An illustration of Customer Service that Costs Little and Delivers Much!

Originally posted on John J Hogan of HoganHospitality & HospitalityEducators Blog:

Airlines do not often have a reputation of delivering great customer service, but there are exceptions!   The same can be said for hotels……………….

What does your hotel do to deliver exceptional customer service?

Success does not come by accident or chance.

Contact us for assistance.

John.Hogan@HospitalityEducators.com or 602-799-5375

HospitalityEducators.com was created to help hospitality businesses address problems via a training and information resource site to help you increase your Hotel’s revenue, market share and profitability.  With more than 2,000 pages of tips, guides, best practices, strategies, plans, budgets, videos and resources, HospitalityEducators.com is the #1 independent website for hotel owners and managers.  This site can help you solve your problems now!      Read More  

KEYS TO SUCCESS  is the umbrella title for my ongoing programs, hospitality services and columns. This year’s writings focus on a variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my “HOW…

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Ten ways to reach 5,000+ potential customers for under $500| HospitalityEducators.com Tip of the Week

Over the last several years, I have shared ideas in columns that have  addressed the guest experience and delivering service.  These columns have generated a high level of reader interest and a future article will recap of some of their comments on impressions of service levels, customer expectations and service codes.

An underlying theme in these columns is the ongoing need for all of us to retain the “high touch” personality that is the heart in hospitality.  Technology is an important ingredient in the guest experience, but it is not the reason guests list when sharing why they make the decision to return to a hotel or to demonstrate loyalty.

Time for reflection

If you think back on your career, a major step was when you were entitled to your first business card.  That “entitlement” was sort of a rite of passage – a sign of having “made it.”  Chances are that you gave that card to as many people as you could – at least for a while.  As time wore on, you did not have to re-print as many as the first year.  Other things took priority. Technology took more of our time and communication focus.

Many successful people continue to re-order their cards regularly, as they find that business cards are one of the most under-utilized sales tools in the hospitality industry by many people.

Today, successful hoteliers, sales managers, general managers and owners value this low-cost, easy-to-carry, easy-to distribute sales piece as one of their most valuable tools. Prior to the late 1990s, most business cards were fairly basic – name, title, company name and address, phone number and perhaps the company slogan or motto.  Today’s cards contain much more information

  • the above basics
  • proper brand identity if you belong to a referral group or franchise
  • email and web-site address
  • social media information
  • cell or home number if you have the kind of position or personality that is service sensitive enough to warrant the kind of commitments that tell existing and POTENTIAL customers that you care MORE than your competition.  (Yes, I have a bias here regarding service.)

Today’s cards may be a dual or a tri-fold in design, listing

  • your property’s facilities in some detail, such as number and types of accommodations
  • banquet or meeting capacity
  • special services, such as saunas or spas, casinos or recreational facilities
  • amenities such as managers’ receptions or continental breakfast

Some include detailed maps from nearby interstate highways and others feature four-color photographs of the hotel or perhaps the view from the hotel’s front door.  The decision is yours on content, but your local printer, hotel association or franchise director can give you a wealth of options that have been successful for others.

After the cards are printed, what is next? The next is the fun AND critical part of using them effectively: distribution.

Following are some ideas we have seen used at hotels throughout the world:

  1. As an introduction to almost everyone you meet for the first time  – one never knows when they might need lodging/meeting/food services in your area
  2. In all correspondence – even with technology, everyone has some kind of card case or the option to paste the info into their computer from your card
  3. In all billing – a thank you on the back of your card can have great goodwill!
  4. In all payments – your suppliers also need edging/meeting/food services in your area at some point. We must all learn to regularly ASK FOR THE SALE!
  5. At all industry and business meetings – we all need to network
  6. In your restaurant – if you meet and greet guests (as either the GM, sales manager or restaurant manager). Let them know you care about them
  7. At check-in/out – A rack at the desk works for some hotels, but a sales manager or GM personally thanking EXISTING guests at checkout and asking them to return impresses many travelers.  Giving business cards is a reminder of the experience that they might relate to others back home. This is great referral potential and a way to build guest loyalty.
  8. For complimentary or discounting purposes when appropriate
  9. With all sales and marketing promotional pieces – put a name with the hotel and finally
  10. As a thank-you; a personal note is just that – a time taking, individualized sign of appreciation.

