What Have You Done For Your Hotel Employees Lately?

By Steven Belmonte CEO, Vimana Franchise Systems LLC | October 28, 2008

I recently read an article written by Ron Huxley, a child therapist, titled "Moral Development of Children: Knowing Right from Wrong." In the article, Huxley told this story: "On my way to work one morning, I witnessed a heart-warming event. A group of elementary school girls were running down the street, laughing out loud as only little girls can. At first, I thought it was just the innocent giddiness of young children. Then, I saw the girl running behind them. She was a larger girl, desperately trying to catch up, and yelling for them to stop. As I past them, I looked back in the rearview mirror to catch one last glimpse of the cruel situation. To my surprise, I saw one of the girls who had been in the front, stopped on the sidewalk, waiting for the other girl to catch up. As a parent, I wanted that to have been my child, if a similar situation ever presented itself to them."

Let's look at this scenario from a hotelier's viewpoint. How often do you as a hotel owner or manager stop to help an employee who may be struggling to keep up with his or her day-to-day tasks? What have you done to motivate the employee who simply doesn't care about doing a good job or going the extra mile to please a guest because it's just a job, a way to collect a paycheck?

Perhaps as you read this you are saying to yourself: "Why should I bother? Industry indexes show that turnover can range from between 100 percent to 150 percent annually. Why invest my time in an employee who will just turn around and leave soon anyway?"

Here's one reason: A guest loyalty study conducted by the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration on "understanding the differences between switchers and loyal 'stayers' found that STAFF ATTITUDE was directly correlated to the overall satisfaction level of guests, and therefore the propensity for loyalty."

So how do you build a satisfied and valuable workforce with a positive attitude? You do so first and foremost by showing your employees that they are important to you. Mentoring is one way: Growing people in their jobs, people who have pride, who really care, and who will develop into new leaders for the future. Offering financial incentives and voluntary benefits programs to employees is another - and it may be a quicker, more readily accepted way to build employee loyalty.

Help Uncle Sam Help Them... and You!

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.