The Power of Follow Up – High Tech or High Touch?

We all deal with technology daily, whether it is one of dozens of social media outlets, responding to a guest review, using an app as either a consumer or service provider or simply emails.

To those of us over 40, we may recall when we were promised computers were going to make our lives simpler and shorten our work week.   While we likely agree that technology has increased our capabilities, I do not know many of us that have found the work week to be anything but more complex, as those potential capabilities have added many more duties and activities.

This column is a snap shot message – the power of follow up.

Like most of us, I have more than one computer and my 17″ laptop Dell failed for a 2nd time over a 4 year period. Complete freeze – would not boot, and luckily for me, it was a back up unit and I had opted for  a service plan with Data Doctors after the 1st failure.   They analyzed the problem, offered several solutions and two days later returned it to me with a minimal bill for parts.   It is now almost completely rebuilt and things seem to be in order.

The follow up came today with a phone call from the tech who serviced my unit.   Without prompting, he called me to see if it was working as it needed to be.   This was a highly unusual event – the follow up from email evaluations accompanies most tech situations, but someone taking the time to reach out PERSONALLY was an unexpected and pleasant surprise.

The cost to Data Doctors?    $000.00

The benefit to me?  The sense that someone actually cared about how their quality of work affected me!

Which was this – high tech or high touch?  The answer is both.

In hospitality, we need to remember this fact – guests want to be appreciated and valued, and that includes the sincere, genuine attention that cannot be scripted or mandated by a brand standard or rule.  It needs to come from us – the hotel owner, manager and associate!

There are many ways to identify those unique touch points, and we can help you find them.

About John J. Hogan  

John J. Hogan, CHA CMHS CHE CHO 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 and Chief Learning Officer of, which was founded in 2010 as a solutions center for hotel owners and managers. He is also the Principal of, which offers hotel expert witness services and hospitality consulting.

Specific new services, workshops and keynote topics can be found at , including



He is currently working with his partner Kathleen Hogan and others on several new projects including the HOTELIERMASTERMIND series, an eBook series with Howard Feiertag on hotel sales, two new web sites and a fresh set of Keynote and Workshop programs, hospitality services and columns.

Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA), Certified Master Hotel Supplier (CMHS), Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE), Certified Hotel Owner (CHO)

Contact: John Hogan /              602-799-5375

Amplified Support of Hospitality Associations: #2 of 13 Important Changes We Need and Want in 2012 – from

This is a continuing series from a non-traditional commissioned year-end column that was not a prediction of trends nor a list of New Year’s resolutions.  I felt honored to have been asked by the editor of one of the world’s best known online publications to consider and share my thoughts on what we want to see more in the  new year.

The list includes what we want and need in 2012, which is reflected in the title that asks
“if hospitality is still an industry that motivates entrepreneurs.”

#2:  Amplified Support of Hospitality Associations

A generation ago, many hospitality associations served as primarily professional centers of information and socializing.

Today they have become centers of activity and provide other needed services for Hotels, Restaurants,  clubs, spas and other hospitality businesses.

Some of those services include

  1. education – the need for ongoing continuing education has never been more evident.  Associations at the local, provincial/state and national levels augment that offered by brands and fill a major role for those that take advantage of it
  2. political lobbying – hospitality and tourism is a major employer and tax collection center in many areas of the world, yet it has often not been at the center of attention in sharing views on how the industry is addressed.  In the past 15 years or so, national associations have begun to assertively state the goals and opinions of the components of the hospitality industry, but there is much more that should be done NOW.
  3. networking  – social media is growing in its reach to people globally, but the hospitality industry remains a high touch industry.  Personal contacts, face to face meetings and collaboration on important issues cannot be replaced by technology alone and associations fill that role
  4.  consumer marketing  – Technology does play a major role in certain marketing efforts and local and regional associations provide exceptional support in promoting consumer awareness and the uniqueness of what is offered.

Individuals, companies, brands and other regional organizations should consider more active support of Hospitality Associations – because we are all in this together!

