The Heart of Hospitality Remains Service | A Reminder to us all from


The Heart of Hospitality Remains Service

by  John J. Hogan, CHA, CHE, CMHS CHO

Co-Founder and Principal of

Hospitality and tourism arguably make up the world’s largest industry. They play a major role in the world economy and  contribute significant revenues and net wealth to many countries. When we think about it, we recognize that many components of hospitality are based heavily on the personal, “high touch” side of life.

It was a number of years ago that I first learned anything about hotels and hospitality when a high school friend’s family bought a seasonal resort. That family did not remain in the industry, but I learned from another family of hoteliers in that same location about the many disciplines in hospitality.

In our careers, we understand that the need to learn purchasing protocols, how to interpret and anticipate market trends, and keeping current with legal and safety requirements is essential. We recognize that we must evolve with technology, that we must address revenue management, and provide meaningful training to our staff if we expect them to meet the expectations of guests in our facilities.

The hotel industry has evolved significantly in many aspects during the past 20 years. Energy awareness and sustainability are now essential factors in both construction and ongoing operations. Purchasing, design, event planning and sales have changed dramatically. Innovations in culinary offerings have extended to creatively serve groups of all sizes in restaurants, conference centers and banquet events. Entertainment options in clubs, pubs and arenas have grown enormously, as has the need to be more attentive to security in a changing world.

The physical buildings have evolved and range from mega-hotels with casinos in certain markets to bed and breakfasts in communities of all sizes. There are now properties of all sizes and configurations at airports, in mixed use buildings, attached to convention halls, on converted ships, in secondary and tertiary cities and many other conversions and forms.

These hospitality offerings and hotels today are owned and managed by a wide array of groups, ranging from individuals to multinational corporations, Real Estate Investment Trusts and single industry companies of all sizes. Many are franchised; some are managed by individuals, some by third parties and others by family units. Properties can range from a ten-room country inn to a 2,000-room property on the ocean or in a city center attached to a municipal convention center.

While much has changed in hospitality, on reflection we still note that the experience element of hospitality depends not on the size or ownership of a hotel or restaurant, but on the personal, “high touch” delivery individually provided by hospitality staff to guests – one on one.

I recall somewhat “bragging” to the founding partners of the family business mentioned earlier how much I was learning at the large multinational hotel company that had hired me out of hotel school into a management training program in their 1500-room flagship hotel. They smiled and said that I could learn from the major companies how to follow the large company rules and be part of a major corporation, but I probably would not learn how to be a host or a real innkeeper profitably. Those skills and competencies would be developed through time and hands-on experience. I gained what I felt were incredibly important perspectives and experiences in those seasons and something else that I feel I did not learn at university or at big corporate hotels, either. That something was the need to apply innkeeper and host common sense to formulas, percentages, calculations and protocols.

Many brands today have customer service programs and some are quite good in their advertising value and in general guest satisfaction. Those programs may or may not exceed the guest’s expectations or hopes and that is why it is so critical for hospitality associates to truly “care” about their guests. It remains up to each individual hotel associate to deliver that exceptional “one-on-one” experience.

There is not one single, guaranteed way to deliver service.

  • There are many private companies, such as ours and that have unique programs already developed and ready to customize.
  • A good percentage of the major brands have different types of customer service templates and programs.
  • The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute has a guest service training program, The Guest Service Gold Program,  that shows employees and properties how to achieve a new standard of exceptional service based on emotionally engaging with guests in memorable ways.

Choose the approach or program that works for you, but remember that it is service that builds loyalty and that loyalty is what leads to long term success! 

John J. Hogan   CHA CHMS CHE CHO

Hospitality Educators                 Hogan Hospitality


 John J. Hogan CHA CMHS 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.

Kathleen Hogan Ireland Sept 2013Dr. John Hogan CHA CHE CHMS CHO

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

Click here for Keynotes and Workshops Available discussesThe Changing Landscape in Global Hospitality Education and Training with Dr. Marc Clark, CHA CHO CHE


with Dr. Marc Clark, CHA CHO CHE  By Dr. John Hogan CHE CHA MHS

 The Changing Landscape in Global Hospitality Education and Training

The economic forecasts remain mixed, but the overall message shared in many publications, news stories and online services implies a more optimistic outlook in hospitality and the hotel industry in the foreseeable future. This positive upswing will mean the need for both additional staff and increased training in evolving markets.

In this series of “HOW TO” columns titled HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS, I chose a topic that is of universal interest to all hotel managers, human resource professionals and associates themselves :

How To Provide Training and Professional Development that positively hits the target of engaging staff in meaningful programs while providing measurable results.

