News for the Hospitality Executive
What Is The Difference Between Hospitality Excellence and Mediocrity?
By Doug Kennedy
January 3, 2012
Like most trainers, I frequently engage participants in interactive activities that hopefully shift their paradigms. With one such activity, I give participants a list of like-hotels in a location they’ve never been to, and then have them each place a group sales or reservations inquiry call. Afterwards, each participant reports back to the overall group on their experiences and observations.
Recently, while training the reservations team of a four-star hotel, the results were especially interesting when two participants in particular described their call experiences. The first participant had a glowing report for the agent she’d spoken with, and raved about how he was so enthusiastic and hospitable that the participant actually felt bad about not booking with him! Interestingly, the second participant reported the polar opposite experience in calling another four-star hotel in the same area, as her agent did little more than check dates, quote rates and described rooms as being “your basic hotel room with one or two beds.”
It is interesting to see how two different hotels within the same location, serving the same hotel market segment, recruiting from the same labor pool, and probably paying about the same base wages can have such extraordinarily different levels of hospitality and guest service.
How was it that these two employees of similar hotels performed so differently that day? Was it luck? Did we just happen to catch their best employee at their best time of day? Or was it a factor of the choices the employees made that day?
Two alarm clocks went off at approximately the same time of morning. Two employees woke up and readied themselves for their workday. Both traveled about the same distance, to work about the same shift, for about the same pay. Yet one employee made the choice of delivering hospitality excellence to the best of their ability in every guest interaction that day. The other made the choice to do their job exactly as it is outlined in their job description; doing nothing more and nothing less.
So why is it that associates at some properties make the choice of hospitality excellence while employees elsewhere choose to be average, or to put it another way at the risk of being blunt - mediocre?
Is it that one hotel has a better luck of the draw when hiring new staff? Do they have a better applicant screening process complete with pre-employment testing and peer interviewing? Or is it more a factor of the overall culture that starts with ownership and executive level management and is reinforced daily at the supervisory level?
Based on my observations as a hospitality industry trainer, it is more than a mere coincidence that some hotels can succeed in even the toughest labor markets, while others squander in mediocrity even where the unemployment languishes in double digits. Instead, hotel guest service teams that make “extraordinary” guest services experiences an “ordinary” and daily event tend to have:
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