The Staging and Lighting a Hotel Executive Needs to Succeed

A Platform and a Pulpit

By David Muller Founder, DCM Fabrication | October 18, 2015

At some point, almost every hotel executive will be a sponsor, featured speaker or presenter at an industry trade show, or some regional, national or international exhibition on behalf of the hospitality business. But, before that person delivers his or her remarks, before that executive captures the audience's attention through a combination of conversational eloquence, calibrated (not canned) humor and insight, there must be a stage and lighting – a literal platform – for that individual to walk across and stand upon, with confidence and style.

Building that stage or booth is a priority. For this assignment is not a Do It Yourself (DIY) project like unpacking a piece of furniture from IKEA, with the enclosed directions, Allen key and plastic pouch containing the screws, bolts, pegs and washers to “construct” whatever desk, chair, bookcase or nightstand that lies scattered across a kitchen floor or a basement workshop.

The staging and lighting a hotel executive needs is not a matter of carpentry. Nor is it a modular, fold-and-flip piece of equipment that fits in the trunk of a car like a vacuum cleaner (next to the requisite packets of dirt, grease, oil and mud), to be unleashed by salesmen and corporate journeymen who travel the Interstate from dusk till dawn, save the door-to-door canvassing they do in the suburbs of New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit and Denver.

A hotel executive must have a condensed version of his or her property, which looks like a snapshot of the real thing.
Picture the boutique within a boutique atmosphere of a fashion designer's space at a high-end department store. Look at the way Ralph Lauren separates himself from other brands by having his own mahogany and brass enclosure, with his name and logo (in gold) positioned on the horizontal space directly above the rows of color-coordinated cashmere sweaters, Polo shirts, shorts, dress shirts and silk ties.

Showcasing that spirit and sense of place is just as important for a hotel executive as it is for a famed fashion designer. The materials may be different, and the look and feel of the presentation may owe more to a Mediterranean destination or some other exotic locale than an urban emporium of Made to Measure suits, tailored tuxedos, and custom-made shoes and accessories; but the reproduction of a portable set piece, something that bears the unmistakable atmosphere of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts (to cite a notable example), be it a property in the Seychelles or the Maldives or a Spanish Colonial Revival retreat along the Santa Barbara coast, must be both the foreground and the background that furthers a hotel executive's message.

Problems Happen when the Medium and Message Deviate

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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.