It’s All in the Details…

Earlier this summer, I shared some “Best Practices on Engaging the “high-touch” Side of Our Business” in my blog. I summarized feedback from attendees in a series of workshops I conducted for a major international hotel company that addressed the danger of becoming a “Commodity.”

This article/blog kicks off a related topic:

Question:  How do we motivate our hospitality staff to care every day, to build and maintain a commitment to delivering quality??

Answer: In surprisingly small ways.

It’s All in the Details…

I am certainly not the first person to have written on the topic, and there have been others who have used the unusual example I am about to offer as an illustration of the most fundamental area of any hotel or restaurant.

Almost every guest uses this essential area of every hospitality business, as well as a good number of first time visitors who “drop by.”  The hospitality business may be an elegant five star hotel, a country inn, a hometown diner or an ethnic restaurant but they all have this space in common.

I am referring of course to the “public restrooms.”  I have included some examples of outstanding ones at the end of this message, but I challenge everyone in any hospitality business to take a moment and think about the first impression made when someone enters a portion of your facility that is open to all visitors.

Think about the human senses

1.       Sight – is your space inviting and clean? This means pleasant lighting, neatly arranged facilities, wall treatment that is pleasant to look at and of course, a very clean floor with no paper on it.  Fresh flowers or live plants can be a positive.

2.       Touch – as in #1 Sight above, the space must be inviting.  There must be well maintained sinks, clean and well lit mirrors, attractive dispensers holding adequate towels and toilet tissue,

3.       Sound – Public rest rooms must be reasonably constructed and designed to block out  external sounds, as well as contain the sounds of plumbing and discussions in the facility. Some properties today include appropriate and pleasing piped in music that create an  additional positive calming effect

4.       Smell – the fragrance discussion in hospitality is not new.  Care must be taken in cleaning products used, and there are packaged scents available that can be subtly present in the public rest rooms.

Some sample “best of” in this category may be found at www.hospitalityeducators.com under America’s Best Public Bathrooms http://www.hospitalityeducators.com/articles/20100930_1

Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@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 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.

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Consider this list of the World’s Top 20 Business Hotels

We all sometimes need to step back from our own operations and examine other properties that have been recognized as “the best in show.”

Readers of travel magazine Travel + Leisure ranked hotels on a list of services and amenities to come up with their 20 top business hotels, part of the publication’s annual World’s Best survey.

Hotels that combine service, technology and comfort have topped a list of the world’s best business hotels with the winners offering their guests those added extras that can make all the difference to a trip.

Some offered free Internet access and a 24-hour business centre, some had rooftop pools, while one had an award-winning Gordon Ramsay restaurant. Free parking was also a plus.

Boston’s The Eliot had touch-screen monitors for guests to order room service and print boarding passes. The Peninsula Hong Kong transported one guest in a Rolls Royce and treated her to tea upon arrival.

  • 1.      Palacio Duhau-Park Hyatt, Buenos Aires
  • 2.      Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Taipei
  • 3.      St. Regis, Shanghai
  • 4.      XV Beacon, Boston
  • 5.      Four Seasons Hotel, Hong Kong
  • 6.      The London West Hollywood, West Hollywood
  • 7.      Eliot Hotel, Boston
  • 8.      Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas
  • 9.      Sofitel Shanghai Jin Jiang Oriental Pudong, Shangai
  • 10.  Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
  • 11.  Peninsula Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 12.  Pudong Shangri-La, Shanghai
  • 13.  Omni Mandalay Hotel at Las Colinas, Dallas
  • 14.  Intercontinental Buckhead, Atlanta
  • 15.  St Regis, Beijing
  • 16.  Peninsula Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills
  • 17.  Mandarin Oriental, New York
  • 18.  Conrad Centennial, Singapore
  • 19.  Four Seasons Hotel, Buenos Aires
  • 20.  Ritz-Carlton Central Park, New York

Source: malaysia.news.yahoo.com

(belinda.goldsmith@reuters.com)

Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@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 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.

This list (http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/worlds-best-business-h otels-2009/1) is not endorsed by Reuters. :

A simple and often overlooked way to increase business

Are you working to increase the group and/or convention business at your hotel?

Not every group limits their hotel usage to large convention hotels and in fact, many larger groups look to offer a range of property types, amenities and pricing options.  Smaller groups often elect to choose different types of properties as they work to build or maintain attendance.

Put yourself in the shoes of a meeting planner who has (in all probability) not ever been to your hotel before unless you are the major hotel connected to a large convention center.  These meeting professionals are just as busy as hoteliers are and they have their share of challenges in budgets, programs, marketing campaigns and people issues.

They can look at emails, brochures and photographs on your web site, but if they cannot make a personal site inspection, they must trust either their own professional instincts and/or other people’s experience to make the decision on whether or not to consider your hotel.

