Two weeks ago, I wrote a column that highlighted one of the most memorable service codes ever offered in hospitality – the Statler Hotel Service Code. I included the original wording (penned in 1916) and gave readers the opportunity to receive a training powerpoint I created that is an updated version of the Statler Service Code, using current terms and approaches.
This offer generated close to 100 requests from around the world, in all six continents and from hospitality businesses ranging from a small airline in Scandinavia to tour guide services in South Africa. Hotels and management companies representing luxury to mid-range brands and independent hotel owners and managers shared their goals and (at times) frustrations with motivating their staff.
Statler created one of the most successful hospitality ventures and it survived his death in 1928 right through the Great Depression, the 2nd World War and into the early 1950s when Conrad Hilton purchased the chain for the largest real estate investment ever made in the world to that time. While recapping this bit of business background is not meant to be a history lesson, it does illuminate the strength and longevity of Statler’s values as articulated in his Service Code.
I include the historical perspective given above in reaction to comments received from readers of my follow-up column – THERE SHOULD BE NO SUCH THING AS LIMITED SERVICE. Several people complimented the message, while one retired hospitality executive offered a slightly different viewpoint. He opined that some travelers were really not interested in “service,” but were looking only for low prices and the minimum. I disagree with his opinion because service includes such fundamentals as common courtesy and appreciation at every price point.
To illustrate what I mean, let me relate a lunch experience at a national, mid-priced US restaurant chain just last week with these observations:
- The hostess sincerely welcomed us
- We were offered several options on where we might prefer to sit
- We were given the name of our server and were encouraged to ask anyone on staff for anything needed
- Our server asked a number of questions that were likely scripted (were we familiar with their specials, were we on a time constraint, had we ever tried this or that, etc.) but also again reminded us that they operated in serving teams and that several of them would be working to make our meal enjoyable and memorable
- The service was attentive, the food was excellent and the check was promptly delivered and handled
A major point of distinction in this experience was at our departure and this remains a major point in Statler’s Service Code. As we left the restaurant, at least three people on staff who were not part of our service team went out of their way to offer a sincere “thank you, please come again!” Their appreciation of our business had little to do with what we ordered or how much we spent.
I posted a discussion question on several of my Linkedin groups a few days ago and would like to open the topic to readers of this short column:
How does your hotel provide memorable customer service?
How does your hospitality business team provide exceptional and memorable customer service?
Recent blog postings on memorable service standards have prompted high levels of reader interest. I am reaching out to top hoteliers for examples of how to deliver exceptional service that builds customer loyalty. We all recognize the need to avoid being viewed as a commodity.
Please limit each submission or idea to a paragraph or less and send them no later than September 5, 2010. I will share your responses with readers in a future column. Thank you in advance!
Feedback or ideas for future pieces are welcome. Contact me at info@HoganHospitality.com
Finally, to additional readers looking for the updated service code, it will be available at no charge until 9/5 in the FREE RESOURCES section of www.HospitalityEducators.com
Blog of Dr. John Hogan CHE CHA MHS 8.30.2010
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 mentors delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing the hospitality industry. www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering 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. Special introductory pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES. If readers would like to contribute to the site, please submit your material for consideration to Kathleen@hospitalityeducators.com. We are interested in expanding our global networks and resources as we support our membership.