Today's Human Resource Director: New Attributes in Times of Change

USA , Miami , Florida. February 27, 2019

Having read this far, no doubt you are probably wondering what fairy tales, video clips and a gum ball machine have to do with your hotel. It's simple; they lead to the inescapable fact that B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore hit the nail on the head in their definitive book The Experience Economy. This 1999 classic showed us that just having attractive guest rooms, a nice spa and fast room service is not be enough for your brand to have economic value. Rather, business is entering "a new economic era in which all businesses must orchestrate memorable events for their customers [guests]."

Somewhere along the way, we came to believe that all it takes to generate value, loyalty, and great ambassadors for our hotel are outstanding facilities, programs, and services. And don't forget those loyalty programs. While that may have been true back in the 20th Century, it is no longer enough in 2019; these qualities are just expected in a hotel. To provide the kind of experiences that will drive guest value and hotel revenues, it takes more than top facilities and good service. It takes what Ken Blanchard, author of the One Minute Manager and Raving Fans calls, "Deliver +1", what the Cajun culture calls Lagniappe, what I call E3 - Exceed, Excel, Expectations, and what Joseph Pine and James Gilmore call the Experience Economy.

In fact, they say that the curtain has already risen on this new economic era in which businesses - including hotels - cannot just provide a place to sleep, eat, meet, entertain, party, workout, hang out, or relax. Instead, they must orchestrate memorable experiences for guests to increase the value score. They visualize a future where every hotel uses its facilities as props, its services as a stage, and its employees as actors intentionally creating lasting, memorable experiences for its guests.

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Coming up in April 2019...

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.