How to Keep Hospitality Entertaining

By Mark Ricketts President & Chief Operating Officer, McNeill Hotels | December 30, 2018

The passionate airline pilot loves soaring above the clouds, savoring the feeling of power and freedom from our home planet's strong pull. However, when "on the job," she or he must attend to a long, prescribed protocol of pre-flight, takeoff, in-flight and landing procedures and responsibilities. It takes knowledge, experience and attention to detail, as well as being able to react at a moment's notice to a "change in flight plans," to safely and productively navigate to one's destination.

Similarly, in operating a hotel, our staff must attend to what is a complex list of mandated policies and procedures, not to mention record keeping and having to manage a tremendous flow of information. The tasks can come fast and furious at times. No matter the job description or level of our organization.

Moreover, caring for our guests takes a subtle blend of these technical skills, along with a keen understanding of human nature and a genuine interest in making someone's stay as accurate, comfortable and rewarding as possible. When done well, our capabilities and motivation are proudly on display.

However, as we are often reminded in life, all work and no play can dull the edges of that pride and motivation. There are many ways to break up the routine of hospitality, while at the same time reinforcing a sense of teamwork, involvement with community and, in a gentle way, instilling a healthy sense of competition. This article will explore ways to keep hospitality entertaining without going overboard, especially for those good people who serve our guests-reinforcing the clear vision that "it's fun to be in this career field."

Our Many Audiences

Whether we are interacting with guests, brand partners, vendors and suppliers, local business people or the community as a whole, working in hospitality is interwoven with the experience we create for these constituencies or audiences. In particular, this is a principle that we hear discussed more and more these days with respect to a wide range of guests. This means everyone from young adult business or leisure guests wanting their company's or their own travel dollars to yield more than a room, with or without a view, to seniors who don't mind some coddling and a watchful eye on our part making sure that everything is OK.

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Coming up in June 2019...

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.