Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Darling

Stephen Darling

Principal, Stephen Darling Hospitality Consultancy Inc.

After 40 consecutive years in hospitality industry in three countries, most recently as Regional Vice President for Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts in North America, responsible for identifying and securing management contracts on six projects in North America. Stephen now leads his own hospitality consulting practice as well as serving as a director on two boards. Darling readily admits that he entered the hospitality industry by default following two summers spent working as a bellman in one of Quebec City’s established hotels. Following this, he obtained a Hospitality Management Diploma at Concordia University, and subsequently did a BSc at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration. In addition to his many professional duties, Darling is known for sharing his years of hospitality experience and knowledge with industry colleagues and candidates. He sat on Vancouver Community College’s Hospitality Management Program Advisory Committee; was named Canada’s 2001 Hotelier of the Year by Hotelier Magazine; was Chair of Tourism Vancouver’s Board for 2002/03. He is a Past Chair of Vancouver Hotel Association and was a director of the Pacific Rim Institute of Tourism. Stephen was Co- Chair of the Yes 2010 team, which was instrumental in Vancouver’s bid for the 2010 Winter Olympic games. He earned his icd.d designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors of Canada and Rotman School of Management, and currently sits on two boards in addition to his project consulting practice. Darling’s hospitality practice currently includes two multi-national hotel management companies –for which he provides strategic development support in North America. Stephen is fluent in French and “manages to get by” in Spanish. Stephen is also a principal of Cayuga Hospitality Consultants. You can reach him via his website at www.stephendarling.com. Please visit www.stephendarling.com for more information.

Mr. Darling can be contacted at stephen.darling@shaw.ca

Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. 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.