Hotel Online  Special Report

Woe is We! 
We in Hospitality Have Lost Touch and Share
the Responsibility for Consumer Cynicism,
Angst and Ennui


By John R. Hendrie, CEO, Hospitality Performance, Inc., March 2005

For my generation, as Baby Boomers, allow me to wax philosophically.  We remember road trips, anxious for the sight of that orange roof and brand hot dogs and fried clams.  We remember uncomplicated television, actually once the new frontier, now the wasteland.  We recall trips to Bermuda, resplendent with easy smiles and odd driving patterns.  Vacations in New England at the elegant grande dame resorts, the energy of New York City, Spring Break in Ft. Lauderdale.  Dial phones were the standard, gas was under 50 cents, and Walter Cronkite reigned supreme.  Simple and reliable times, but a benchmark for our generation, as we sharply assess the Hospitality Industry, which is caught in a time warp, of sorts. 

There is little remarkable out there, rather the mundane.  Our Destination marketing organizations strive to bring traffic to our areas, and then the Visitor is thrown to the Hospitality community.  The Visitor hopes that the reservation is correct and held, the room is habitable, the food is hot, the attractions and stores are clean, and it does not rain.  They do not expect a smile, eye contact, words of welcome, attention to their needs or even thanks for their business.  Gosh, what has happened?

I think we have been lulled into this Hospitality “trough”, because we are tired, beaten up.  We are continually looking at our numbers, our staffing, our marketing, our covers, complaints, A/P, legislation – the list goes on.  Yet, Hospitality is a true calling.  We really do want to take care of the Guest.  We feel deeply about service, our operation, standards, our results and our reputations. 

The current model does not work, and what you have in place is not sustainable.  You know this, too.  What to do?

Firstly, challenge your Destination Marketing Groups – your CVBs, CVAs, TDCs, lodging and restaurant associations, your chambers.  Marketing goes beyond promotion; there should be programs in place to support and advance your business and your practices. Do not let them acquiesce from the mission! Some get it, like Myrtle Beach.  Without the infrastructure, the Guest will suffer, and bad news travels quickly, as we know.

Secondly, take a fresh look at your business.  “If it ain’t broke…” does not make it, for you have then embraced the philosophy of Planned Obsolescence, the Detroit auto manufacturing credo. Consider where they are now! A change in direction is not a curse; it is an investment.

Your paradigm shift to Remarkable Hospitality is a readjustment to Guest focus, where it belongs.  If you do not care, they surely will not either. There are several Key ingredients, which drive this shift:

  • Product/Service:  What did you present to the Guest?  You start out with the most fundamental building block – Quality.  Is your operation clean, safe, secure, comfortable, and in good condition?  You build from there, establishing your distinction.
  • Delivery on Customer Service:  Hire for attitude.  Everything else is trainable.
  • Technology:  Back of the house systems allow you great efficiencies and reporting capabilities; front of the house amenities, such as WiFi, create your competitive stance in the marketplace. 
  • Reward and Recognition:  Staff members, your messengers, who provide performance excellence, demand a suitable response from Management.
  • Communication:  Information empowers those who represent your interests.
  • Marketing/Promotion/Advertising:  Review your mix and the means you have selected.  Be consistent and passionate with your message.
  • Guest Satisfaction:  If you do not know what your Guest desires, how can you possibly meet those needs?
Rather than bemoan the obvious, take the initiative.  We can fashion dreams, we must frame expectations, and we should  deliver memorable experiences.  Start the journey to remarkable Hospitality!

John R. Hendrie, CEO
Hospitality Performance, Inc.
Also See: Moving the Guest Comment Card from Paper to Paperless / John Hendrie / March 2005
Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association Launches 'Total Quality Destination' and Presents 'Gold Star of Excellence Awards' / March 2005
The Evolution of Guest Room Amenities / John Hendrie / February 2005
Advertising Integrity; Framing the Visitor's Expectation Through Print, Signage & Internet / John Hendrie / February 2005
Hospitality Trade Associations:  What Have You Done for Me Lately? / February 2005
I Would Like to See your Hospitality Standards. Where Are They? Anybody Seen Them? / John Hendrie / January 2005
Remarkable Hospitality - the Road Map to Excellence; Exceeding the Expectations of our Guests / John Hendrie / January 2005
Are Your Guests Expecting Mediocrity with Your Hospitality Services? Move Your Level of Excellence to the Remarkable / John Hendrie / December 2004
Guest Services - A Tradition Diminished / John Hendrie / December 2004
Rescue from Mediocrity; The Decline of Service Etiquette - A Sequel / John Hendrie / November 2004
Offering Crushed Pepper Before Tasting the Entrée; The Decline of Restaurant Service Etiquette / John Hendrie / October 2004
Destination Marketing – How to rebuild your Reputation and the upcoming Season after the Hurricanes / John Hendrie / September 2004
Six Factors Which Dictate Success in Performing Destination Marketing / John Hendrie / September 2004
Influencing the Consumer to Book Business through Your Commitment to Quality / Aug 2004
Major Hotel Operators Have Rediscovered Hospitality Fundamentals by Revisiting the Guest Room / John R. Hendrie / July 2004
Destination Marketing 101: Take Care of Mom / John R. Hendrie / June 2004
Service Unions Combine, Presenting Huge Challenge to Hospitality Industry / John R. Hendrie / March 2004
What Value Quality? Most Hospitality Operators Use the Term “Quality” In their Advertising. What Exactly Does that Mean? / John R. Hendrie / April 2004

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