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

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. or 602-799-5375 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, 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| 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 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 ( 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. 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.


Kathleen and John Hogan    #2    DSCN0412John J. Hogan CHA CHE CHO and Kathleen Hogan  MBA CHO are the  co-founders of, 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, 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