How Meetings and Conferences Can Establish a Company's Culture
By Markus Mueller Vice President Global Sales, Worldhotels | September 13, 2015
Corporate Culture in Hospitality
What is a corporate culture and how is it developed? While there is a common agreement that there is such a thing like corporate culture and that it plays a crucial role in the behaviour and maybe even the performance of an organisation, there is still little consensus on what corporate culture actually is. There are many definitions around, ranging from "the way things get done around here" by Deal and Kennedy (1982) to more complex descriptions, for example by Hofstede (1980).
In any case, I'd like to refer to corporate culture as the collective of the values, beliefs and attitudes that define and drive a company. Like cultures in general, corporate culture is formed spontaneously, whether you foster it or not. It develops automatically wherever people come together to live and work – and it has a great impact on the way we interact with our stakeholders inside and outside of our corporation. In the hospitality industry, we have one of the closest connections to our customers since we serve our guests directly. Therefore, our guests get a taste of our corporate culture every time they interact with us. This interaction doesn't only start with the check-in at the hotel - it begins with the search for accommodations, continues throughout the booking process and culminates in the actual hotel experience. Managing our corporate culture throughout all channels is therefore crucial for delivering an experience that delights our guests and creates true loyalty.
The Importance of Knowing Your "Why" to Create Your Culture
But how do we establish the right corporate culture? One that inspires and motives our staff and guests alike? By starting with your "Why". As Simon Sinek said in his famous TED talk titled How Great Leaders Inspire Action: "People buy why you do it not how you do it." Becoming clear about your organisation's emotional "why" – or DNA – is therefore the first step in creating a strong corporate culture. A task easier said than done. In our day-to-day business – and especially in our industry - we tend to think in "how's" (processes and operations) and "what's" (products and services), but rarely in "why's". Every hotel manager will be able to explain to you the way his or her hotel operates and the products and services they offer – but only a few will be able to articulate their hotel's values and beliefs, or simply said: the reason they exist in the first place. This disconnect is deeply rooted in the standardized nature of our industry – a nature that hasn't changed a lot in the past years and that is now being challenged by a new generation of travellers.
The so-called Millennials, aged between 18 and 35, have become one of the most, if not the most, attractive and powerful target audience in the tourism industry. They travel more than previous generations and tend to spend more money during their travels – but they are also the hardest to catch as customers. While past generations were seeking security, standardized services and a hotel room filled with status symbols, the new segment of travellers is no longer looking for white-linen service, a concierge or in-room amenities. They want to feel a sense of belonging when entering a hotel, a true connection with their environment. They are no longer impressed by a receptionist asking them how their trip was or other scripted processes, but enjoy authentic and spontaneous staff interaction – for example seeing two hotel employees dancing in the lobby.
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