Business cards today can cost as little as five cents each.  Giving 20 out per business day equals roughly 100 per week, 450 per month and 5,400 per year. Can you think of any other personally delivered message that exists for under $500 a year?

              “In sales, you must make the customer remember you”                                            Victor Kiam, former owner, New England Patriots,  Former CEO, Remington Shavers

Keys to Success Hospitality Tip of the Week:

Focus on Operations & Profitability Recognize that supporting and offering English as a 2nd Language is an investment, not an expense for many areas in the hotel. It helps everyone to improve communication, to feel more involved and that the person learning English is cared about as an individual by the employer.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at  John@hoganhospitality.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements …………. And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.  602-799-5375 

As Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic mentors delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing the hospitality industry, I invite readers to visit our site that offers a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas that are designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.

Consulting Expertise and Research Interest

  1. Sales Management and training
  2. Turn-around and revenue management
  3. Professional Development for the Organization and the Individual
  4. Customer Service
  5. Making Cultural Diversity Real
  6. Developing Academic Hospitality programs
  7. Medical Lodging Consulting

If you need assistance in any of these areas or simply an independent review or opinion on a hospitality challenge, contact me directly for a prompt response and very personalized attention.

www.HoganHospitality.com Your Hospitality Resource for Hotel Owners, Innkeepers, Managers and Associations

A New Look at Family Business, the American Dream and Hospitality

By John J. Hogan, CHA CMHS CHE CHO

This should be either a required or recommended reading for hospitality and business development courses in Universities, as it sheds a different perspective on what should be important to define and achieve success.

Each of us feels we walk our own path and face our own individual struggles in life, and it is startling at times to realize how much we as people have in common regardless of our place of birth, our religion and our livelihood.

This 236 page book by Dr. Bharat Shah covers approximately 50 years in his journey and is an excellent example of the many life challenges we all face, whether the same or similar.

AMERICA – MY DESTINY contains a series of surprising contrasts in one family’s journey in India and the United States as they worked diligently to identify and embrace the best of both countries. The story takes place during a time when letter writing was the normal method of communication. Email, texting and cell phones were all in the future. The loneliness endured through separation of time and distance is expressed with such emotion as to be palpable for the reader.

Stories of the father’s successes and failures in business are detailed with examples of the bribery and corruption that was part of the everyday business world in the 1940s and 50s in India. The detailed descriptions of education in both countries reflect the sometime extreme efforts in learning new languages and new subject matter. The author shares the experience of adapting from a small village to a large city with the difficulties of trying to fit in. Education often comes from the classroom, but the author shares the life knowledge acquired in the street while moving to new cities, new states and finally a new country.

Discrimination is unfortunately real throughout the world, and the author relates heartfelt stories of intolerance felt at times in both countries. Some of the prejudice was based on religion, some on race; some appeared in business while other incidents were more personal.

The book offers insights on how life and personal relationships based on trust, integrity and honor were built over time. Dr. Shah explains how he came to study in America, because his bachelor’s degree earned in India was not enough of a basis for continued Indian education to become an engineer or doctor (the preferred paths for Indian men at the time). His stories of interacting and gaining knowledge about life in the US are touching and filled with many ups and downs as he first earned a Master’s Degree at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and then a PhD at the University of Utah in Logan.

The story continues in the late 1960s when the Vietnam War is still ramping up, jobs are scarce and the American dream is not quite as clear. Dr. Shah is recruited by Nabisco and sent to Parsippany New Jersey where he uses his degrees in food science . Several years later, he moves to Winston Salem NC to work for RJ Reynolds Foods where he continues his professional development in research and quality assurance.

Dr. Shah shares human interest stories of cross country drives to new jobs in a 1954 Pontiac or a 1971 Plymouth Duster – both without a radio or air conditioning, as these were options not in the budget. He tells of his three year courtship, which was conducted totally by mail. The reader can feel the challenges of religion and finances that the two families had to address, which was not easy in the 1960s in India.

The author’s father had an entrepreneurial spirit in India, and Dr. Shah apparently inherited it. He shares stories over a ten year period of ventures from gift shops to imported shoes. Some involved life time friends, while others unfortunately included partners who became greedy and broke the trust. Dr. Shah did not lose faith in himself or America, but continued to grow professionally. He did not want to enter the motel business as his brother-in- law did, but he did earn a commercial realtor license in North Carolina. This led to his first unintentional entry into the lodging industry, which became a life changing event.

