Training and Maintaining Your Service Staff

By Juan Carlos Flores Executive Sommelier, Pueblo Bonito Hotels Resorts & Spas | October 28, 2008

We know that knowledge of special cuisine and wines is not easily acquired, but comes from the investment of time, study and money. How often we see the people we have spent months training in our restaurants or wine boutiques leave for other jobs, taking with them all they have learned from us. Here we will discuss not only motivation and incentives, but also the importance of making the small changes in our business that will encourage staff stay with us.

Understand Your Labor Pool

Having trained employees in various areas, I have seen an enormous difference between those in a cosmopolitan city where opportunities for work are relatively scarce and those in a growing new tourist-oriented locale where opportunities for work exceed the number of available employees.

It is certainly not a peace of cake to train personnel from cosmopolitan areas, but it is definitely easier. They have more competition for their jobs and don't want to lose them, so they pay more attention to any new information that can make them more skilled and improve their performance. We can teach them new things that will actualize them and create a continuous, successful training program.

This is more difficult to do in growing, tourism-driven areas. Why? Because as a general rule, people have come to these burgeoning new areas looking for opportunities to climb in the hierarchic pyramid and earn more money. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this. Actually, it is a wonderful idea to move and take new responsibilities in the same company or in a different one. There are always attractive opportunities in these growing new cities that keep people moving from one place to another, in "Rotation." When there is a large rotation factor, it is very difficult to train people and guarantee good service.

When I worked as a wine supplier, I used to visit every food and beverage manager and restaurant owner in the area and even help them train people with wine service and basic rules for pairing wine with food. It was great fun and everyone was happy with the results, especially because they had not had to pay for the training. This was an additional service I gave them just because they were my clients. Over time, these familiar faces that I saw in my courses were improving a lot in their wine knowledge and were asking for more information and about the possibility of visiting wine regions in their own and other countries. Some of these people had additional training sponsored by their companies, the owners of the restaurants or their bosses. In each case, the cost of the courses and trips was expensive, but not in every case did it achieve a positive result for the sponsor that paid for it.

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.


Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Holly Zoba
John Ely
Lily Mockerman
Roberta Nedry
Georgi Bohrod
David Ashen
Cristine Henderson
Paul Feeney
Jamie Womack
Scott B. Brickman
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.