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.

——————————————————————————————————————–

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

HospitalityEducators
Hogan Hospitality

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 

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HospitalityEducators.com Recommended Reading | The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service


Customer Rules

 

The author of this book has been responsible in his career for the customer service at one of the world’s best known service delivery companies -DisneyWorld. He was responsible for 40,000 people in hotels, theme parks, shopping, entertainment and sports centers.

Disney’s often been used as a training center for leadership and guest service and Lee Cockerell’s book on delivering sensational service is right on.

There are 39 chapters or rules in this 179 page book and they are all direct, common sense in approach in logical.

The introduction states simply “be nice”. He says this means being friendly, polite, pleasant, considerate and skilled. He cautions that rules and procedures will not work if you do not have the right people doing the right job. This is more common sense, but we have discovered in so many businesses that common sense is relatively unknown.

Examples of rules include:
Number 1 – customer service is not a department
Number 4 – do not get bored with the basics
Number 12- rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
Number 17- listen up
Number 24- do not make promises, make guarantees
Number 38- keep doing it better

The other 33 are just as direct and understandable, yet they need to be understood.

I have been in the hospitality industry my entire career and I find this a logical, easy-to-follow set of guidelines for anyone providing service to others.

Highly recommended!

John J Hogan CHA CMHS CHE CHO
HospitalityEducators
Hogan Hospitality

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 

An Insight from HospitalityEducators.com and Young Hoteliers | A YouTube Smile

The 1st quarter of what WAS a new year is about wrap up.   We have likely all experienced certain successes and disappointments over the last quarter (and year)  and are looking forward to renewed enthusiasm .

Will the next quarter automatically bring changes? Of course it will , but changes are neither positive or negative until they are acted on.  Where do those changes come from?

To those of us under 40 years of age, we have had the habit of being able to or at times forced to follow the ideas and direction of those older and we hope, wiser for their experience.   For those of us over 40, we are expected to share some of our knowledge and at the same time, acknowledge that the next generation will have some exceptional ideas, energy and momentum that we should tap into.

In our HospitalityEducators.com training and certification programs, we rely on the balance offered by blended learning.   This approach includes case studies, some lecture from experienced faculty, substantial interaction in group discussions and videos.  Participants in our programs often span three generations of professionals looking to improve their professionalism and we are always looking for ways to make learning more enjoyable.

One You Tube that I often use was one created by and brought to us all by attendees at the The Young Hoteliers Summit.   This now annual Young Hoteliers Summit in 2014 had delegates and team members that came together from 26 schools, spanning 5 continents and 15 nationalities. Their energy and enthusiasm showed they were HAPPY, as can be seen in this short message!   We use it after lunch to get people re-energized and to see that ‘We are Happy’ is a mind set.

The Young Hoteliers Summit has a serious side and acts towards improving professional opportunities for young talent in hospitality. It is the first entirely student focused and student run hospitality summit, designed to reduce the gap between the key stakeholders — industry, academic institutions and students from leading hotel management schools around the world. Creating a platform for knowledge and idea exchange, networking opportunities and a friendly competition, it works to foster a dialogue on employment related topics between these stakeholders.

The 2nd video shows the business side of the event.

While I have not yet attended this Summit, I recognize the zeal and intensity of all who participate, regardless of age or country or any other descriptor.  We all need to learn how to be energized, motivated, focused and HAPPY.

The 2015 Summit is fast approaching and this year’s attendees know what they are looking forward to.

Do you?

.John Hogan       Kathleen Hogan

Hospitality.jpg

Kathleen Hogan Ireland Sept 2013John Hogan Sept 2013DSCN0215Dr. John Hogan CHA CMHS 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

Keynotes: 

 

A reminder to us all from HospitalityEducators.com: PAY IT FORWARD all year! Reflections – People Who Make A Difference

As hoteliers and restaurateurs, we are involved in our communities as service providers, active citizens, employers, tax payers, and more.

Hotels are open 24/7, 365 days per year.   Most restaurants (in hotels or freestanding) usually serve at least 2 meals per day and are open on most holidays and days when other businesses may have the opportunity to allow their staff family time.

The title of this blog is PAY IT FORWARD all year!     As active members of the hospitality industry, many of us participate in a number of community goodwill services.   We share quality but unsold prepared food with food banks and shelters.  We recycle our linens to charities that find people who can use them.   Rather than make a little change, we will donate the furniture that has been replaced during renovations to a range of services that uses them productively.   We and our staff volunteer in our community.

