|by Doug Kennedy, June 2007
Like most trainers, I frequently engage participants in interactive activities that hopefully shift some paradigms for the long-term. With one such activity, I give teams of two participants a list of hotels in a city they’ve never been to, and then have them each place an 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 one team in particular described their calls. The first participant had a glowing report for the agent she’d spoken with, and raved on about how he was so enthusiastic about and so hospitable that the participant actually felt bad about not booking at the end! Interestingly, the second participant reported the polar opposite experience, 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.”
While it is always fun for the participants, it’s especially interesting as an unbiased observer to see how two different hotels within the same location, serving the same hotel market segment, paying the same wages, and recruiting from the same labor pool, can have such extraordinarily different levels of hospitality/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, every shift, every transaction, and for every guest. 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?
Speaking solely as a guest who has frequented both excellent and mediocre hotels in all labor markets, it just has to be 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.
Speaking as a hospitality industry trainer who peaked behind the scenes
at some of the world’s best hotels, I can share these observations about
the corporate cultures of hotels that aspire to hospitality excellence
daily. These hotels tend to have:
Indeed, it is a thin line – a razor thin line - between hospitality
excellence and mediocrity that employees in our industry traverse every
day. In the end the same number of hours are worked, the same number
of calories are burned, and the same wages are received. Yet those
who choose to walk the path of hospitality excellence are rewarded daily
as well. While their counterparts elsewhere go home each night complaining
about how many rude and nasty guests there are out there these days, those
who make the choice of hospitality excellence enjoy their work everyday,
and mostly go home raving about how many nice, interesting, and appreciative
guests they met that very same day in the very same town.
|Also See:||The True Story Of Two Difficult Guests / Doug Kennedy / May 2007|
|Mentoring To The Max; Frontline Supervisors Often Caught in the Middle / Doug Kennedy / April 2007|
|First Step In Maximizing Reservations Sales: Believe It’s Possible / Doug Kennedy / March 2007|
|Training Is Key To Turning “Desk Clerks” Into Front Desk Salespersons / March 2007|
|Mastering The Lost Art of Check-In / Doug Kennedy / February 2007|
|Speaking of Hotel Rooms: When You Turn The Lights Off They All Look The Same / Doug Kennedy / December 2006|
|Train Your Front Desk To Overcome Challenges of Fielding Reservations Calls At The Front Desk / Doug Kennedy / October 2006|
|The Hotels Reservations Sales Process; Today’s Callers Want a Personalized and Customized Experience / Doug Kennedy / October 2006|
|It’s Time To Give Hotel Guests What They REALLY Need and Want Daily! Key Basics Some Hotels Still Fall Short On / Doug Kennedy / September 2006|
|Have You Listened To What Your Hotel Sales and Reservations Agents Are Saying To Real Customers? / Doug Kennedy / August 2006|
|Next Step In Revenue Optimization: Train Your Front Desk and Reservations Staff To “Maintain The Rate Fences” / Doug Kennedy / July 2006|
|Beyond “Outrageous,” and “Legendary” Customer Service Training: Creating “Ordinary Excellence, Daily!” / Doug Kennedy / June 2006|
|The Politics of Revenue Management / Doug Kennedy / June 2006|
|Hotel Sales “Steps” and “Processes” Are Out; Today’s Inquiry Caller’s Want A Personalized Sales Experience / Doug Kennedy / June 2006|