He discusses learning about the workings of the political systems in North Carolina and how he discovered that business people can make a difference in their communities and states regardless of their place of birth.

Bharat is quite open about the mistakes he and his wife Milan made in their early days in hospitality, and how their belief in themselves combined with a focused dream gave them strength to move forward as they fine-tuned their business skills. They dabbled in apartment ownership, but recognized that working with honest partners could allow them to acquire or develop profitable hotels and achieve successes not possible in India.

Many businesses in America are family businesses and Dr. Shah describes how his family business came to include his two sons. Today, the Noble Investment Group is an exceptional example of how to achieve this on a larger scale. There are more than two dozen photographs in the book – some of family, some of business and all contribute to the flow of the stories shared.

Bharat devotes several chapters on the value of leadership and communication. He shares the values he found in working with others as an early leader in the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), which was created to provide Indian hotel owners a united voice in the industry. His stories of the early days with no staff, donated office space and an uncertain future all contribute to the overall story of how many Indians sought to overcome obstacles by cooperative efforts rather than confrontation. His comments on the insights and values provided by Mike Leven (then president of Days Inns) add to the authenticity of the 25 year history of AAHOA in 2014.

There are narratives of sibling sickness and contrasting healthcare systems. Dr. Shah relates personal medical issues that he has dealt with in the last 15 years without complaining, but solely to help readers appreciate the evolution of medical care over time.

The final chapter is directed at the new generations of Indians whose families have migrated to America. He offers his insights on family, education, leadership and values to those who may or may not be involved in what became his industry.

While I did not work directly with Bharat, I have met him several times and had the opportunity to interact with him about his journey. His family’s story is one of courage, of being able to adapt and of self belief.

Highly recommended!

Success does not come by accident or chance.

Contact us for assistance.

Hospitality.jpg

Kathleen and John Hogan    #2    DSCN0412John J. Hogan CHA CHE CHO and Kathleen Hogan  MBA CHO are the  co-founders of  HospitalityEducators.com, which was created in 2010 to be a resource for hotel owners and professionals as they sought to improve market share, occupancy, operational efficiency and profitability.

The husband and wife team are transitioning the original membership site concept and evolving the business model today to a focused resource offering consulting, training, and individualized support to both hospitality and other service businesses.   Services include keynote addresses workshops, online support, metrics measurement, marketing and customer service from a group of more than a dozen experienced professionals.   While continuing to serve hospitality, the demand for these types of services is growing and can be personalized.

John Hogan is also the principal of HoganHospitality.com, which provides a range of expert professional services for hotel owners, including professional development for organizations, training, consulting and expert witness services.

Contact information:  Kathleen Hogan  480-436-0283,

John Hogan   602-799-5375 or service@hospitalityeducators.com

 

Hospitality Tip of the Week from HospitalityEducators.com

Crowne Plaza

A Providence RI hotel salutes its’ customers and staff in a special way.

(A special tribute to Southwest Airlines crew, which is known for their unique approaches to customer service)

How do you say THANK YOU to your best guests?

 

Success does not come by accident or chance.

Contact us for assistance.

Hospitality.jpg

Kathleen Hogan Ireland Sept 2013John J. Hogan CHA CHE CHO and Kathleen Hogan  MBA CHO are the  co-founders of  HospitalityEducators.com, which was created in 2010 to be a resource for hotel owners and professionals as they sought to improve market share, occupancy, operational efficiency and profitability.

The husband and wife team are transitioning the original membership site concept and evolving the business model today to a focused resource offering consulting, training, and individualized support to both hospitality and other service businesses.   Services include keynote addresses workshops, online support, metrics measurement, marketing and customer service from a group of more than a dozen experienced professionals.   While continuing to serve hospitality, the demand for these types of services is growing and can be personalized.

John Hogan is also the principal of HoganHospitality.com, which provides a range of expert professional services for hotel owners, including professional development for organizations, training, consulting and expert witness services.

John Hogan Sept 2013DSCN0215

Contact information:  Kathleen Hogan  480-436-0283,

John Hogan

602-799-5375 or service@hospitalityeducators.com

Workshops Available include: 

From the Chalkboard to the Front Line

What They Don’t Teach You at Hotel School

Focus:

  • Hotel Profitability
  • Hotel Sales
  • Marketing Ideas
  • Hotel Operations

There will always be an ongoing debate on the comparative merits of experience versus the knowledge acquired in formal educational settings.   The best lessons anyone can learn from hotel schools include an awareness of what really occurs on the front line in the actual hospitality setting.  This keynote transitions the academic message to the real world of running a profitable hospitality business.

