By David M. Brudney, ISHC, December 2000
My last article (“It’s The Experience, Stupid!”) addressed the absence of memorable experiences in too many of the limited service hotels I visit regularly.
I think limited service hotels can do better!
My “experiences” of late have been nothing to write home about. I don’t know about you but I’m getting awfully tired of visiting limited service hotel after limited service hotel - - north, south, east, west, no matter - - where I find the hotels clean as a whistle, all the facilities in place but staffs that appear zombie-like.
I know, I know, I hear my colleagues and some of my clients saying: “it’s only limited service, David, it’s not full service and it’s not luxury or deluxe service, so, David, you have to deal with it.” Well, I don’t want to deal with it! There, I said it! I think limited service hotels can do better!
I read about the crisis in the work force, we don’t pay enough and how difficult it is to attract and retain good employees. Does anyone seriously believe we’d have significantly better employees if we paid $2 or $3 more an hour?
We’re in a very personal business
We’re in the hospitality business. Our front line employees are not cashiers at Best Buy. We’re not robotic-looking ticket takers at the AMC complexes. We’re not librarians checking out books. We’re in a very personal business. Our customers are guests who actually sleep in our work homes and wake up and come downstairs and have coffee and a continental breakfast with us. What terrific opportunities for connecting with guests, for developing long term relationships, repeat business and future referrals (if we do it right)!
I don’t think it’s the pay. I think it’s the environment we’ve created and the reluctance on the part of owners, operators and franchisees to become bolder and more creative. I think the employees I described in last month’s column are enjoying their jobs because they have been allowed to become creative - - the chef at Benihana, the singing waiter at Papadakis and the salmon salesman at Pike’s Place Fish.
Are your employees having fun at their jobs?
Mr. and Mrs. limited service hotel owner and operator: how many of your employees are having fun at their jobs?
Here’s some ideas to consider:
While looking at trees, are we not failing to see the forest? The main focus for innkeepers always has been, is now and always will be the enhancement of the guest experience. Forget that point and it really doesn’t matter about RevPar, penetration and bottom line improvement. You’ll become just another shirt in that sea of gray flannel.
Owners and franchisees: it is your responsibility to create an environment in which bold and creative leadership can flourish.
This article appears in the January ’01 issue of Lodging Real Estate
David M. Brudney, ISHC, Principal
David Brudney & Associates
Carlsbad, CA 92009
760-476-0830 Fax 760-476-0860
Web Site: www.DavidBrudney.com