Seven Hot Trends in Management Techniques

By Michael Goldstein President & CEO, Packard Hospitality Group | December 01, 2008

It's no surprise when I tell you that today's traveler has an overwhelming number of options available when selecting accommodations for business or leisure. The industry has become so keenly tuned in to what today's travelers are looking for, making it a challenge to rise above the competition and differentiate oneself from others.

We've equipped our stylish guest rooms with the most current, cutting-edge technology, provided unparalleled bedding made from the finest Egyptian cotton and luxurious spa-like guest baths and products. Yet all of those amenities and appointments can quickly dissipate in the eyes of our guests if they do not encounter employees who are responsive to their needs and sincerely hospitable.

Simply put, it's paramount to remember that the most logical and practical way to outperform your competition is directly through your employees. They are the ambassadors for your hotel - and should be recruited and trained to complement and enhance your multi-million dollar assets.

Recruiting Beyond the Classifieds

Many of us recall when recruiting for an open position simply meant that the personnel department placed an ad in the Help Wanted section of the local newspaper. That longstanding practice was routine and perfectly acceptable. Today, hotel management must be ready to recruit in increasingly creative and innovative ways. To catch the eye of the most qualified recruits in the hotel industry, think beyond common methods.

If you don't already, start using your company's blog to promote job openings. Encourage valuable staff to participate in a referral program that offers incentives if their suggested recruits prove a good match for the hotel. Have representatives at college fairs and local professional industry-related events - know your "backyard" talent. Advertise on professional organizations' websites. Offer competitive internships for college students. Bring department managers together regularly to discuss bright stars among staff - people who may be inside recruits when positions become available. In other words, cast a wide but targeted net to catch the best and the brightest.

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.