton. This is what I call guest history!!
These are three very different kinds of hotels with very different types of amenities on three different continents.  The products, location and amenities may differ, but the common thread tying them all together is the desire and expectation to deliver that “WOW” factor referred to by Mr. Serhan of Dubai and alluded to by Southwest’s Herb Kelleher.

This might be a good topic for discussion at the next staff meeting , whether you are the CEO of a large management group, a brand or department head of a four-person team.   What are some of the ways your hotel staff excels at delivering hospitality? 



Feel free to share an idea for a column at johnjhogan@yahoo.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements …………. 
And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

Autographed copies of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES can be obtained from THE ROOMS CHRONICLE www.roomschronicle.com and other industry sources. 

All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management.   The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication

John Hogan, a career hotelier and educator, is frequently invited to participate at franchise meetings, management company and hospitality association industry events.  He is a successful senior executive with a record of accomplishment in leading hospitality industry organizations at multiple levels, with demonstrated competencies as a strong leader, relationship builder, problem solver and mentor. He conducts mystery-shopping reviews of quality in operations and marketing, including repositioning of hotels.

Expertise and Research Interest
• Sales Management and training
• Turn-around and revenue management
• Professional Development & Customer Service 
• Hospitality Leadership and Executive Education
• Making Cultural Diversity Real
• Accreditation & Developing Academic Hospitality programs

He writes weekly columns for a number of global online services and has published more than 400 articles & columns on the hotel industry.  He co-authored (with Howard Feiertag, CHA CMP) LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES, which is available from info@smartbizzonline.com, ROOMS CHRONICLE www.roomschronicle.com  and other industry sources.  He resides in Phoenix, Arizona and expects to publish in 2009 his 2nd book based on his dissertation – The Top 100 People of All Time Who Most Dramatically Affected the Hotel Industry.

Hogan’s professional experience includes over 35 years in hotel operations, food & beverage, sales & marketing, training, management development and asset management on both a single and multi-property basis, including service as Senior Vice President of Operations in a specialty hotel brand for six years.

He holds a number of industry certifications (CHA, CHE, MHS, ACI) and is a past recipient of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Pearson Award for Excellence in Lodging Journalism, as well as operational and marketing awards from international brands.  He has served as President of both city and state hotel associations.

John’s background includes teaching college level courses as an adjunct professor at three different colleges and universities over a 20-year period, while managing with Sheraton, Hilton, Omni and independent hotels.  He was the principal in an independent training & consulting group for more than 12 years serving associations, management groups, convention & visitors’ bureaus, academic institutions and as an expert witness.  He joined Best Western International in spring of 2000, where over the next 8 years he created and developed a blended learning system as the Director of Education & Cultural Diversity for the world’s largest hotel chain. 

He has served on several industry boards that deal with education and/or cultural diversity and as brand liaison to the NAACP and the Asian American Hotel Owners’ Association with his long-term involvement in the Certified Hotel Owner program.  He has conducted an estimated 3,200 workshops and classes in his career. 

Service to the Industry and Hospitality Education includes working with the Educational Institute Certification Commission of the AH&LA, the Hospitality Industry Diversity Institute, the AH&LA Multicultural Advisory Council, the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration, the Commission for Accreditation on Hospitality Management Programs, the AH&LA and AAHOA Education and Training Committees, the Council of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Educators (CHRIE), the International Hotel Show and the Certified Hotel Owner program for the Asian American Hotel Owners’ Association.