 Click    here   for Keynotes and Workshops Available 

http://www.HoganHospitality.com
Your Hospitality Resource for Hotel Owners, Innkeepers, Managers and Associations

How to Use Hospitality Consultants Effectively

My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions”
Peter F. Drucker, (1909- 2005) American Educator and Author

While Peter Drucker was not specifically a hospitality consultant, his contributions to both the “people and the process “components of business consulting are enormous and lasting, as evidenced by his significant works and books.

In a  column  I wrote several years ago, I shared a number of observations I made while I was conducting a multi-city series of programs on optimizing meetings success for Meetings Quest , when it was owned and managed by co-founder Barbara Cox-Dunn. http://www.meetingsquest.com/ . Today it is owned and managed by  Schneider Publishing

The observations I shared were about the stimulating and interactive discussions held on ways to optimize meeting success from various perspectives of professional meeting planners and hotels. Almost 50% of the time for the program was committed to small group discussions on problems facing all of these professionals in the same industry, but that have slightly different roles and responsibilities. Attendees comprise professional meeting planners from corporations and associations of every size, hotel managers and sales teams, representatives from convention and visitors’ bureaus, suppliers that serve all of the previous groups and independent professionals in the hospitality business.

I wrote the column, titled “5 Reasons Using A Qualified Consultant Could Make a Huge Difference in Your Hospitality Business” because there was such extensive cross-fertilizing of ideas and solutions among participants in the discussions mentioned above.

I also received a number of emails on the column, including this one: “ Having been both an exec using advice from consultants and now a consultant myself, I can only fully subscribe John Hogan’s comments and five reasons for a (good and qualified) consultant. I would like to add a sixth reason: The consultant is not emotionally involved and can thus provide very objective reasoning for a specific business situation.  John F. Edmaier CMM.”

Comments from other readers and attendees at the above-mentioned sessions generally complimented the potential value of consultants, but there was also caution sheared that consultants could also be a source of negativity if not used properly and effectively, as evidenced in this tongue in cheek “motivational message” from http://www.despair.com.

Consulting
.
This message paints the negative image of consulting, as that of people who “hang around until” it may be too late. When a project nears completion, new troubles seem to inexplicably appear. Those challenges could be in staffing, communication, technology, equipment or distribution of global reservations. Each challenge extends the consultant’s assignment and before you know it, the financial and time costs for the consultant’s services affect your income statement in an unexpected way.

To avoid this danger, I offer the following : Five Considerations in Hiring a Hospitality Consultant.

I don’t believe in just ordering people to do things. You have to sort of grab an oar and row with them.”   Harold S. Geneen, American Executive and CEO (1959-1977) of ITT, then parent company of Sheraton Hotels

I was a management trainee at the 1500 room Sheraton Boston Hotel near the end of Geneen’s affiliation with Sheraton. He was known as a taskmaster, but he also had the reputation for involvement with identifying problems and solutions.

1. Involve key staff. Staff buy in is critical when deciding to engage the services of a consultant The danger of failure grows enormously unless key associates are involved in the decision making process of hiring a consultant. I have seen organizations that did not take this proactive approach, and the resentment or negativity can torpedo the project before it really begins.

2. Set specific and clear expectations. Responding to RFPs and making effective presentations is one thing, but those proposals may not include measurable outcomes or results. Expectations should have clear and defined deliverables, including time and expense details.

3. Establish Accountability for each phase of a consultant’s time and interaction. Consultants may research, discuss and seek to get buy-in on solutions, but they cannot execute the final plan for an organization. It is therefore essential to identify those steps and actions the consultant is responsible and accountable for.

4. Define levels of authority. A consultant according to Drucker’s quote is one who asks questions and then shares counsel. Hospitality businesses, hotels and restaurants can receive exceptional counsel from consultants, but one should not allow them to run your hospitality business unless that was part of the expectations and accountability mentioned above. They probably do not know your hospitality business as well as or better than you do. They may have recommendations that can help you and your team, but senior management and/or ownership should stay involved in the process if you retain a consultant.

