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How Would Your Hotel Obituary Read?

By Joseph M. Gravish, February 2009

It was a sad day. 

I recently attended the funeral of a friend – a former co-worker. Despite being in apparent good health and only middle-aged, he left us suddenly one night while exercising. He was a department head at a local hotel for over 20 years.

He was well-liked and respected.  He’ll be missed by his wife and children, family, friends, co-workers, especially his team members, the community and his fellow congregants.

While listening to his biography being read during the funeral service this thought occurred to me: how would your hotel’s obituary read if it had to close, suddenly, without warning? So I’ve written one. Would yours read similarly?

“The (insert name of hotel)

The (insert name of hotel) was opened on (insert date and year) by (insert owner). Through the years the hotel and its employees were major contributors to the growth of the local community. (Insert owner) also owned and operated (list other properties and locations). 

The (insert) was well known for its products and services, and how management appreciated the contributions made by its employees. Many young people returned each summer to work, later furthering their education with the help of the hotel, and returning here to open their own businesses.

The property was always impeccably maintained, invitingly so. People came from near and far to enjoy their outstanding food and personalized service. It was awarded the (insert brand name) ‘best hotel of the year’ award in (insert year/s).

The hotel was also consistently listed among this city’s ‘best places to work’. Wages were above the industry average attracting the best applicants to our area. Benefits were appealing and many of the staff stayed for decades, in turn contributing to this area’s growth and success. 

The hotel was frequently remodeled ahead of competitors to maintain its reputation as an industry leader. Local construction companies rather than out-of-the-area contractors were used bringing needed revenue to numerous small businesses here. Over the years the owner, (insert name) and many of the hotel’s management staff were cited by the local chambers of commerce, not-for-profit service organizations and churches for their volunteer activities and notable contributions.

No details are currently available as to why the hotel closed. But it will be missed - by many.”

Would your hotel’s obituary read similarly? Would it even be missed? Or would anyone really notice?

Would anyone attend the funeral service for your hotel? Would they mourn its passing by recounting their favorite stories and experiences? Or would they simply say “good riddance”.

If you’re looking for purpose, creating a mission statement, developing an organizational service culture, setting goals, or establishing management-employee relations policies and procedures, I suggest the best place to start might be at the end – by looking and working backwards. 

Perhaps the answer to creating a good business reputation begins by deciding what you want to be said about your hotel when it’s all said and done - by writing your hotel’s obituary.

Mr. Gravish is a human resources professional with over 25 years leadership experience in numerous customer-service environments. He is an advocate of building profitability and success through, and by, people – first.

Joseph M. Gravish

Also See: Maintaining Hotel Employee Productivity and Morale in the Face of Doom and Gloom / Joseph Gravish / January 2009



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