What Happens in Vegas… is a Laboratory for Global Hospitality Design

By Scott Acton CEO & Founder, Forte Specialty Contractors | February 17, 2019

Dog years. That is a relatively fitting metaphor for describing the life expectancy of most hospitality spaces in Las Vegas – guest rooms, entertainment venues, restaurants – compared to the same types of spaces located on hospitality properties elsewhere.

The catalysts for this accelerated aging process, not surprisingly, are the wear and tear inflicted by millions of monthly visitors – 3.7 million, roughly the population of Los Angeles, visited in October alone – and the hyper-competitive marketplace that produced nearly $1 billion in revenues for the gaming industry that same month.

That's about 24 visitors for every one of Las Vegas's 148,000 hotel rooms. The extreme occupancy rates -- 91 percent, which is about average, in October – punishes guest rooms and forces owners to engage in a perpetual effort to redesign and renovate their properties to out-dazzle each other, and gain a slightly bigger share of that $1 billion jackpot.

What was fresh and energized only a few years ago shows its age very quickly. Now older and tired, the puppy that once stopped passersby in their tracks only attracts fleeting glances from across The Strip.

For those of us who live, design and build in Las Vegas, the short lifespan creates a perfect laboratory to test successes, failures, and solutions for their long-term durability. We are able to constantly refine best practices that reduce construction costs, increase longevity and boost profits.

My company, Forte Specialty Contractors works with clients around the world to ensure their properties are memorable and difficult to leave. Though our work is international, our headquarters and a significant portion of our portfolio is in Las Vegas, where the accelerated timelines provide a perpetual, real-time snapshot of how design impacts customer decision-making and how well it supports profits.

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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.