5. Match your needs with the specific consultant for your assignment. By this, I mean to be certain you retain the correct individual, as well as company (if applicable). Someone with exceptional credentials as a chef may not be able to design your dining room layout. Success as a sales manager in select markets may not translate into global marketing planning. Running accounting department receivables does not mean the same thing as effectively managing cash flow in tough economic times. If applicable, you might ask questions such as:

  •  What were the largest revenues they personally oversaw?
  •  how many people were on their staff?
  •  What was the turnover rate?
  •  Were they ever entrepreneurs who had to meet their own payroll?
  •  Did they ever have to pay their own business and property taxes, or did they rely on others?
  •  Other questions unique to your situation

There are advantages to both specialists and generalists in consultants, attorneys, doctors and other professionals. We are probably familiar with the expression to “walk the talk”. For purposes of this discussion, this means having personally handled similar challenges facing your hospitality business. My personal experience in retaining or serving as a consultant is to understand and match situations on a case by case situation.

Most consultants have some hospitality industry background but may have never owned their own business. They may have never owned or sold their own hospitality business prior to becoming consultants and do not understand the stress and pressures of operating a family owned business, as are so many hospitality businesses.

Consultants can be excellent resources. Use them effectively, by choosing wisely.

Keys to Success Hospitality Tip of the Week: Focus on Continuous Learning
Hotel Common Sense Philosophy #11 “DARE TO FAIL!”
John J. Hogan, CHA CHE CMHS CHO

part of the 15 Timeless Philosophies In Hospitality, A Keynote Address and Workshop

KEYS TO SUCCESS is the umbrella title for my current programs, hospitality services and columns. This year’s writings will focus on a wide variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my “HOW TO” articles and HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS. My segments Lessons from the Field, Hotel Common Sense and Principles for Success will be featured at appropriate times in the year as well.

Success does not come by accident or chance.

Contact us for assistance.

Hospitality.jpg

Kathleen Hogan Ireland Sept 2013John J. Hogan CHA CHE CHO and Kathleen Hogan  MBA CHO are the  co-founders of  HospitalityEducators.com, which was created in 2010 to be a resource for hotel owners and professionals as they sought to improve market share, occupancy, operational efficiency and profitability.

The husband and wife team are transitioning the original membership site concept and evolving the business model today to a focused resource offering consulting, training, and individualized support to both hospitality and other service businesses.   Services include keynote addresses workshops, online support, metrics measurement, marketing and customer service from a group of more than a dozen experienced professionals.   While continuing to serve hospitality, the demand for these types of services is growing and can be personalized.

John Hogan is also the principal of HoganHospitality.com, which provides a range of expert professional services for hotel owners, including professional development for organizations, training, consulting and expert witness services.

John Hogan Sept 2013DSCN0215

Contact information:  Kathleen Hogan  480-436-0283,

John Hogan

602-799-5375 or service@hospitalityeducators.com

Workshops Available include: 

From the Chalkboard to the Front Line

What They Don’t Teach You at Hotel School

Focus:

  • Hotel Profitability
  • Hotel Sales
  • Marketing Ideas
  • Hotel Operations

There will always be an ongoing debate on the comparative merits of experience versus the knowledge acquired in formal educational settings.   The best lessons anyone can learn from hotel schools include an awareness of what really occurs on the front line in the actual hospitality setting.  This keynote transitions the academic message to the real world of running a profitable hospitality business.

 Click    here   for Keynotes and Workshops Available 

http://www.HoganHospitality.com
Your Hospitality Resource for Hotel Owners, Innkeepers, Managers and Associations

Pete Drucker Books

Prepared by the Office of Marketing & Communications at Claremont Graduate University 165 E. Tenth St., Claremont, Calif. 91711 909-621-8028