The end of the year holidays always generate news stories and this year is no different.

This short article is not political and there is no hidden message in it.

2014 has not been a good year for law enforcement officers, as noted in this 2 minute CBS Sunday morning report from 12/14.   The following video shares a variation on a theme we have heard for years- Secret Santa – and how it represented a way for a sampling of the overwhelming numbers of good officers who are never in the news to help share.

The message is self explanatory and the need is year round.    We encourage everyone in hospitality to continue what you already do and see if you can expand it by 10% in 2015.

If you are just getting started, see what your own staff and local local community needs and act accordingly.

The message is not about Santa or just giving money – the intent of this anonymous donor is to get everyone reaching out and talking again with each other.

Hospitality.jpg

Kathleen Hogan Ireland Sept 2013John Hogan Sept 2013DSCN0215Dr. John Hogan CHA CMHS 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

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

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 TO” articles, HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS™, Lessons from the Field™, Hotel Common Sense™ , THE P-A-R PRINCIPLE™  and Principles for Success.

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


 Dr. John Hogan CHA CHE Oct 2010 MinneapolisJohn 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 CEO and Co-Founder of www.HospitalityEducators.com , which delivers 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 designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.

www.HoganHospitality.com
Your Hospitality Resource for the Hotel Owner, Innkeeper, Manager and Hospitality Industry Associations.

Recommended Reading from HospitalityEducators.com| The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service

The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service
 
The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service
by Lee Cockerell
 
 
 
 

5.0 out of 5 stars Easy-to-follow guidelines,
   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program (What’s this?)

The author of this book has been responsible in his career for the customer service at one of the world’s best known service delivery companies -DisneyWorld. He was responsible for 40,000 people in hotels, theme parks, shopping, entertainment and sports centers.

Disney’s often been used as a training center for leadership and guest service and Lee Cockerell’s book on delivering sensational service is right on.

There are 39 chapters or rules in this 179 page book and they are all direct, common sense in approach in logical.

The introduction states simply “be nice”. He says this means being friendly, polite, pleasant, considerate and skilled. He cautions that rules and procedures will not work if you do not have the right people doing the right job. This is more common sense, but we have discovered in so many businesses that common sense is relatively unknown.

Examples of rules include:
Number 1 – customer service is not a department
Number 4 – do not get bored with the basics
Number 12- rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
Number 17- listen up
Number 24- do not make promises, make guarantees
Number 38- keep doing a better

The other 33 are just as direct and understandable, yet they need to be understood.

I have been in the hospitality industry my entire career and I find this a logical, easy-to-follow set of guidelines for anyone providing service to others.

Highly recommended!

Dr. John Hogan CHA CHE CHO
HospitalityEducators
Hogan Hospitality

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 1,000 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 TO” articles, HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS™, Lessons from the Field™, Hotel Common Sense™ , THE P-A-R PRINCIPLE™  and Principles for Success.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at john.hogan@hospitalityeducators.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 CEO and Co-Founder of www.HospitalityEducators.com , which delivers 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 designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.

www.HoganHospitality.com
Your Hospitality Resource for the Hotel Owner, Innkeeper, Manager and Hospitality Industry Associations.

Insights from HospitalityEducators.com: What does your staff manual say about guest/customer service?

Interesting perspectives on Customer Service

Nordstrom’s Old Employee Handbook Had Only 75 Words


For many years, Nordstrom’s employee handbook consisted of a single 5″×8″ card that had only 75 words on it:

Welcome to Nordstrom

We’re glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them.

Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1:

Use best judgment in all situations.

There will be no additional rules.

Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.

Note

During this time, Nordstrom had the highest sales per square foot performance in the retail industry

by almost double.

_________________________________________________________________

Success in hotels and hospitality does not come by accident or chance.

We can help

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 1,000 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 2012 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 TO” articles, HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS™, Lessons from the Field™, Hotel Common Sense™ , THE P-A-R PRINCIPLE™  and Principles for Success.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at john.hogan@hospitalityeducators.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 CEO and Co-Founder of www.HospitalityEducators.com , which delivers 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 designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.

www.HoganHospitality.com
Your Hospitality Resource for the Hotel Owner, Innkeeper, Manager and Hospitality Industry Associations.