The Soft Edge | Recommended Reading from | Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success


The Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success 

Rich Karlgaard

Soft Edge

I have likely read several hundred business books over the years, and approach each new one carefully.  While I am not in technology and am not drawn usually to books using it as the base, this book offers solid insights for including soft edge values into business culture.

The Soft Edge Values are

  1. Trust
  2. Smarts
  3. Teams
  4. Taste and
  5. Story

The author Rich Karlgaard discusses each in some detail, offering specific examples from different types of organizations.  These do not seem to be business school case studies, but real world, understandable stories.

When the news continues to dwell on the banking  and government abuses (including technology short cuts, legal or otherwise), this book about something other than hard data is refreshing.

Much of what is  published in the business press the last 10 years tends to  praise the “hard line edge” of business, even though so many of the staff in those companies are chewed up.  This book instead offers   observations and awareness about building trust and loyalty in business.  It offers solid examples and  case studies that reveal insights that came primarily from not start-ups that may or may not last, but from proven successes  that demanded  refinement, good judgment, and consideration to others.

Highly Recommended!


John J. Hogan   CHA CHMS CHE CHO

Hospitality Educators                 Hogan Hospitality



Kathleen Hogan Ireland Sept 2013John 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.

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.

John Hogan Sept 2013DSCN0215

Contact information:  Kathleen Hogan  480-436-0283, John Hogan 602-799-5375 or

Workshops Available: 

 Lessons From the Field:   A Common Sense Approach to Effective Hotel Sales 

A to Z Steps to Profits

45 Proven Ways to Succeed in Hospitality in Any Economy

Hotel Sales Action Steps to Succeed – Anytime, Anywhere 

10 Hotel Mistakes to Avoid in Selling 

Share Best Practices on Engaging the “high-touch” side of our business #2

The full title of the previous blog reinforced the emphasis of the series : Engaging the “high-touch” side of our business by instilling passion in our people and I appreciate reader response and feedback.   Segment 1 introduced an understanding of a genuine need for the hospitality industry to provide a unique experience or face the potential consequences of our hotel, restaurant, retail service or attraction being viewed as very ordinary or in other words, a commodity.

This second segment of the series further defines the experience of today, whether you are an independent hotel or brand affiliated.  In segment one, I shared some insights from Tennessee hotelier Johnny Walker of Nashville. He has been actively engaged in the hospitality industry for more than 35 years and is one of the region’s most experienced tour operators.  As a hotel owner/operator with multiple brands, he offered a number of ideas he felt were important for hotel managers today, including the message that “every room rental/stay must be viewed as an experience”

In a number of interactive workshops over the past two years, I have focused on identifying ways to  encourage hotel general managers and their staffs to think about the “guest experience” and how we might build that commitment of “high touch” into the mindset of every employee for every guest.

Recognizing the danger of becoming a “Commodity”, and seeking specific ways to avoid becoming ordinary, I focused on three areas in these workshops and am pleased to share some best practices from managers and owners of both branded and independent properties.

The first topic discussed is one that every guest experiences, regardless of hotel location,  room rate or level of service:  SLEEPING

These workshops were held across North America and participants had wonderful ideas and best practices of how to make the “sleeping” experience positive, memorable and unique.  The best ideas I heard included addressing all five of the human senses

  1. Sight – the guest room and the bed must be inviting.  This means neatly prepared beds, using pillows as décor and a sense of freshness to the eye as one enters the room.
  2. Smell – the fragrance discussion in hospitality is not new.  We all likely have fond memories of entering a bakery or a certain restaurant, yet too many hotels do not address this sensation.  Care must be taken in cleaning products used, and there are packaged scents available that can be subtly present in the guest room, which enhances the overnight experience of sleep.
  3. Sound – Rooms must be reasonably constructed or designed to block out street noise or external sound, as well as addressing the sounds of ice machines and elevators.  Suggestions by attendees included ways to identify and then deal with those noises.  A number of properties today include a CD player (with brand or hotel provided CDs)  and/or a higher quality radio that offers additional calming effects conducive for sleeping
  4. Taste – the general manager’s reception, fresh popcorn in the lobby, homemade cookies or other treats can be positive interactions for guests as they retire to their rooms. These can reinforce situations they have at home, and therefore find positive when traveling.
  5. Touch – as in #1 Sight above, the guest room and bedding must be inviting.  Well maintained, comfortable bed coverings with quality linens complete the five senses for a guest who is on the road every week or for those who travel only on vacations.

Participants who shared these observations also commented that the entire housekeeping and front office teams must be part of understanding that delivery of a good’s night’s sleep means each member of the staff contributing their own personal touches, smiles and appreciation of the individual guest staying at their hotel.

The next two segments of this blog will share best practices on breakfast and staff responsiveness to a guest’s concern or complaint.

Feedback or ideas for future pieces are welcome -contact me

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.