   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 950 pages of tips, guides, best practices, strategies, plans, budgets, videos and resources, has become the #1 independent website for  hotel owners and managers.  This site can help you solve your problems now!      Read More 

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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   anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

John Hogan, Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE),

Certified Hotel  Administrator (CHA),Certified Master Hotel Supplier (CMHS)

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 , which delivers focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today.

Consulting Expertise and Research Interest

1.    Turn-around and revenue management

2.    Professional Development for the Organization and the Individual

3.    Customer Service

4.      Making Cultural Diversity Real

5.    Developing Academic Hospitality programs

6.    Medical Lodging Consulting

7.    Sales Management and training

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.  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.

Your Hospitality Resource for the Hotel Owner, Innkeeper, Manager and Hospitality Industry Associations

CONTACT        John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS

United States – Phoenix, Phone: 602-799-5375 / Email:

A surprising selection (to some) of the Best Hotel In the World and Observations from

 Observations from on the          “Best Hotel in the World”

We all have preconceived notions of the word “best”.  When defining the “best hotel in the world”, that definition will likely have different connotations for most of us.

Does the “best” have to be part of a brand? Does it need to be in a major city?

Must it have all of the latest in high tech amenities, or does high touch play more of a role?

In these days of instant communication of information, traveler reviews, 3rd party quality assessments and more, identifying the “best” may be a challenge.  Or perhaps not.

 Image: Singita Game Reserves

Travel + Leisure just declared Singita Grumeti Reserves in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park to be the best hotel in the world.

It received a score of 98.44 out of 100 on a list based on reader surveys.
The hotel, which is made up of two lodges and a tent camp, offers unparalleled luxury in the thick of the wild.

It is located on the migratory route traversed annually by more than a million wildebeest, providing guests with incredible photo opportunities from their bedroom windows.
Despite its remote location, Singita’s guests are treated to five-star service and accommodations.

Rooms in the tents and villas start at around $1,095(54000RS) per person per night; rates include daily game drives, food, and drink.

The top 25 hotels in the world are listed at the end of the article  following the photos – enjoy either below or at

Travel & Leisure Best Hotels in the World


  • Luxury suite at Singita Ebony Lodge
  • Private plunge pool at one of the Singita Ebony Lodge suites
  • Main lounge at Singita Ebony Lodge
  • Lower deck at Singita Ebony Lodge
  • Aerial view of Singita Ebony Lodge and the Sand River
  • Exterior of a luxury suite at Singita Boulders Lodge
  • Boulder in our wine cellar which gave Singita Boulders Lodge its name
  • Private bathroom overlooking the Sand River at Singita Boulders Lodge
  • Main lounge at Singita Boulders Lodge
  • Luxury suite at Singita Boulders Lodge
  • Twilight dinner at Singita Boulders Lodge pool
  • Verandah at dusk at Singita Castleton Camp
  • Bedroom at Singita Castleton Camp
  • Bush breakfast at Singita Castleton Camp
  • Verandah at Singita Castleton Camp
  • Luxury suite at Singita Boulders Lodge

Helping Hotel Owners and Hotels Succeed! is a training and information resource site to help you increase your Hotel’s revenue, market share and profitability.

Our services are designed to help individual hoteliers and groups of hotels improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.

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Top 100 Hotels

Rank ’10 Name Score
1 Singita Grumeti Reserves (Sasakwa Lodge, Sabora Tented Camp, Faru Faru Lodge), Serengeti National Park, Tanzania 98.44
2 Singita Sabi Sand (Ebony Lodge, Boulders Lodge, Castleton Camp), Sabi Sand Wildtuin, South Africa 97.95
3 Royal Malewane, Kruger Area, South Africa 97.88
4 ol Donyo Lodge, Kenya Game Parks 97.71 Debut
5 Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India 97.70
6 Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana 97.10
7 Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai, Thailand 97.00
8 Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur, India 96.92
9 Kirawira Luxury Tented Camp, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania 96.71
10 Serengeti Migration Camp, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania 96.50
11 The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, North Island, New Zealand 96.25
12 Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, Nanyuki, Kenya 95.64
13 Posada de Mike Rapu, Explora Rapa Nui, Easter Island 95.47 Debut
14 Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra, India 95.33
15 Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, Nevis 95.24
16 La Résidence Phou Vao, Luang Prabang, Laos 95.20
16 Four Seasons Resort, Carmelo, Uruguay 95.20 $
18 Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Tanzania 95.14
19 Palacio Duhau, Park Hyatt, Buenos Aires 94.97
20 Mombo Camp and Little Mombo Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana 94.82
21 Hotel Caruso, Ravello, Italy 94.75
22 Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, Little Torch Key, Florida 94.56
23 Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok 94.49
24 Stafford London by Kempinski , London 94.40
24 Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tennessee 94.40