For this topic, I contacted a well-known professional in the industry, Dr. Marc Clark, CHA CHO CHE of Kentucky. Clark is a hospitality veteran of more than three decades, with a strong reputation as a corporate educator. In his career, he has conducted over 3,400 domestic and international seminars in such locations as Mexico, Canada, Panama, Thailand, Taiwan, India, Switzerland, Spain, Africa, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

We are all aware of the dramatic changes in both our customers and staff, as the global shift in travel and employment opportunities continues to evolve. With that in mind, I asked the following questions about adult learners:

QUESTION 1: What different teaching styles and practices might you use today when you are lecturing in India compared with Switzerland ?

  •  My teaching/educating style and practices today are similar, whether I am presenting to a group of hospitality students in Anand-Gujarat, India or an assembly of university faculty members in Leysin, Switzerland. Success with these groups evolves from the adult learning conditions that are set into practice to aid in the learning process.
  •  I support open discussion.
  •  I believe that participants in any educational gathering should be allowed to intellectually challenge, discuss and question ideas, methods, and issues that have been brought forward. Such dialogue takes learning beyond the basic level of retention of information and brings participants into higher levels of thought. It is statistically proven that the greater an individual’s involvement is during the learning process, the better their understanding, retention and transfer of information occurs.
  • Understanding how people learn is also critical to the learning process.

People learn in different ways. There are visual learners who learn by seeing, auditory learners who learn by hearing and tactile-kinesthetic learners who learn by doing.

Taking time to research facts about a group that I will be spending time with aids me in selecting the proper method or methods and support media that will be used in presenting content.

I do believe that the learning experience should be up-beat, informative, engaging, relevant and connected to real issues. There must be practical issues in which the learning can be applied.

Teaching and learning is a two way street, that when traveled should be fun no matter what direction you are moving.

QUESTION 2: You have been the team leader for training programs at such diverse organizations as Ponderosa Steakhouses and Opryland Hotel. How are adult learners different from the students of 20 years ago?

  1.  First is the realization that the world has radically changed. Technology has seen to that, as has the social scene. Attitudinal differences between generations are somewhat startling. It is no longer possible to think workers have the same approach to living, working or learning as those who came before them.
  2. The adult learner today is becoming more tech-savvy simply because it has become a survival technique. Individuals are in some way, shape or form connected 24/7 via a mobile device or a PC. Social media tools such as wikis, blogs, and social networks provide immeasurable opportunities to connect and expand their horizons.
  3. I believe that today’s learners differ from the traditional learner of two decades ago in the following ways:

• They are inundated by massive amounts of information coming in from many sources.

• They parallel process and are skilled multi-taskers.

• Attention spans are shorter so learners prefer bite-size chunks of content to deal with and process.

• They seek relevant information that can be applied immediately (prefer to learn “just-in-the- nick-of-time)

• Collaborating, sharing and exchanging ideas with others are important. Creates a sense of community.

• Enjoy learning through fun (games, simulations, interactive activities).

• These form an environment of discovery.


“The least of learning is done in the classroom.” Thomas Merton,[1] (1915-1968)

[1] 20th century American writer, who was a poet, social activist and student of comparative religion. A monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, he wrote more than 70 books and scores of essays and reviews. He was was also featured in National Review’s list of the 100 best non-fiction books of the century


Dr. Clark , CHA  CHO  CHE (  is the author of SMART MANAGEMENT and The Manager’s Toolkit: 61 Building Blocks for Success and he serves as a Senior Advisor for GATE Hospitality University in Katmandu, Nepal. The American Hotel & Lodging Association presented Dr. Clark with its prestigious Lamp of Knowledge Award, identifying him as an outstanding national educator and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association awarded Dr. Clark the Certified Hotel Owners (CHO) designation.

  • He has published over 300 managerial articles on such topics as human resources, organizational development, training & education, soft skills development, sales & marketing, hotel operations, and customer service.
  • He was the first recipient of the National Career Achievement in Human Resources Training Award, and received the Distinguished Public Service Award from the State of Tennessee for contributions to the area of hospitality/service training. He holds the designations of Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA), Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE) and Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE) from the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
  • Dr. Clark is a Founding Associate of,  a consortium of successful corporate and academic mentors delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing the hospitality industry. Services are designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.


 Keys to Success Hospitality Tip of the Week: Focus on Hotel Service

Cross-train at least one person in another department next week. This will communicate your commitment to the development of the individual, who will appreciate the recognition. It will also help at least two departments in staffing and quality delivery. This is essential in these times of tight budgets and high customer expectations.

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

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.

Autographed copies of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES are available from THE ROOMS CHRONICLE, and other industry sources.

All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication

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.

Consulting Expertise and Research Interest

  1.  Professional Development for the Organization and the Individual
  2. Sales Management and training
  3. Turn-around and revenue management
  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.

Your Hospitality Resource for Hotel Owners, Innkeepers, Managers and Associations