Employee Appreciation Programs

By Zoe Connolly Co-Founder & Managing Director, Hospitality Spotlight | January 24, 2016

Appreciation programs can range in scale and cost. They can focus on recognizing individuals, promote teamwork and/or help employees achieve goals. Before implementing a program, hotel leadership should take time to identify the areas where they are hoping for improvement. To do so, they can consider a variety of quick (but effective) steps to make these programs more effective (and therefore, more impactful in terms of ROI). For smaller operations and corporations alike, the planning phase should start with hotel managers. It's important to identify the improvement areas these key leaders believe are most critical. Is there a morale problem at their location? Are there regular personality clashes between staff members? Perhaps most importantly, what is the most common guest feedback?

For corporations, it's important that this information be gathered and analyzed. Is morale a problem across the entire company, or an isolated concern at one or two locations? Is an inability to retain great employees hampering growth efforts and ultimately hurting shareholder value?

Following are some examples of different programs that can be implemented at individual properties and initiatives that can be launched across organizations. Some of these may seem simple, or like common sense. However, as you're reading them, ask yourself how many of these "simple" programs your hotel has actually implemented. Oftentimes, a little appreciation goes a very, very long way.

Location by Location

There are obvious constraints implementing appreciation programs at each location. These range from the costs associated these types of programs to the reality that these programs are another checkbox on a team of employees' to-do lists. However, here are a few simple programs that have very limited costs, and in some cases, allows employees to work on their to-do list on the schedule they're most interested in:

  • Lunch With Another Employee - (a co-worker of the winner) and the boss- This
    is a perfect way to give your employee a nice meal but also chat about
    anything and everything. Bringing a colleague often allows people to be more
    forthcoming (it eliminates the awkward situation where an employee doesn't
    feel comfortable being open). "Lunch on the boss" can be offered as a reward
    for an employee who's done something exceptional. It can also be a perk in
    which employee names are drawn out of a hat once per month.

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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.