Talking Turkey: Lessons Learned from Turkish Hospitality

By Roberta Chinsky Matuson President, Matuson Consulting | October 14, 2012

Those who know me well know that I love to travel. That's why I'm so keen on helping clients in the hospitality industry create memorable experiences for their guests. I'm fortunate in that I've been to more countries than I can remember, but I have never had the pleasure of visiting Turkey until this summer.

Hospitality is one of the cornerstones of Turkish life. The warmth, generosity, and attention to detail leave visitors like myself yearning to return. Here are some lessons direct from Turkey that can be translated easily by hotel providers in any country.

Reputation drives business

Travel decisions are being made today based on the advice of trusted friends (both real and social) and websites like the highly popular Tripadvisor. I can personally attest to the power of brand and reputation when it comes to the spending of tourist dollars, as these both came into play when deciding where to vacation this summer.

I first learned about Turkey when I asked my Facebook friends for recommendations on where to holiday with a family of four over summer break. I received an immediate reply from a friend, who also was a pilot for Continental Airlines, saying that his all-time favorite place was Turkey. How could I not trust the advice of someone who has flown around the world hundreds of times and has visited even more countries than me? He went on to talk about the gracious people of Turkey, and how hospitable everyone is in that country. I was intrigued. A number of friends chimed in with similar posts. A decision was quickly made, and we began the search for hotel accommodations.

Those in the hospitality industry know the importance of having others tout their wonderful experiences at their hotels. Few realize that the experience begins way before the guest ever arrives and continues long after people have departed.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.