The Three Pillars of the Hotel Industry: Customer Service, Colleagues and Money

What You Can do to Make Financial an Equal Pillar

By David Lund Hospitality & Leadership Expert, The Hotel Financial Coach | January 22, 2017

Brands are asleep when it comes to the opportunity they have to increase their effectiveness by creating financially engaged leadership teams in their hotels. Brands sell expertise to owners. Brands need to realize the key to mastering the third pillar, the finances starts with investing in financial leadership training in their hotels. Brands mandate guest service and colleague engagement programs and the owners pay the tab. The exact same relationship exists for financial leadership training and everyone wins, the owner, the leaders and the brand.

Pillar 1 – Guest Service  

We manage guest interaction with an understanding and belief that we're all invested in good guest service. Even the departments that don't have direct guest contact help support the colleagues and departments that do. We are all responsible. Good guest service is a no-brainer for anyone in the hotel business. It's the very moral foundation that our business is built upon. Finding ways to increase guest service is just good business. We invest in guest service at all levels in our hotels and we take the function of providing great service very seriously.

In branded managed hotels, the management company typically has guest service programs that they have either created or they provide in alliance with a vendor. In addition, we spend serious dollars asking our guests how we are doing. Guest service scores are critical to the operations of the hotel. In every instance the brand mandates the guest service programs inside their hotels and the owners pay 100% of the tab, for everything related to creating and maintaining guest service. Many owners question the management company's programs, these can be very expensive and the results are hard to nail down. Annually the brand will send their hotels the yearly programs via the budget documents that outline all the programs the hotel needs to add to their upcoming year. Even if the hotel adds labor for training the owner, in the end, pays 100%.

When we think about a brand and its service reputation it's interesting to see through this mirage, to look and see that ultimately the owners of the hotels are paying to create the brand's service promise. This is largely a secret to most people. Understanding the relationship between the brand, the owner and what is created via this dance is an interesting segway. In most branded hotel's, the annual guest service score forms part of the executive team's bonus criteria and achieving the targeted number or better is a direct link to their pocket books. The last thing I will say about guest service is we do not tolerate leaders or staff that do not provide excellent service.  

Pillar 2 – Colleague Engagement

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Coming up in September 2018...

Hotel Group Meetings: The Need for Speed

2017 was a banner year in the Hotel Group Meetings marketplace and that trend is expected to continue throughout 2018. Planners are experiencing a renewed sense of confidence due to a reinvigorated economy and increased job creation, which typically provides a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are maintaining a fast and furious pace, and they are utilizing an array of technologies to speed things up. For example, planner requests and proposals are expected to be turned around quickly; the mantra seems to be “as soon as possible, or sooner!” To that end, the use of electronic Request for Proposals (eRFPs) to source hotels and venues has increased in recent years, bringing many timely benefits to the Meetings industry. As a result, in order for hotels to attract and book meetings, they have to be willing to operate with a sense of urgency, which is the new baseline for success. Once on property, the need for speed doesn't diminish. Poken is a cloud-based event management platform, which enables attendees to easily and quickly connect, network and share contact info. ClickShare is a wireless presentation system that permits others in the meeting room to share their laptop with the presenter screen at the push of a button. Skype is useful in order to engage with remote participants in real time, and dedicated apps are being routinely used to drive registration and communication before, during and after a meeting. Finally, text messaging is replacing emailing and phone calls simply because it's quicker. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.