Ownership: Your Guests Tell the Story

By Marcus Nicolls Senior Vice President and Business Unit President, Partners in Leadership (PIL) | May 03, 2015

Want people to say good things about your hotel? The key: create a guest experience like this one from the Hyatt Regency in Chesapeake Bay. A colleague of ours had arrived to give a keynote address to a large global audience. He arrived dog-tired after an intense client schedule the prior few weeks. He was exhausted and thoroughly spent-and it turns out he had contracted the norovirus on his trip. Now in Virginia, it hit him in full force at what couldn't have been a less opportune time. At check in, he mentioned he wasn't feeling well, and after barely making it to his room, he dealt with this violent illness as most of us would-curling up on the floor and wondering how he would make it through the night.

Within a few minutes, there was a knock at the door. He literally crawled to the door and was astonished to see the front desk clerk with a complimentary ginger ale and bottle of Pepto-Bismol. Oh what a relief it was! Clearly, he thought, this is above and beyond the call of duty. Our colleague expressed thanks as well as he could and went to bed. In the morning, he was still sick and in no position to give his speech. He arranged for a colleague to fill in while he continued battling the sickness.

By early afternoon, and still clutching the empty ginger ale bottle, there came another knock. This time it wasn't the front desk clerk, but the property manager with another ginger ale, a bowl of soup, a box of saltine crackers, and a "get well soon" card from the staff.

"Is there anything else I can do?" the manager asked.

"Well, when I was growing up," our colleague responded, "my mother would give me popsicles. Boy, could I use a popsicle right now."

"I'm on it," was the manager's reply.

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Coming up in April 2019...

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.