Examining the Purpose of Meetings

By Andy Dolce Founder, Chairman & Managing Partner, Dolce International | October 28, 2008

The way in which we conduct business today has truly evolved. From e-mail and instant messenger to telecommuting, teleconferencing and virtual world meetings, these modern day tools allow executives to go a full day without a face-to-face encounter.

While on-site meetings will always be an integral part of many businesses, the focus is becoming as much about building relationships as it is about learning. And with good reason. Personal relationships will always play a vital role in many industries and for these industries, networking and relationship building will always be a top priority.

Today's meeting planners have a lot more to consider than just booking sleeping quarters, outfitting seminar rooms with multimedia equipment and ergonomic chairs and organizing group meals. Meeting groups now require the latest in technology (Wi-Fi is a must), entertainment and amenities while also demanding the latest in comfort, cuisine and last but not least, an inspirational setting where business and bonding can be conducted in every corner.

The setting plays a huge role in creating a relaxing environment for learning and networking alike. A comfortable, peaceful environment, free from distractions, needs to also offer amenities and post-meeting activities that help attendees feel relaxed and special no matter what job title they carry.

At Dolce International, we found that inspiration comes from settings that draw energy and focus from natural elements and the environment, which are all integrated into unique design features at several of our properties. At Dolce La Hulpe Brussels for example, guests look out at 1,700 acres of forest from an open-floor design with floor-to-ceiling windows. Contemporary European design, modern furnishings, smart technologies and the integration of indigenous materials stimulate interaction with the stunning natural backdrop. The use of natural light adds energy to the space and allows attendees to feel a part of the great outdoors which is a nice change from traditional gray conference rooms.

Another example can be found at Dolce's Aspen Meadows Resort which features an environmentally friendly design that incorporates natural materials and cutting-edge building technologies. Nestled into the Rocky Mountains, this innovative new property incorporates flowing water, stone floors, an outdoor fireplace and awe-inspiring mountain vistas throughout the property all of which help stimulate the brain.

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.