|by Harry Nobles, September 1999
I have always believed that consistency of product and service delivery is an essential characteristic of any fine hotel. In my opinion, the importance of consistency increases in direct correlation to rate charged, the propertyís image and reputation, and the AAA or MOBIL rating. During my tenure at AAA, I always tried to show appropriate toleration for minor inconsistencies at the economy/budget limited service properties. I constantly reminded myself that their ratings were based primarily on cleanliness, upkeep, professionalism of management, staff efficiency, and compliance to AAA requirements.
I tried to be equally intolerant of inconsistency at a full service 4 or 5 Diamond property. At the same time, I also tried to be objective and realistic in my expectations at these establishments. I often arrived at a downtown full service hotel for an anonymous overnight stay on Sunday afternoon. It was not unusual to find no doorman, limited bell service, and limited or no food and beverage service on the weekends while all these services were very well provided during the week.
I spent many Monday mornings with General Mangers explaining that I could not accept that a hotel should maintain a 4 or 5 Diamond rating full-time when it only provided the required services part-time. The GM would invariably explain to me that since business was slow on weekends, the staff was reduced and guest services were limited. I would repeat my stance and philosophy on the importance of consistency as it related to ratings. We usually parted amicably, neither having changed the otherís mind.
While at AAA, I considered consistency a very important factor; I still do. I advise clients to take a systematic approach in establishing and maintaining a high degree of consistency of product and service. First, I suggest you determine exactly what serves your clientele wants. Then , you should determine which of these services can be provided in a consistently superior manner to every guest, every time, at any time. After all, I think consistency means that a guest receives the same level of service at 2:00AM as at 2:00PM.
Once you have decided exactly what services you will provide, make sure your staff knows exactly how these services are to be provided and to what standard. Then, train your staff to do that. The training must be continuous and consistent; only consistent training will result in consistent performance.
An effective training program includes periodic evaluation, retraining, review and revision of standards, reward for success, and consequence for failure.
Achieving consistency is relatively easy; maintaining it is much harder. In our competitive industry, consistency is more important than ever.
|Also See:||Remaining Hospitable in an Inhospitable World / August 1999|
|Can Outstanding Service Offset Hotel Physical Deficiencies in the Rating Systems? / Harry Nobles / June 1999|
|Mobil Travel Guide Announces 1998 Mobil Four-and Five-Star Award Winners / Jan 1998|
|Are Your Employees Checking Out As Fast As Your Guests / Setting Up an Effective Training Program / Harry Nobles / May 1999|
|"AAA" - Hotel Online Viewpoint Forum|
|The Legend of the Pineapple / Harry Nobles / Feb 1999|