 The End of Economic Man – 1939
 The Future of Industrial Man – 1942
 Concept of the Corporation – 1946
 The New Society – 1950
 The Practice of Management – 1954
 America’s Next Twenty Years – 1957
 Landmarks of Tomorrow – 1957
 Managing for Results – 1964
 The Effective Executive – 1966
 The Age of Discontinuity – 1968
 Technology, Management and Society – 1970
 Men, Ideas and Politics – 1971Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices – 1973
 The Unseen Revolution – 1976 (reissued in 1996 as The Pension Fund Revolution)
 People and Performance: The Best of Peter Drucker on Management – 1977
 An Introductory View of Management – 1977
 Adventures of a Bystander – 1978 (autobiography)
 Song of the Brush: Japanese Painting from the Sanso Collection – 1979
 Managing in Turbulent Times – 1980
 Toward the Next Economics and Other Essays – 1981
 The Changing World of the Executive – 1982
 The Last of All Possible Worlds – 1982 (novel)
 The Temptation to Do Good – 1984 (novel)
 Innovation and Entrepreneurship – 1985
 Frontiers of Management – 1986
 The New Realities: in Government and Politics, in Economics and Business, in Society and World View – 1989
 Managing the Nonprofit Organization: Principles and Practices – 1990
 Managing for the Future – 1992
 The Ecological Vision – 1993Post-Capitalist Society – 1993
Managing in a Time of Great Change – 1995
 Drucker on Asia: A Dialogue between Peter Drucker and Isao Nakauchi –1997
 Peter Drucker on the Profession of Management – 1998
 Management Challenges for the 21st Century – 1999
 The Essential Drucker – 2001
 Managing in the Next Society – 2002
 A Functioning Society – 2002
 The Daily Drucker – 2004
 The Effective Executive In Action – 2006

WHAT’S THE PROBLEM™ with hospitality training today? A question from HospitalityEducators.com

WHAT’S THE PROBLEM™ with hospitality training today? A question from HospitalityEducators.com

A survey from the American Society of Training and Development several years ago found four top attributes or qualifications employers stated they wanted their associates to have:

  1. the ability to learn
  2. the ability to listen and effectively communicate information
  3. innovative problem-solving skills
  4. the knowledge on how to get things done

While this was a survey subject to changes in values and perspectives, these four qualities certainly have substance in today’ s hospitality world remain intact.

How do you as a manager match up to the list? What about the associates who report to you?

  1. Does your hotel, restaurant, club, spa or store provide the incentive for learning?
  2. Does your hospitality business develop active listening skills? How do you measure effective communication to guests? Among staff?
  3. How do approach problems? While it is tactful to call problems “challenges”, resolving situations to the delight of guests is a real issue.
  4. As in innovative problem-solving, knowing “how” to address situations is essential. Does you staff know how to handle overbooked nights? Or unacceptable entrees? Or noise complaints? Or issues about pricing? The list can be long.

We can help.

WHAT’S THE PROBLEM™? @ www.HospitalityEducators.com  addresses specific hospitality problems.  It  features specific problems submitted by members and readers or identified from HospitalityEducators.com associates’ consulting.  The problem will be stated in industry terms and there will be at least one potential solution discussed. WHAT’S THE PROBLEM™?  Is open to visitors and members.

The key to success here is training, associate engagement and management that cares enough to take the additional step to listen and learn on their own.

Dr. John Hogan interacting with program attendees

John J Hogan CHA CMHS CHE CHE working with clients @ Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston MA 

Feel free to share an idea for a column at john@hoganhospitality.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today. www.HospitalityEducators.com offers a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability. Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them Kathleen@HospitalityEducators.com

Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS CHO         United States – Phoenix,

Phone: 602-799-5375
www.hoganhospitality.com/

Heaven, by Hotel Standards | Observations from a New England Hotelier

People are drawn to hotels.  There’s something about the center of activity in a busy, full service hotel that attracts people from all walks of life globally..

The Parker House hotel in Boston Massachusetts has been open continuously since 1855, and is arguably the oldest continually operating hotel in the United States.

Mark Twain stayed here for a month  in 1877 and he is but one of literally hundreds of celebrities to have made this hotel very well known and appreciated.

Heaven, by Hotel Standards is a book about the history of the Omni Parker House, with information compiled by Susan Wilson.  On page eight of this book,  there’s a wonderful welcome letter from the current general manager, John Murtha, CHA. I had the privilege of meeting John, who is a gracious hotelier.   His letter is sincere and genuine, and  the information about the service of the general managers from 1927 until today helps to demonstrate a longevity and quality of what you seldom find in most brands or hotels today.

In addition to Mark Twain, this book identifies a Who’s Who of celebrities who have been patrons of this hotel   From the age of literature there are writers like Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorn and Longfellow.  From baseball, there are some well known names ranging from Babe Ruth to Ted Williams to Carl Yastrzemski to David Ortiz.  The hotel has been a center of  of activity in politics with people ranging from Ulysses S Grant, Mayor James Michael Curley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Colin Powell, Bill Clinton and most recently, and former Governor Deval Patrick as guests.  Boston has a strong theatrical presence in the theater district and hosted a wide range of prominent actors including John Wilkes Booth (of Lincoln assassination infamy)  Sarah Bernhardt, as well as more contemporary entertainers as Joan Crawford, Judy Garland, James Dean, Stevie Nicks, Yo Yo Ma , Rachel Raye and Ben Affleck.

