Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.

Library Archives

Benson Brown

While the pressure of financial success weighs on every hotelier, so, too, should the need to operate responsibly. The approach of "we're too busy today, so we'll deal with it tomorrow" no longer works. Some of the initiatives shared here can be put into place with relatively low cost. There are some financial investments in eco-friendly equipment, particularly the larger initiatives, that may take five to ten years to realize payoff, however, the benefits of operating sustainably far outweigh the short-term pain. READ MORE

Mike Benjamin

Every hotel management team strives to create a service oriented culture. In today's fast pace world of technology, guest expectations and demands continue to go up every year. The best management teams realize that building a service oriented culture is much more than finding the right people and training them on the soft skills. Strong leaders realize hotels need to adopt technology and build a culture where preventing problems is as important as solving problems and staff are able to perform their job more effectively using the latest tools available. READ MORE

R.J. Friedlander

The methods we use have changed, but the cornerstone to great hospitality stays the same: great guest service and great guest experience. While service resolution has traditionally been in reaction to guest complaints after the fact, today we have can proactively catch issues or needs much earlier in the stay and deliver better results than ever. With the tools to gather guest feedback via a number of channels from various touchpoints and the processes to action operational and service improvements accordingly, we can leverage a combination of reactive and proactive methods to deliver exceptional guest experience. READ MORE

Robert Reitknecht

Industry leaders recognize the importance of culture and people for driving customer satisfaction in addition to technology and business processes. Hospitality organizations stand to significantly gain by focusing on these fundamentals, demonstrated by leading brands like The Ritz-Carlton and Hilton Hotels and Resorts. Research shows that engaged companies can grow profits as much as three times faster than competitors with employees who are 87% less likely to leave. Hotels must create a defined strategy for attracting, engaging and retaining the right people with the right cultural values to better compete and drive guest satisfaction. READ MORE

Mark Ricketts

In the midst of a busy day caring for guests, it is easy to get caught up in the policies and protocols of the many challenging tasks at hand. But, what happens when a novel challenge presents itself; and how do we build an organizational structure that inspires great guest service? The answer is in having a great foundation of shared values to guide our actions, inspire confidence and demonstrate that we can make a meaningful contribution to the guest experience. READ MORE

Alexander Shashou

When we look at other industries, we see how the likes of Uber and Amazon have revolutionized the face of customer service through technology. For something so important to hospitality, it's crazy to think that so little has changed. The problem is that the fragmented nature of technology used within a hotel makes operations and communication extremely challenging. It undermines staff confidence and impacts what all hotels strive for the most – an exceptional guest experience. Isn't it time for us to work with technology that bridges these silos and enables your staff to focus on what they should really be doing? READ MORE

Steve Curtin

In this article, based on an experience in October 2018 at a boutique hotel in Philadelphia, we will examine customer service quality that contradicts the organization's stated values and lofty mission statement. Too often, management assumes that the goal of managing performance is to ensure employees possess adequate job knowledge and demonstrate sufficient job skills; that is, to be deemed capable. But subpar service quality rarely has to do with frontline service providers' competency. More likely, service quality suffers due to a disconnect between employees' daily job responsibilities and an enduring organizational purpose. READ MORE

Coming up in July 2019...

Hotel Spa: Pursuing Distinction

The Wellness Movement continues to evolve and hotel spas continue to innovate in order to keep pace. Fueled by intense competition within the industry, hotel spas are seeking creative ways to differentiate themselves in the market. An increasing number of customers are searching for very specific, niche treatments that address their particular health concerns and, as a result, some leading spas have achieved distinction by offering only one specialized treatment. Meditation and mindfulness practices are becoming increasingly mainstream as are alternative treatments and therapies, such as Ayurvedic therapies, Reiki, energy work and salt therapy. Some spas specialize in stress management and offer lifestyle coaching sessions as part of their program.  Other spas are fully embracing new technologies as a way to differentiate themselves, such as providing wearable devices that track health and fitness biomarkers, or robots programmed with artificial intelligence to control spa environments, or virtual reality add-ons that transport guests to relaxing places around the world. Some spas have chosen to specialize in medical procedures such as liposuction, laser skin therapy, phototherapy facials, Botox and facial fillers, acupuncture and permanent hair removal, in addition to cosmetic body shaping procedures and  teeth whitening treatments. Similarly, other spas are offering comprehensive health check-ups and counseling services for those who are interested in disease prevention treatments. Finally, as hotel spas continue to become more diverse, accessible and specialized, there is a growing demand for health professionals with a specific area of expertise. There is a proliferation of top class, quality wellness practitioners who make a name for themselves by offering their services around the globe, including athletes, chefs, doctors, physical trainers and weight loss specialists. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.