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Roberta Nedry

An effective leader, an evangelist who believes the customer and guest will provide the bottom line profits they need, begins by understanding what to do. Next, he or she accepts, believes, values and internalizes the key concepts they expect of their employees. When both of these take place, these same leaders can "walk the talk." Desired behaviors only will take place when each leader and their respective managers and supervisors start modeling these behaviors to those they manage. When employees see their leaders actually leading by example, they feel good about their work and are more motivated to satisfy their guests. Guests and customers in general feel good when they deal with companies who seem to treat their people well. Read on...

Roberta Nedry

Money! Food! Shelter! And Love! The four cornerstones of life. Hotels plug into this formula when they provide food and shelter to guests in exchange for money from guests. But what about love? When "love is in the air" life seems so wonderful. When "wonderful" happens to guests, "wonderful" also happens to the hotel's bottom line. How do hotels get 'love in the air 'and why should it matter? When guests visit any hospitality venue, all their senses are potentially in play and can be turned on...or turned off. Each employee contributes to the comprehensive experience and mood of any guest, whether they are on the frontlines or behind the scenes. Guests will feel the impact of any inconsistencies along the way. Those organizations that create a consistent feeling of the desired service ambiance at every point of contact will be rewarded by guests who want more. Read on...

Roberta Nedry

Do you work hard for your guests, or do you make your guests work hard for you? Working hard to be a guest, or a customer, is not what most guests sign up for, especially those that are loyal. It can take years to get loyal guests, and only seconds to lose them. Loyal guests love to come back, when they feel loved too. They also spend more, are less price sensitive and enjoy telling others about their favorite spots. Wooing repeat and referral guests are part of a hotel's easiest and most profitable business strategies. It can cost up to 8-10 times more to get a new customer or guest, versus keeping and nurturing the ones you have. Why are the faithful so often treated so unfaithfully? Read on...

Roberta Nedry

"Windy weather, windy weather, when the wind blows, we all come together." The wind really blew in Florida during Hurricanes Charley, Ivan, Frances and Jeanne and this simple children's rhyme represents how Florida's hospitality industry responded. Faced with an unusually intense onslaught of this weather phenomenon throughout the whole month of September, the hospitality industry was forced to respond and react, prepare and respond, react and prepare, as each Hurricane seemed to target Florida with a vengeance. What happens to service during a natural disaster or threat or a surprise power loss of extended duration? How do hospitality leaders prepare their employees to deal with impending challenges and what happens to guests who drew the unexpected shorter straw in terms of the timing of their trips? How do hotels in particular prepare, react and respond? Are new policies and procedures put into place or are existing ones modified? How does a hotel ensure the safety of guests while still preserving some type of favorable memory? Does service still play a role and if so, what shape does it take and how are employees prepared to implement revised service scenarios? Do you have a "disaster service plan" in place? Read on...

Roberta Nedry

"I know you believe you understand what you think I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." Confused yet? Your guests probably are. Are your employees communicating what they want to say or what they want to hear? Are they really paying attention to guest needs and do they know how? Are they truly listening and then responding directly to expectations? For that matter, are they setting up expectations up properly? Take a close look at how communication can conquer or concave on a guest. Actions may speak louder than words but the words can play a big role in guest service outcomes. Read on...

Roberta Nedry

Concierge... the word appears almost everywhere these days as the ultimate symbol of personal service. No longer only the domain of the hotel lobby, the word "concierge" is appearing across all industries as an individual, whole departments and even virtual functions. When "googling" in the word "concierge" for an internet search, almost four and a half million choices appear. This is more than double the two million results of the same search done last year. The profession is hot and the demand is extraordinary. Consumers and guests are driving these increasing numbers with a frenzied desire for more personal service. At the same time, organizations are scrambling to convince a skeptical public that the personal touch still exists. They plug in the word "concierge" with hopes that the public will symbolically appreciate the effort yet many simply use the word or hire an individual without the essence and skills of the professional concierge. The ability to truly deliver exceptional service does not automatically appear by simply adding the word concierge. Organizations that hire properly trained, professional concierges will see significant impact to the bottom line and guest/customer satisfactions levels will soar. Read on...

Roberta Nedry

Survivor! The Bachelor and Bachelorette! The Millionaire! The Apprentice and good 'ol Average Joe! Who is for real these days and why has the issue of reality become so captivating for today's consumers? Why is "being real" or in some cases "not being real" so fascinating? How do real scenarios and events in today's world impact hospitality seeking guests? What reality do they want and are your employees prepared to give it to them? The service landscape has changed in the past few years and hospitality leaders must recognize why anticipating and defining expectations may be more important than ever. People, customers, guests want the real thing. Especially after events like September 11, they want to feel more secure, more safe and more reassured that their interests and concerns matter. They don't want to feel like their needs play second fiddle to corporate policies, complex chains of command or misinformed employees. They want a real connection. Read on...

