The World's Experts in the Palm of Your Hand

Hotel Executives and the Search for Excellence

By Brandon Xavier Founder, OnCall | July 26, 2015

Hotel executives face many challenges, starting with the need – no, the urgency – to provide an experience, to business travelers and vacationers alike, that is consistently excellent. These professionals cannot be right some or most of the time; they must be right, or at least try their best to be right, all the time. They must have a team of experts, from specialists with the most valuable of skills to consultants fluent in the nuances and vernacular of running a major property, hotel or resort.

To mix metaphors, and thereby conflate nautical images with more terrestrial pursuits, think of a hotel as a great ocean liner, which itself is a seafaring resort, with a massive infrastructure of pipes, engines, pressure gauges, propulsion systems and copper, nickel, bronze and aluminum propellers; a feat of mechanical wonder and engineering prowess matched by rooms, theaters and dining halls of equal magnificence, albeit of different design and purpose, where a vast array of chefs, servers, cleaners, greeters, carpenters, craftsmen, entertainers and performers, and administrators – as well as the captain himself – make a guest's experience smooth sailing, so to speak.

Finding those experts should not be difficult. Nor should hotel executives become prisoners of geography, limited by the few specialists who live and work near a particular hotel. Do not, in other words, expect to find an IT executive with 15 years of detailed work history, who also happens to be 40 minutes away (by outrigger canoe) from your intimate destination in Tahiti or the Maldives. That person may exist, but no hotel executive should deprive him- or herself of choices.

Why would any executive forgo the chance to access a global community of experts, when doing so involves nothing more than tapping an icon on your smartphone or tablet? The question is a rhetorical one because, when it is that easy to find, message and video chat with a specialist, it would be foolish to do otherwise. It would be a mistake not to assemble a virtual team of experts, including creators of everything from bespoke travel adventures to technical supervisors and business consultants, who can deliver the services you need – and the insight you require – without making you a hostage of your surroundings.

Think of this statement as an expression of confidence, based on a review of the innovation underway concerning iOS and Android devices that connect users with a global network of experts in a diverse number of categories. Knowing how critical it is to identify and hire the best talent possible is progress in its own right.

No doubt hotel executives share this sentiment, since they pursue perfection for the sake of their ideals and for the satisfaction of their guests. Perfection is a high standard – it is the highest standard – and, while we are an imperfect people on a seemingly futile quest, and though we may never attain the greatest good – it shall always elude us – that does not mean the journey (and the pursuit of the best experts) will not leave us wiser, stronger and smarter.

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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.