6 tips on how you can get 4-star service from your staff
Like most trainers, I frequently engage participants in interactive activities that hopefully shift their paradigms. With one such activity, I give participants a list of like-hotels in a location they've never been to, and then have them each place a group sales or reservations 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 two participants in particular described their call experiences.
It is interesting to see how two different hotels within the same location, serving the same hotel market segment, recruiting from the same labor pool, and probably paying about the same base wages can have such extraordinarily different levels of hospitality and 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 in every guest interaction that day. 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?
Based on my observations as a hospitality industry trainer, it is 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. Instead, hotel guest service teams that make "extraordinary" guest services experiences an "ordinary" and daily event 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 is worked, the same number of calories is 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 every day, and mostly go home raving about how many nice, interesting, and appreciative guests they met that very same day in the very same area as the competitor down the road.
Doug Kennedy is President of the Kennedy Training Network, Inc. a leading provider of hotel sales, guest service, reservations, and front desk training programs and telephone mystery shopping services for the lodging and hospitality industry. Doug continues to be a fixture on the industry’s conference circuit for hotel companies, brands and associations, as he been for over two decades. Visit KTN at www.kennedytrainingnetwork.com or email him directly; firstname.lastname@example.org