Roberta Nedry

Your former employees are a powerful market target. They all ready know the message and product. They "bought in" to what the organization was all about when they joined. They do not need lots of advertising messages and persuasive literature to familiarize them with the product or environment. They are "ripe" for the marketing mix and they should be top picks for special promotions and communications. Your employees could and should be one of your most valuable conduits for new business. So...how do you refine service levels to this powerful group? Read on...

Roberta Nedry

When calling hotels and other hospitality organizations about making reservations, guests are often switched over to central reservations. Call centers become essential to managing call volume and efficiently plugging guests in to the appropriate locations. However, without proper training and information, that's where the disconnection can begin. How do off property call centers maintain the service connection and ensure a seamless introduction to the experience which guests' expect? If, as they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression, what training and direction towards the quality of that impression at the reservations center level can be most important ? Read on...

Roberta Nedry

Consider any one of the beautiful colorful postcards that arrive in guest mailboxes, showing new resorts and promising relaxing, memorable experiences. The mailer arouses the guest's curiosity and they call to learn more. The first person who answers the phone is not familiar with the mailing but knows enough to take the reservation. As the guest asks more questions about this new property, they get polite, standard answers that technically fill those guests' needs (restaurants, room profiles, property features, etc). However, they don't get the feeling, the ambiance or the excitement that the mailer was able to communicate with a picture and a few simple words. Those intangible qualities, the promise of service and the possibility of a new, memorable experience are what motivate guests. Now that guest is confused. Which source is to be believed more...the mailer or the person? Will guests get what they really want when they get there? Read on...

Roberta Nedry

A man sitting in a restaurant was waiting for his soup appetizer. When it arrived, the man noticed a fly in his soup. He summoned the waiter and asked, "Waiter, what is this fly doing in my soup?" The waiter calmly replied, "Why, I believe he is doing the back stroke sir." While this joke has been told many times to amuse patrons everywhere, the unappealing prospect of scenarios like this really happening is far from amusing. As summer kicks into full swing, hot weather strikes, the bugs come out, attitudes relax, food seems sloppier and dirt makes bold appearances. Cleanliness is next to Godliness and so it goes in service too. Making sure clean is clear and constant for guests is a critical facet of service excellence. When places, people or things are not clean, the organization hosting those "unclean" environments makes a statement that they do not care and that there are other priorities which take precedence. Read on...

Roberta Nedry

It sounded good. It looked good. But did it really end up being good? Misleading hospitality messages turn potentially loyal guests into untrusting souls and those who won't come back. And since one bad story usually gets retold 10-20 times, each time with a bit more horror and drama (we all love to exaggerate and tell the bad stories), the long term impact and deterrent marketing can be powerfully disturbing. As the Halloween season winds down, make sure using disguises is not a year round event relative to service delivery. Consider evaluating if your messages simply lure guests in or if they really deliver what the message promised. When hotels or other organizations promise hospitality on a variety of levels and the guest signs on, excuses and problems are not an option. Read on...

Roberta Nedry

"Happy New Year 'Sweetie'! What can I get you?" "Hey 'Honey', let me help you with that?" "Let me put you on hold, 'Doll', while I check for you." Aaaaggghhh! I don't know these people?!!! Do they think they know me well enough to forego all formalities? Why are they using such familiar terms upon our first encounter? I can actually feel the hairs on my neck stand up one by one when I hear these names. In a society that is often much less personal than it used to be, this is the other extreme...way more personal than appropriate. Read on...

Roberta Nedry

PLEASE light my candle! All the other table candles in the restaurant were lit, except ours. The time was twilight and we had a water view from our table. PERFECT timing for a lit candle. Our nice setting quickly became an incomplete experience. None of the waiters or waitresses noticed nor could we get their attention until several minutes later. Why use the space for a candle that only sits in darkness? We were disappointed that this little gesture was an oversight and a detail that did not seem important. Big service opportunities come in little service gestures. Little efforts can score big with guests. Those hotels and resorts that do take the time to invest thought and effort in the smaller moments and gestures will score big in the overall guest experience. Read on...

Roberta Nedry

What happens when great hotels or great hospitality organizations, with great reputations, become legends in their own minds and less than so in the minds of their guests? How can a hotel that has worked so hard for fantastic fans and award-winning applause neglect a foundation of service and respect that won the fans and awards in the first place? Why would management take greatness for granted and simply ride a reputation? Who benefits, who does not and who CARES when service is on auto-pilot and the team rests on their laurels? I was overwhelmed with these questions when recently visiting one of my favorite hotels in one of the greatest seaside destinations in the country. Read on...

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Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.