Hotel Online Special Report
Measuring Training in the Hospitality Industry 
Also See: Most Popular Amenities
Is Your Guest Comment Card too Complicated?
By Harry Nobles - December 1998 

You are a conscientious owner or manager; You take employee training seriously and have trained your employees well.  You have trained your new hires in the tasks they need to know to do their assigned jobs; you have trained or retrained your experienced employees so they can do the job the way you want it done.  You can now sit back, make up the work schedule, deal with a few occasional problems, do performance reviews and other paperwork, and reap the rewards.  Right?  Not quite.

You are now ready to begin an essential step in the training process: measuring the effectiveness of your training.   Accurate and regular measurement will help you accomplish several things:

 Identify weaknesses in your training program
Identify employees who need more or different training
Identify employees who should be recognized for superior performance
Identify employees who must be reassigned or terminated

Before you can deal with any of these points,  you must first identify them.  Regular measurement is a proven way to do this. How do you measure your training?  Should it be a  formal or informal system?  Should your employees be told their performance is being measured?   These are just a few of the questions you should have at this time.

While the specific answers may vary a bit depending on your property and organization,  some basics remain constant.  Any effective measurement must meet certain criteria.  It must be consistent, focused, and objective.

1.  Consistency requires that measurement follow certain guidelines.  Conditions and parameters must be constant for each measurement.  This includes the qualifications and characteristics of the person or persons doing the measurement, and the actual conditions under which they make the measurement.  Any change in the standard being measured requires a corresponding change in the measurement tool.

2.  An effective measurement system must focus on the specific standards to which employees have been trained.  Employees must be trained to perform tasks exactly to the stated standard, and all measurement must evaluate the standard exactly as it was trained and exactly as it is performed.

3.  Objectivity requires that all standards meet the following criteria:

A.  They must be clear
B.  They must be observable
C.  They must be measurable
D.  They must be positive 

Please consider this example:

STANDARD: "Telephone is answered by 3rd ring; the answerer greets the caller, identifies location, states his or her name, and offers help".


This standard meets the stated criteria, and is easily measured by the observer.  The answerer either meets the standard or does not.  There is no ambiguity, no need for subjective speculation. 

A recommended sequence for the establishment of a measurement system is:

Clearly define job tasks and standards
Ensure that your employees know exactly what is expected of them
Determine who will measure job performance
Conduct regular measurement

Once you have established and implemented your measurement system, you must record the results so you can use them to determine the effectiveness of your training.

Standards must be reviewed regularly to ensure they accurately reflect and support your property?s mission and goals. Do not hesitate to make changes as needed. 

You should consider your measurement system an integral part of your training program.  Besides the other benefits, regular and objective measurement of your training will help enforce accountability.  No training program can achieve long term success unless managers, supervisors, and employees are held accountable for the results.  There must be a consequence for failure to perform tasks to the required standard.  Failures cannot be identified and documented without regular and accurate measurement of job performance; once identified, the failures can be corrected.  The most positive result of measuring job performance is that it allows you to recognize and reward good employees. 


Most Popular Amenities

According to a recent survey by an industry trade publication, some of the more popular guest amenities are:

On-site bar and/or restaurant
Complimentary breakfast
Advance check-in and check-out
Room service
Transportation to and from the airport
In-room coffee

The survey shows that 50% or more of the more than 9000 respondents say they use these amenities regularly.  This particular survey, which included hotels ranging from budget to luxury level, also showed that fewer than 1/3 of respondents say they regularly use in-room minibars, fax machines, and on-site business services.

While broad range, industry-wide statistics are always interesting, I would suggest you look at your guests? usage of your facilities and amenities to see what they really use.  I also suggest you pay particular attention to your comment cards to see what your guests are telling you about the amenities and services you offer, or do not offer.  Please remember the old adage in this business: DON?T WORRY! IF YOU DON?T TAKE CARE OF YOUR GUESTS, SOMEONE ELSE WILL.

Is Your Guest Comment Card too Complicated?

What do you really want to know from your guests?  Do you really want their opinion or evaluation on every single detail of their stay?  Do you really think your guests have the time, or will take the time to complete a multi-page, 15-question comment card?

Don?t you really want to know:

1.  Were there any problems with your stay?
2.  Will you stay here again?
3.  Will you recommend us to your friends and business associates?

I would suggest you look at your current comment card to see if you are asking your guest too many questions, and asking them to take too much time responding?  Perhaps a shorter and more focused comment card might generate more usable information.  When you want more detailed responses and want to solicit more specifics from your guests, you might consider phone and direct mail surveys or focus groups.

Harry Nobles Hospitality Consulting 
POC: Harry Nobles
E-mail:  [email protected] 
Phone:  757-564-3761
Fax:        757-564-0076
Pager:  800-577-7468  PIN# 303-9130
  • Former head of AAA Lodging/Dining Ratings Program. 
  • An independent consultant serving the hospitality industry. 
  • A Special Training Consultant to the Educational Institute, American Hotel/Motel Association. 
Also See: Hotel.Online Viewpoint Forum: HR Metrics and Training Department Metrics 
1997 Lodging Industry Training and Technology Study / EI / May 1998 

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