News for the Hospitality Executive
Top Quality Service Relies on Service...
|Lic. Rodrigo Alvarez y Jiménez, September 2008
As we all know service is a very hard concept to explain, actually a good or bad service has to do with satisfaction; and satisfaction is based on a whole experience that is influenced all the time by specific situations, sense of humor, previous experiences, purpose of the trip and the knowledge level of each guest.
During the last years all hotel brands have been copying the others in order to give a better service, but service is different than services or facilities, let me explain more about this: Many years ago on the 80’s and 90’s there wasn’t a lot of changes in terms of amenities, technology, mattresses, etc. so in order to be better than other hotels all brands developed very good techniques to improve the guests satisfaction such as check in-out express, better phraseologies to answer the phones, quicker response times, time tables for almost all procedures and a lot more.
During the late 90’s some brands started to offer customized services such as: pillow menu, music and aromatherapy menu, sheets menu, even different types of mattresses. Then lots of new type of amenities appeared in the market and all top brands were developing all these new products and all others were copying and introducing it after the leaders. Some examples are: Starwood introduced the concept of “Heavenly bed”, then Intercontinental introduced “Sleep advantage” offering almost the same things, all other brands copied this new idea in less than 2 years.
Then on the new century all brands focused on high-tech buying bigger and better Flat TV’s, changing all lighting, air conditioning equipment, internet access, wireless devices, smart safes, smart locks and all kind of electronics.
Today the guests are pushing all brands to be updated on the new technology making it almost impossible to keep the pace of the new releases and forcing hotels to spend tremendous amounts of money in order to get all these things that became commodities and can’t be charged separately to the guest. In a word, hotels are spending more by getting all these high-tech products and customizing the rooms to exceed guest’s expectations but at the same time are reducing costs by understaffing their properties and cutting the main hotel industry service, which is: People.
So, here is the point, hotels worldwide are putting aside the basis of service, the most important aspect of overall satisfaction. Just imagine a very nice hotel with 42” flat TV’s, pillow menu, a wide variety of amenities and all that, but short on personnel meaning that if you want to talk to somebody or if you need someone to answer the phone by person you will get automated record messages, auto wake-up calls, self check in-check out terminals.
We really need to pay attention on what really matters, be focused on service, more than services, invest money on people more than technology and get back to the basis of this business and the quality that made it succeed…TOP QUALITY SERVICE.
Rodrigo Alvarez is the CEO of A&J Hospitality Management Services in Mexico. He has worked for hotels in South Carolina and Texas in the Rooms Division. In Mexico he has worked in the Rooms Division, Housekeeping, Front Desk, Maintenance and Marketing for 5 star hotels in Puebla. Rodrigo teaches at two universities and represents the American Hospitality Academy in Mexico. A&J operates 2 luxury small hotels and it's planning to expand.
Lic. Rodrigo Alvarez y Jiménez, CEO