Keys to Success Hospitality Tip: Focus on engaging the “high-touch” side of our business by instilling passion in our people #1

How often have we heard the expression that “Life is a journey.”?

Global authors and writers have noted that that travel is one of humankind’s most enduring symbols of freedom and ability to enjoy life.  The concept of travel is inbred into the human experience, and we as hoteliers need to be proactive in how we deliver that experience to each one of our guests.

In these times of continuing uncertainty in the cycles of the slow rebuilding of global economies, oil spills, seemingly illogical stock market responses to speculative stories and more, we as hoteliers and the travel industry need to maintain the uniqueness of our services, regardless of our style or location of hotel.

Travel and tourism is the number one industry of many countries of the world and considered the largest service sector export for the United States.  It is one of the largest employers, developing workers at all levels and areas of expertise.  We have all heard the statistics on the millions of jobs, the billions in payroll income and the substantial contributions to governments everywhere as communities of all sizes benefit as well with significant tax revenues for federal, state, and local governments.

Today’s every day reality is one that interacts with so many people, always seemingly in a hurry to get somewhere else.  Time becomes even more precious, yet we run the risk of becoming a commodity or every day common product if care is not exercised.

I became fascinated with the hospitality industry at the age of 15 at what was then a tired Vermont resort, but the appeal of the industry was magnetic because of the very special personal interaction between guest and host (innkeeper, general manager, owner or whatever the title).  Even though the hotel was “a bit worn” and travel trends were changing, there remained an excitement about actually providing a unique experience.

This is the initial article in a series that will focus in short segments about how to deliver that experience today, whether you are an independent hotel or brand affiliated.  One of the clients I served was interested in this topic and for those programs I reached out for some additional insight to someone I knew from the 17 years I proudly spent as a Tennessee hotelier. Johnny Walker of Nashville has been involved in the hospitality industry his entire career. Johnny Walker Tours is probably Nashville‘s most experienced tour operator, dealing with various  riverboat and music festival packages, guide services, reunions, group business and much more.  He also has a number of hotels and brands and served at one time as the CHOICE Hotel Owners Council President.  Johnny and I are long time associates in the years we overlapped, as we served together on a number of industry councils, commissions and hotel association boards.  When asked, Johnny shared three goals with me that he felt were important for the program I was preparing:

  1. the message that “every room rental/stay must be viewed as an experience”
  2. to explore practical ways to motivate the staff that delivers hotel services
  3. we must all recognize that while we are in an electronic age at the ownership and management level, the front line staff delivering the services may not be or the guests may prefer the personal touch

The program content evolved into four objectives:

  1. To understand and define the Experience Economy
  2. To encourage hotel general managers and their staffs to think about the “guest experience” and how it needs to be built into the mindset of every hotel associate for every guest.
  3. To recognize the danger of  becoming a “Commodity”, and ways to avoid becoming  ordinary
  4. To provide attendees with the opportunity to interact with each other on ways to immediately address challenges at their hotels.

The program featured attendees sharing specific examples of products that are commonplace today that avoided becoming commodities and contrasting them with others that have fallen into disfavor because of a lack of delivery of quality experience.

These attendee-inspired sessions moved quickly into the hospitality/lodging world and identified the “guest experience” of today’s guest in three areas:

  1. breakfast
  2. sleeping and
  3. staff responsiveness

Discussion on clear differences between products and services were held and recognition of what we are really trying to do was the outcome.   In the next blog, I will share specific examples and insights on how we might engage our associates on the “high touch “ side of hospitality.

Blog of Dr. John Hogan CHE CHA MHS  7.29.10                                      ,

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 ( ) 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.