How To Avoid Hiring Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde

By Doug Walner President & CEO, Psychological Services, Inc. | September 02, 2010

Making bad hires in the hotel industry can result in more than just lost time and wages, extra paperwork and personal trauma for those involved. It can cause severe, even irreparable, damage to a hotel's reputation and loss of revenue due to cancellations, lack of repeat business and poisonous word of mouth.

Hotel guests all have memorable moments about their stay. For some, it's the spectacular oceanfront view. For others, it's the four-star steakhouse downstairs. Amenities like pillow-top beds or HD TVs might also linger in their minds.

But for the discerning guest, it's the four-star customer service...or the lack thereof. If a guest is left uattended at check-in or has to wait over an hour for his luggage to be delivered to the room, the blame isn't going to fall solely on the shoulders of those responsible for those tasks. It's the hotel as a whole that will suffer.

Customer service positions are key to the performance of virtually every business organization. In the hotel industry, however, customer service can truly spell the difference between success or failure. It is, therefore, not only important, but crucial, for hotel management to hire employees who best personify their establishment.

Ten years ago, before the terms "internet" and "blogging" became household words, hotels were rated by a select group of professional travel writers and industry experts with names like Fodor and Frommer. Fast forward to 2006, and it's a whole new ballgame.

Travel and hospitality websites like CitySearch, TripAdvisor and TravelPost provide open forums where anyone can post a "user review." Anyone who's had a negative experience with Hotel X can rant; anyone who's had a positive experience can rave. But let's face it. Those surfing the net for "user reviews" aren't doing so to hear glorious praises from biased parties; they want to know the "horror stories" -- what could impact them.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.