What Have You Done For Your Hotel Employees Lately?

By Steven Belmonte CEO, Vimana Franchise Systems LLC | October 28, 2008

I recently read an article written by Ron Huxley, a child therapist, titled "Moral Development of Children: Knowing Right from Wrong." In the article, Huxley told this story: "On my way to work one morning, I witnessed a heart-warming event. A group of elementary school girls were running down the street, laughing out loud as only little girls can. At first, I thought it was just the innocent giddiness of young children. Then, I saw the girl running behind them. She was a larger girl, desperately trying to catch up, and yelling for them to stop. As I past them, I looked back in the rearview mirror to catch one last glimpse of the cruel situation. To my surprise, I saw one of the girls who had been in the front, stopped on the sidewalk, waiting for the other girl to catch up. As a parent, I wanted that to have been my child, if a similar situation ever presented itself to them."

Let's look at this scenario from a hotelier's viewpoint. How often do you as a hotel owner or manager stop to help an employee who may be struggling to keep up with his or her day-to-day tasks? What have you done to motivate the employee who simply doesn't care about doing a good job or going the extra mile to please a guest because it's just a job, a way to collect a paycheck?

Perhaps as you read this you are saying to yourself: "Why should I bother? Industry indexes show that turnover can range from between 100 percent to 150 percent annually. Why invest my time in an employee who will just turn around and leave soon anyway?"

Here's one reason: A guest loyalty study conducted by the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration on "understanding the differences between switchers and loyal 'stayers' found that STAFF ATTITUDE was directly correlated to the overall satisfaction level of guests, and therefore the propensity for loyalty."

So how do you build a satisfied and valuable workforce with a positive attitude? You do so first and foremost by showing your employees that they are important to you. Mentoring is one way: Growing people in their jobs, people who have pride, who really care, and who will develop into new leaders for the future. Offering financial incentives and voluntary benefits programs to employees is another - and it may be a quicker, more readily accepted way to build employee loyalty.

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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.