Measurements of Success
Don Farrell, Chairman of Signature, talks to the ‘top dogs’ of
Linchris Hotel Corporation, one of several top performing
management companies
March 2004 - “It’s my observation, that owners and operators who do well on the Signature training program usually do well at a lot of other things,” says Signature's chairman, Don Farrell.  Don was so interested in his observation that he hit the road to uncover how top industry performers such as Linchris, Northwest Management Company and The Hotel Group become top Signature performers.   His interest wasn’t limited to how these companies rose to the top but how they’ve been able to maintain and sustain their legendary performance levels.  These organizations not only provide excellent service to current and potential guests, but they bring in more revenue, provide a  more productive work environment, have a low employee turn-over rate and most importantly, have fun managing successful hotel operations.    

One of Don’s first interview was with Linchris, a hotel ownership and management company, which has utilized Signature’s expertise for 5 years at 20 locations.  Signature provides visits to each of the Linchris hotels 4-times a year, and each hotel is phone-shopped 10-times a month where their skills are graded using Signature’s new web-based reporting system -- Statability®. This reporting system provides on-line scores and audio access to actual calls so that the employee being shopped, as well as management, can replay the call for teaching and learning purposes.  Linchris employees also take advantage of unlimited phone coaching to help train new employees and improve skills within the veteran workforce, as well as tracking and incentive vehicles.

What Don challenged Linchris executives to explain, is how they consistently, month in and month out, perform at a level that is 15% greater than Signature's entire portfolio of hospitality clients.  Not only do they achieve a better monthly average, but each Linchris hotel is scored on 10-skills, while most other Signature-trained hotels are scored on an average of 7-skills.  And if that is not a success story in itself, Don was intrigued on how Linchris is able to achieve these numbers without dedicated reservation agents, while most of their hotels employ only 2-front desk personnel during the day and 1 at night.

What Linchris shared and what they employ is not revolutionary in concept, but it is indeed unique in practice.  Linchris values 2 main concepts throughout their daily, weekly and monthly applications of delivering greater skills because of their Signature training; Firstly, Signature is an integral part of the Linchris culture and, secondly, Linchris makes it simple for their employees to know what success is and strives to be more professional than the competition. 
Linchris ties their general manager incentives to performance on the Signature training program.  Guest service managers and guest service representatives also have monthly incentives tied to using Signature’s phone sales skills.  As a result, Linchris’ portfolio of hotels sold more rooms per property in 2003 than they did in 2002…in 2001…in 2000 and even more than their banner year 1999.  Why?  Because they’ve indoctrinated the use of the Signature sales program into the minds of their employees and praised the use of the skills by rewarding employees with a monetary bonus.  Additionally, Linchris holds quarterly meetings with all 23 of their hotels to review performance and prepare the next quarter’s plan.  Signature performance is always discussed during the quarterly meetings.  Lower performing hotels are given tips on how to do better, not just from the Linchris corporate personnel, but also from their peer general managers and guest service managers.  This approach has made a BIG impact on getting lower performing hotels to do better in all areas of measurement.

It was during one of these quarterly meetings where one of their new guest service managers stood up and asked, “What is all this Signature stuff about?”  The crowd fell silent, Chris Gistis, chairman of Linchris, stands up and in a ten minute memorable speech, asked the crowd how a guest service manager could be employed within Linchris and not know about Signature.  Chris made it a point to stop into that hotel on his way home to make sure the general manager and the new guest service manager were clear and did not take personal offense from Chris’ direct response during the meeting.

Linchris also has a policy of rewarding corporate personnel and general managers with 3 month paid Sabbatical after 5 yrs of employment with their company...it seems to have had a terrific impact at reducing turn-over. 

The culture comments did not surprise Don, but he was surprised to hear about their focus on something else and that was their simple approach towards sounding more professional than their competition.  They listen to their Signature shopping calls which also include two shopping calls to nearby competitors.  Linchris evaluates how they sound compared to their competition.  Simple fact in their minds....sound better, present your hotel’s value better and you will sell better than your competition.  It is that simple.  Signature knows how many times each hotel client dials in to hear their shop calls and without a doubt Linchris’ managed hotels are at the top of the list in the listening-in department.

So in summation, Don's feeling is that there are 46,000 hotels in America and several thousand hotel operators out there who claim to have what it takes to manage a hotel...to make it excel...to maximize revenue.  Signature has worked with well over 7000 hotels representing the majority of the brands out there and without a doubt Linchris is a major player when it comes to walking their talk.  Don Farrell wrote in his notes, “Here is a small to medium sized management company who beats their competition every day because they view success happening locally.....not just through their brands marketing programs.  They tune their people into what's important and they use programs like Signature to motivate them to be their very best.  Kudos to Chris Gistis and his company.....if I owned a hotel, they would be one of the first companies I'd call to manage it for me."

Stayed tuned in to read the outcome of Don Farrell’s future interviews with other successful management companies; companies to be announced as schedules are confirmed.

About Linchris
The Linchris Hotel Corporation is a growing, full and limited service hotel management company with an outstanding reputation for high quality and first-rate service.  Currently managing 23 hotels its corporate headquarters are in Hanover, MA.  For more information visit www.linchris.com or call 781-826-8824

About Signature, Inc.  
Signature is a leading provider of legendary training solutions to many industries and the largest hospitality training company in North America.  Offering a one-of-a-kind reinforcement training program, Signature guarantees additional revenue for over 5000 clients worldwide.  Established in 1986, the company has a field-based training network expanding throughout the world with a centralized call center located in the headquarters in Dublin, Ohio.  Signature retains more than 250 employees and has licensees in Brazil, Uruguay, and Greece.  For more information visit the web site at www.legendary.net or call 1-800-398-0518.

More Information
Transient Edge
Sales Edge
Service Edge
PSST: Phone Sales and Service Training
Food & Beverage Edge
Connections by Signature™ 
Housing Edge

More About Signature, Inc. 

Myra Mash, Marketing Manager
Signature Inc.
5115 Parkcenter Avenue
Dublin, Ohio  43017 
Phone (614) 766-5101
Fax (614) 766-9419
E-mail myramash@legendary.net
WebSite http://www.legendary.net
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