Meeting planners and travel agents have learned one way to compare the proverbial “apple to apple” when seeking sites for their clients’ meetings and conventions is to have a hotel RFP completed and submitted by properties being considered.  The RFP (Request for Proposal) is well known to larger hotels, but the concept and information included in these documents can have a positive impact on hotels of all sizes.

Even if your property does not regularly receive these RFPs, the fact that you have in essence what is an organized and concise “fact sheet” will add a certain degree of professionalism to any presentations you make.  A potential client considering your hotel will recognize that you understand both sides of the booking agreement and will likely have a positive impression, including when they obtain this information by email or from your web site.

Consider the following elements of a detailed RFP as a guide as you develop your own fact sheet:

  1. General information (One would be surprised at how many people omit some of this important data.)
  • (a) Full property name,  physical address (not PO Box), local and toll free phone numbers, direct numbers to sales if appropriate, web address and email contacts
  • (b) Brand or chain affiliation, if appropriate. This could also include a membership or group referral affiliation.
  • (c) Distance to convention center and/or downtown and/or airport and/or attractions, etc (the important centers in your location)
  • (d) Total number of rooms and suites in your hotel

Contacts

  • (a)  Principal meetings or group contact at hotel
  • (b)  Director of Sales
  • (c)  Reservations Manager (or front office manager in smaller hotels)
  • (d)  General Manager
  • (e)  Brand, chain, referral service or management company (if appropriate)

General Rate Information (This advises the potential client of the value you place on their business and some details of your revenue management practices, i.e. your high and low seasons)  List all rates in both single and double rates if appropriate

  • (a) Standard (rack) rates
  • (b) Standard corporate rates
  • (c) Validity date policy (early check-in/late check-out rooms)
  • (d) Commissions paid, tax obligations
  • (e) Any value-added – is breakfast included? (if not, identify the cost of breakfast options)

Safety and Security (Do not let this be a negative factor. The fact that you detail your awareness highlights your overall commitment to quality and the concern you have for the safety and well-being of your guest and staff).                Be specific.

  • (a) Number of floors
  • (b) Year hotel was built
  • (c) Details on most recent major renovations or upgrades
  • (d) Security provisions in guest rooms (in room safes, special services, women’s only floors, your special touches, etc)
  • (e) Smoke alarms, in guest and public areas
  • (f)   Sprinklers in guest and public areas
  • (g) Details on handicap accessibility in all areas
  • (h) Details on automatic links to fire and/or police departments
  • (i)    Overviews on hotel safety and security training provided to staff
  • (j)   Overview on security in entire facility
  • (k) Nearest medical centers or hospitals

Hotel Services and Facilities (If your hotel has limited in house services, it is essential to identify services and facilities adjacent to or near your hotel)

  • (a) Restaurant(s) – this should include name, type of food offerings (ethnic, seafood/steak, casual dining, etc)
  • (b) Room service and general hours
  • (c) Parking facilities and charges
  • (d) Van/shuttle service, destinations, hours and charges
  • (e) Entertainment in hotel and in guest rooms (pool, exercise room, in room movies, etc.
  • (f)   Nearby facilities – golf, tennis, massage, shopping
  • (g) Unique features of your hotel – historical significance, adjacent to museum, cultural center, etc.

Consistent use of this kind of fact sheet can bring competent sales managers more focus and business, because they share specifically more about their hotel and its strengths than many of their competitors.

Keys to Success Hospitality Tip of the Week:Focus on Solid Communication

Be as detailed as possible when communicating with all parties.  In this age of instant information, there is no second chance for that first impression.

KEYS TO SUCCESS is the umbrella title for my 2010 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.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@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 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.


A DIFFERENT LOOK AT MBWA – DOES THERE NEED TO BE A MANAGER’S “TIME OUT?”

Management by Walking (or Wandering) Around” has been the focus of my last two messages and at the end of each I issued a challengeto every manager who is responsible for 5 or more people:  measure your in and out of the office time and at the end of the week, see how much time you spent ACTIVELY INTERACTING with your team.

I suggested the goal should be 70% of the time out of the office and asked managers to privately evaluate how they did and what they would do the following week. Reader feedback strongly endorsed the 7 practical steps on improving their staff interaction listed in the last article, yet I had an internal pesky feeling I had missed one observation.  This morning, I realized what it was relating to MBWA and everything that managers do – it was the need for “time out.”

Each one of us probably remembers on our own or possibly with our children times when we or others become over-stimulated and edgy.  The potential to say inappropriate things or to over-extend becomes very real.  I recall working for a major international company and was at the grocery with my bride shopping on a Sunday.  She realized she had gone a row ahead of me and turned around to see me doing what many of us have fallen prey to becoming: CRACKBERRIES.  Despite my working 10+ hours daily, on this my day off, I found myself feeling “obligated” to answer emails and “keep in touch.”

