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 What to Do? Improve Guest Services or Upgrade Facilities
by Harry Nobles

December 16, 2008 - The preferred answer would be to do both since these are the two key components of the guest satisfaction equation.  Unfortunately, in today’s climate of credit crunch and limited funds doing both at the same time may not be feasible, at least not in the short term.  

Successful operators are often choosing to enhance guest service while delaying or scaling back physical renovations.  Please note that I say “enhancing” guest services; I do not say “expanding”.   I see a major difference between the two.   Perhaps I can best illustrate by giving a specific example.   

A property is already providing room service delivery which is basically the “drop and run” variety; there is also a complementary daily newspaper placed at the guestroom door.

I would suggest enhancing the breakfast order delivery experience with a very simple, yet very noticeable addition.  To wit, when the guest answers the door, the server offers the newspaper to the guest and asks permission to enter the room for the purpose of setting up the food order or pouring beverages.   This is only an “offer”; if the guest declines, the server reverts to the original delivery standard. 

In those cases when the guest accepts, the additional time spent in the room is minimal.  There is no additional labor cost; some guests will actually increase the gratuity.  You have a win-win situation.  Guests who accept the enhanced service will generally be more satisfied and the server is usually properly rewarded; all at no additional cost to the property.

It is important to remember that improved guest service alone will not fully compensate for outdated and/or poorly maintained physical facilities.  Service enhancements can help to maintain a higher level of guest satisfaction when the full scope of desired physical improvements is not immediately doable.  Superior guest service consistently delivered even in trying times also sends a very powerful message to your guests.  They tend to be more loyal and more inclined to stick with you as you weather the hard times; this is particularly true when normal maintenance and upkeep are present.  Needless to say, housekeeping is always of key importance, even more so when new FFE is not immediately feasible.

I would suggest that you view this option only as a short term approach and not as an alternative to regular renovations and upgrades.  You may want to review your current service delivery standards and try to identify any opportunities for service enhancements at little or no capital expenditure.  You may find that service delivery can be improved with short on site training sessions.  In many cases the training needed is actually no more than a reinforcement of the basics.



Harry Nobles Hospitality Consulting
(757) 564-3761

Also See: My Dream Hotel? / Harry Nobles, October 2008
Hurricane Ike:  Challenges and Opportunities? / September 2008
Who Should Train Your Employees?/ Harry Nobles / September 2008
Designing for the Future a Key to Earning 4 or 5 Star/Diamond Rating / Harry Nobles / February 2008
Look for the Ducks / Harry Nobles / April 2007
How Should Casino-Hotels Be Rated? / Harry Nobles / April 2007
Is 'Mega Boutique Hotel' an Oxymoron / Harry Nobles/ December 2006
Hotel People I Have Know / Harry Nobles / October 2006
Now I’ve Seen Everything -  “Food Servers Employing the Internet to Divulge Names of Customers Who Tip Less than 17%”/ Harry Nobles / September 2006
Does Hotel Room Size Matter? / Harry Nobles / September 2006
If You Disagree With Your AAA Rating / Harry Nobles/ May 2006
AAA Evaluation Procedure: Is It Fair? / Harry Nobles/ May 2006
Four Star vs Mobil Four Star / Harry Nobles/ February 2006
Rating Condominiums / Harry Nobles / January 2006
AAA Five Diamond Lodgings; Chain vs Independent / November 2005
Katrina & Rita: Silver Lining or Opportunity? / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / October 2005
Our Dream Hotel / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / July 2005
Losing a Diamond or Star / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs /  March 2005
Ratings vs Guest Satisfaction / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / February 2005
Our "Pick of the Month" / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / November 2004
5 Star vs 5 Diamond: What’s the Difference? / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / November 2004
Strategic Alliance Announced, Committed to Hospitality Excellence / August 2004
Family Resorts: Suggested Strategies / Cheryl Griggs / July 2004
Are Small Resorts Unfairly Treated by the AAA and Mobil Rating Criteria / July 2004
Designing For Optimum Global Ratings / Cheryl Griggs / June 2004
QualAsia Formed to Provide Authoritative Organization to Inspect and Evaluate Hotels Across Asia; Harry Nobles Appointed Chairman of New Asian Hotel Rating Service / May 2004
Validity of Online Hotel Ratings / Cheryl Griggs / April 2004
Resorts Ratings Redux / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / February 2004
Are Your Trainers Trained? / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Thompson Grigg /  January 2004 
The Language of Service / Cheryl Griggs / October 2003
Hotel Renovation Ideas vs AAA Ratings Criteria / Harry Nobles / October 2003
New Employee Orientation: Necessity or Luxury?  /  July 2003
Save the Best - Replace the Rest / July 2003
AAA and Mobil Ratings As a Sales Tool / May 2003
How Well Do You Know Your Competitor? / May 2003
Our Favorite Hotel?  / March 2003
The Current Value of AAA Hotel Ratings / Feb 2003
Stars and Diamonds; Some Similarities and Some Differences / January 2003
AAA's Delay: Good or Bad? / July 2002
Timing Is Everything, Or Is It? / July 2002 
Boutique Hotels: Have They Gone Too Far / May 2002
People Really Do Make the Difference / Jan 2002
What Is a Boutique Hotel? / Dec 2001
The Non-negotiable Traits of Leaders / Oct 2001 
How Important is Service? / Sept 2001
Front Desk Service Mistakes / Aug 2001
Food & Beverage Mistakes & How to Correct Them / July 2001
Bell Staff Mistakes & How to Correct Them / July 2001 
Attitude vs Aptitude / June 2001
Female Business Travelers' Expectations / June 2001
Is Outsourcing Your Training a Viable Alternative? / June 2001
Unique Identity + Consistent Service = Success / May 2001
AAA Standards vs  Guests' Expectations / May 2001
Are Your Guests Better Informed Than Your Staff? / April 2001
Are U.S. Hotels Rated Differently From Other North American Hotels? / April 2001
The Design Theme - AAA / Mobil Ratings Connection / March 2001
Attitude Can Make the Difference / January 2001
How Should Casino-Hotels be Rated? / Dec 2000
Does AAA Rate Resorts Fairly? / Nov 2000
Is Your Property Suffering From Design Deficiency? / Nov 2000 
The Future of AAA Ratings / September 2000
What Is Your Optimum AAA Rating / August 2000
If You Disagree With Your AAA Rating…../ June 2000
Are AAA Ratings Always Accurate and Objective / May 2000
Creating Atmosphere / Jan 2000
What is "Atmosphere"? / December 1999
Maintaining Your AAA Rating / Nov 1999
Earning a AAA Rating vs Maintaining a AAA Rating: Which Is More Difficult? / Oct 1999
Can Outstanding Service Offset Hotel Physical Deficiencies in the Rating Systems? / Harry Nobles / June 1999 
Consistency: The Hallmark of a Fine Hotel / September 1999
Who Should Train Your Employees  / Aug 2000 
Mobil Travel Guide Announces 1998 Mobil Four-and Five-Star Award Winners / Jan 1998 
Key to Success: Training + Follow-Up / June 2000
The Legend of the Pineapple / Harry Nobles / Feb 1999 

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