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Contact:

Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE
johnjhogan@yahoo.com

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Also See: What is Your Definition of Leadership? / Dr John Hogan / June 2009
Examining Why Do We Really Do What We Do? / Dr John Hogan / June 2009
Delivering Hospitality and Pride / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
Act As if You Are Number Two / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
A Baker’s Dozen of Fundamentals for Retaining Quality Staff / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
Customer Relationship Management Requires a Blending of High Tech and High Touch for Optimal Results / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
Do You Know Where Your Customer Is? Or Knowing Where Your Business Originates / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
Understanding what we measure and making it count! Strategies for Hotel Controllers / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
“A Bakers Dozen” of Strategies for Hotel Controllers / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
A Different Appraisal of Our Biggest Challenges in 2009 / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
Reflections: Mentors and Friends - Vermont Hoteliers Borden and Louise Avery and their Son Allen / Dr John Hogan / March 2009
Remember to Embrace the Essentials in Sales; Revenue and net profits can often depend on how one of the most fundamental practices in sales- how incoming phone calls are handled / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Getting the Most Out of Your Hotel Franchise Investment; Working With Your Hotel Franchisor for Everyone’s Success / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Getting the Most Out of Your Hotel Franchise Investment; Evaluating the franchise business model as a potential franchisee / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Getting the Most Out of Your Hotel Franchise Investment / Dr. John Hogan / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Four Steps: How to Make More Sales Calls than Any Other Way Or Trade Shows Can Be Invaluable If. . . / Dr. John Hogan / February 2009
A Baker’s Dozen of Strategies for Hotel Chief Engineers / Dr. John Hogan / February 2009
"A Baker's Dozen" of Strategies for Hotel  Banquet Managers / Dr. John Hogan / February 2009
Making New Year's Sales and Marketing Resolutions Real and Practical / Dr. John Hogan / January 2009
Planning in a Challenging Economy - Probing Hotel Expenses / Dr. John Hogan / December 2008
Planning in a Challenging Economy - Fundamentals of Hotel Sales Planning / Dr. John Hogan / December 2008
A Message for Hoteliers: Giving Thanks - and Not Just One Day Each Year! / Dr John Hogan / November 2008
Hoteliers Must Remember the Lessons of Reasonable Care! / John Hogan / November 2008
Enthusiastic and Sincere Attitudes Will Pay Off For Hotel Salespeople / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / November 2008
Unleash the Potential! Recognize the True Value of Your Front Line Sales People / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / November 2008
Defining Hospitality - Readers Respond with their Insights / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / October 2008
Understanding the Value and Power of Breakfast / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / October 2008
A Bakers Dozen of Strategies for Hotel Restaurant Managers / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / October 2008
A Bakers Dozen of Strategies for Hotel Food and Beverage Directors / Hotel Common Sense / John Hoganv/ September 2008
My Definition of Hospitality. What’s Yours? / Dr. John Hogan / September 2008
Principles for Success as a Hotel Manager: 6 Observations on Finding and Employing Problem Solvers / Dr. John Hogan / September 2008
10 Hotel Sales Action Steps to Succeed in Today’s Competitive Marketplace / Dr. John Hogan / September 2008
10 Hotel Sales Mistakes to Avoid in Today’s Competitive Marketplace / Dr. John Hogan / August 2008
Ways to Identify and Build Repeat Guests / Dr John Hogan / August 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Maintaining Relationships Throughout the Organization / Dr John Hogan / August 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part four: Communicating with Clarity and Candor / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part three: Using your management style effectively / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part Two: Motivating the Team / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager Part One: Understanding the Organization / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008 
Updating Hotel Marketing and Sales Strategies Mid Year NOW Is Essential / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008
Don’t Underestimate the Impact of the Hotel Sales Office / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008
Factors for Successful Interviewing Potential Hotel Sales Candidates / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008
The Importance of Meaningful Sales Team Job Descriptions / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
For Hotels with Limited Service, Fewer than 100 Rooms - How Do You Determine if You Need a Person Dedicated to Selling / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
Extending Your Sales Team or Make Travel Agents A Regular Part of Your Sales Programs / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
Finding Business Leads Can Be Easier Than You Think / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
Understanding the Differences Between Marketing and Sales / Dr. John Hogan / April 2008
Identifying Your Customers / Lessons from the Field A Common Sense Approach to Success in the Hospitality Industry / Dr. John Hogan / April 2008
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