I believe the goal of 70% out of the office is a valid one with considerable merit and value for all parties. In order to MBWA, the manager must delegate some tasks and responsibilities to others.

In addition to giving others a chance to grow, this delegation also gives the manager a “time-out” to develop other thought patterns and options.

Here are some ways a manager might utilize their TIME OUT to develop those other thought patterns, while maintaining the commitment to MBWA.

  1. Set certain rules on the use of your I-phone and Blackberry or Smart-Phone. Give your mind a breather.
  2. Set aside time each day for short meditation breaks.
  3. Take the team once in awhile to an afternoon ball game or activity where there can be discussion on things in addition to business. These are solid team building events.
  4. Embrace the positive side of travel. We are in the hospitality business and taking a vacation helps us get into a relaxed mind-set where we are not so inclined to respond to emails and calls.
  5. Find or expand a non-business related hobby as a distraction and a mental refreshing exercise.

I attended a program earlier this year that included former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a keynote speaker.  The messages included the expected references to 911, his sincere pride of New Yorkers and the police/fire departments, as well as his political past and future aspirations.  He made one unexpected appeal to the large crowd in attendance. He urged every participant to challenge their thinking, embrace rather than fear technology, and to read two books weekly. He said his growth and ongoing education came from reading two books per week – one that was for personal enjoyment on whatever hit his fancy at the time and the other was for personal learning and development on a topic he was not an authority on. His point on this need for balance made sense to me and triggered my recognition of a manager’s time out as an opportunity to attain that balance in the workplace.

Keys to Success Hospitality Tip of the WeekFocus on Personal Development

This week, change your schedule to include one new activity of your choice that will assist in your personal development. (This will likely also help your professional growth).  Track your progress over the next four weeks and measure what positive changes you can observe.

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 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.

Professional Development for You Means Lending a Hand to Someone Else Along the Way

The title of this column says it all – working to help others succeed will help us as individuals to move forward on our own professional development.

Each of us has our own goals and dreams.   Some of us have done better at visualizing what Stephen Covey called “the end in mind”, and most of us have identified at least some specific goals in our career.  These goals could include a specific title, a position in a certain organization, a financial target or any combination thereof.   Over the years in our career, we have likely achieved some of those goals but we often have failed to continue updating the plan and we become distracted by daily incidentals that have minor and temporary value.

Tom Peters and Robert Waterman more than 25 years ago identified a proven way to motivate both managers and their teams.  In Search of Excellence offered many ideas but one in particular had a major impact on me.  I championed that idea as a manager and executive in my operational and consulting career.  I can assure you that if you follow this action step in a positive and professional way, your organization will lower staff mistakes, reduce overall turnover, see a boost in staff morale and an increase in staff suggestions and engagement in their delivery of service.

Public companies communicate regularly with their shareholders in a variety of formats and frequency, but they ALL provide quarterly updates of revenues, profitability and other results.  Monthly would be too often and not meaningful and semi-annually is too infrequent, allowing too much time to pass without a snapshot of results,  Public company reports are delivered quarterly  because there is enough time to see trends, take continuing or corrective action and address the important issues.

In hospitality, successful organizations recognize that it is the overall experience of the guest that builds loyalty, ahead of earned points, free rooms or a complimentary glass of wine.  The main ingredient in delivering that experience is a topic I have covered the last six weeks – it is the commitment to service by the front line staff at your hotel, restaurant or other hospitality business.

I am (again) recommending this action step to every hotel and restaurant general manager and hospitality corporate executive, because I have seen the results when used properly.

  1. Meet with all of your department heads tomorrow and advise them of a new communication process designed to assist them meet their department goals and this will not require any more work for them
  2. Within 12 hours of this meeting with the department heads, announce in a positive manner to all staff that performance reviews will now be conducted for everyone on a regular, quarterly basis.  In this announcement, it needs to be identified that this is a positive step aimed at improving the overall success of every individual on staff, as well as the business.
  3. Beginning no later than 7 days after the meeting with the department heads, the reviews should begin within a planned cycle.

I have heard some of the hesitations to embrace this before and I have found them to be inaccurate and an excuse by many to avoid change.  Listed below are some of those voiced hesitations, with my rebuttal:

  • This activity creates much more work for department heads.

Fact: this does not create more work for department heads, the GM or corporate executives because this new practice is only formalizing discussion and making it more personal with the one-on-one interactions.

  • This will cost the company a lot of money that we don’t have.

Fact: The quarterly discussions do not need to change any of the financial arrangements or practices currently in use, unless you want or find you need to change them.  Annual financial adjustments can remain in place if that is a solid business decision, but what you will find is more honest discussion and the uncovering of problem areas that can often be addressed quickly when known by all.