The hotel itself was built by Harvey Parker, who relocated from his family farm in Maine.  The Parker family arrived in America in the 1630s and Harvey did not want to remain in agriculture.  After number of years in Paris, he arrived in Boston and began his first venture into the hospitality business with a restaurant.  The book does a balanced review, explaining the evolution of the family from the restaurant business and to finding a location for and building what became the Parker house.

The Parker House has had a long time reputation for food and hospitality.  It is credited with creating or perfecting Boston Cream pie, lemon meringue pie, Boston Scrod and of course, the Parker House Rolls.  The book shares an anecdote about Eleanor Roosevelt looking and her request for the recipe, which had been a well kept secret until that request in 1933.

Celebrity chefs at this hotel have included television personalities Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay and Martha  Stewart who all wanted to link their reputation with that of the well-known Parker House.  There are stories in the book of organic farming from local farms, orchards and dairies 100 years before organic cooking became popular in the rest of the world.

The Saturday Club was a literary discussion group and included Henry David Thoreau, Henry Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, diplomat Charles Francis Adams, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes and many others, who enjoyed the culinary service and hospitality of the Parker house once a month for a number of years.  Charles Dickens resided in the Parker house during his 1867-68 lecture tour.

The Parker house is located  across the street from the old Boston City Hall and  is two blocks from the state capitol.  Every US president from Grant to Clinton stayed at this hotel at some point during their presidency.  The book and movie the Last Hurrah was based on the experiences and activities of longtime mayor James Michael Curley.  The Kennedy family were regular visitors to the hotel and former Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neal is pictured in the book’s preface.

There are interesting interviews with longtime staff and stories about the wonderful jazz greats who performed at this hotel over the years. Some of the staff during the  mid 20th century  included Malcolm X and Ho Chi Min, who worked in the kitchens.

The book also discusses the business aspects of the hotel.  In the chapter called Architecturally Speaking, there are detailed explanations of the transitions and how the hotel evolved and maintained its presence.  There were major changes in operations and styles, with a series of owners over a 50 year period.  Downtown Boston today is very successful for hotels, but hotels were not considered to have a good location downtown in the late 1950s through mid seventies and the Parker House suffered. It did recover with the New England Dunfey family acquisition and management, The Parker House today is an example of exceptional hotel keeping with the Omni name and ownership.

Many grand old hotels today have reputations of ghosts, and the Parker House is no exception.  There are amusing stories of possible sightings from hotel founder Harvey Parker to Charles Dickens. We will have to decide for ourselves if this is fact or fiction.

Pages 105 to 107 lists of dozens of well-known names who enjoyed the hospitality of the Parker House from Mohammed Ali to the Who.

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I began my career as a New England hotelier, working in Vermont and Massachusetts, including at the 1500 room Sheraton Boston.   I worked for the Dunfey Hotels when they owned the Parker House and was interviewed for the #2 manager position.   A crisis at the Dunfey Hotel I was managing in Atlanta prevented that transfer, but I do recall the elegance and history of this fine hotel.  I would have enjoyed being part of the history of this fine hotel.

The title of the book is Heaven, By Hotel Standards, and it is certainly an interesting snapshot of successful and innovative Boston hotel keeping over three centuries

Strongly recommended.

John J Hogan CHA CMHS CHE CHO

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Kathleen Hogan Ireland Sept 2013John J. Hogan CHA CHE CHO and Kathleen Hogan  MBA CHO are the  co-founders of  HospitalityEducators.com, which was created in 2010 to be a resource for hotel owners and professionals as they sought to improve market share, occupancy, operational efficiency and profitability.

The husband and wife team are transitioning the original membership site concept and evolving the business model today to a focused resource offering consulting, training, and individualized support to both hospitality and other service businesses.   Services include keynote addresses workshops, online support, metrics measurement, marketing and customer service from a group of more than a dozen experienced professionals.   While continuing to serve hospitality, the demand for these types of services is growing and can be personalized.

John Hogan is also the principal of HoganHospitality.com, which provides a range of expert professional services for hotel owners, including professional development for organizations, training, consulting and expert witness services.

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