  • This will take too much time away from our other responsibilities.

Fact:  Hospitality is about service and the guest experience and that is everyone’s responsibility.  If department heads and managers are not interacting with their staff, there is a major problem.

  • This will confuse the staff because we have never done it that way before.

Fact: The first discussion may seem unusual because it represents a change from what was the norm, but our staffs today are well versed in trends in the workforce and have probably heard of more frequent evaluations before.  When the real reason is explained that these quarterly discussions are designed to help everyone beginning now, the apprehension of meeting “with the boss” dissipates quickly and seldom returns.

I first embraced this action step as general manager at a 300-room business class hotel.  The property was showing its age and its off-center location did not provide an automatic referral center.  I can share with you that this action step of improving communication built trust among many long-time staff (with their new general manager) and helped the entire business to outperform the market for two years, even with the property’s physical limitations.

“No matter what the situation, (the great manager’s) first response is always to think about the individual concerned and how things can be arranged to help that individual experience success.” Marcus Buckingham, The One Thing You Need to Know

The problems you are facing today are yours, but the solutions and the means to tackle those problems do not have to be yours alone.

What are you going to do, beginning tomorrow?

Keys to Success Hospitality Tip of the Week:   Focus on Professional Development

The Guest Experience today is as meaningful as any other factor in guest satisfaction and loyalty.

Housekeeping and engineering teams can contribute in significant ways, including guest contact and interaction.        Take some time for group sharing of ideas and recognition.

KEYS TO SUCCESS is the umbrella title for my 2010 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.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@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 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.

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 Consultants

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 personal perspective: Are you happy ????

VIVEK DMELLO, Owner and General Manager at MilkyWay Commercial Broker L.L.C.  in  Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, posted on the LinkedIn Hoteliers Group discussion board recently the following anecdote that I found interesting and hope you do as well:

——————————————————————————————————–

On a certain occasion, during an elegant welcoming reception for the new Director of Marketing of an important London company, some of the wives of the other Directors, who wanted to get acquainted with the new spouse, asked her with some hesitation “ Does your spouse make you happy, truly happy’?”

The husband , who at the moment was not at her side, but was sufficiently near to hear the question, paid attention to the conversation,  sitting up and slightly feeling secure, even filling his chest lightly in pride, knowing that his spouse would answer affirmatively, since she had always been there for him during their marriage. Nevertheless , both to his and their surprise,  she replied simply, “No, no, he doesn’t make me happy…”

The room became uncomfortably silent as if everyone were listening to the spouse’s response.  The husband was petrified.   He could not believe what his wife was saying, especially at such an important occasion for him.   To the amazement of her husband and of everyone,  she simply placed enigmatically on her head an elegant black scarf and continued. “ No , he doesn’t make me happy…. I am Happy”

”The fact that I am happy or not does not depend on him, but on me.

I am the only person upon which my happiness depends.   I make the choice to be happy in each situation and in each moment of my life.  If my happiness were to depend on others people, on other things or other circumstances on the face of the earth, I would be in serious trouble!!!     Everything that exists in this life changes continually: humans, wealth, my body, climate, pleasures, etc. I could enumerate an infinite list…”

“Over my life, I have learned a couple of things: I decide to be happy and the rest is a matter of experiences or circumstances like helping, and understanding, accepting, listening, consoling and with my spouse I have lived and practiced this many times….

Happiness will always be found in forgiveness and in loving yourself and others.     It is not the responsibility of my spouse to make me happy.   He also has his                “ experiences or circumstances”.   I love him and he loves me, often in spite of his circumstances and of mine.”

“ He changes,  I change,  the environment changes, everything changes.            Having forgiveness and true love, and observing these changes that can be, big or little, but always happen, we must face them with love that exists in each one of us.     If the two of us love and forgive each other, the changes will only be “experiences or circumstances” that enrich us and give us strength.  Otherwise, we would only be ‘ Living together.’    For some, DIVORCE is the only solution  (….in reality it is the easiest..)   To truly love,  is difficult.   It is to forgive unconditionally, to live to take experiences or circumstances as they are,  facing them together and being happy with conviction.

There are those who say, I cannot be happy

  • because I am sick
  • because I have no money
  • because its too cold
  • because they have insulted me
  • because someone stopped loving me
  • because someone didn’t appreciate me ”

Reality is what you do not know.

It is that you can be happy even though you are sick, whether it is too hot, whether you have money or not, whether someone insulted you, or someone did not love you or has not valued you.


BEING HAPPY ….IS AN ATTITUDE…

ABOUT LIFE

AND

EACH ONE OF US MUST DECIDE !!!

Being happy …  depends upon you