Tag Archives: Hospitality

In hospitality, your people are NOT your most important assets.

In hospitality, your people are NOT your most important assets.

In the book Good to Great, Jim Collins writes that “People are not your most important asset. The right people are.”

Stephen Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, claims that success in any job is 20% knowledge and 80% interpersonal skills. Ultimately, success in hospitality is all about interpersonal skills.

There are a lot of people wanting to enter the hospitality business. And for an industry set to take advantage of travel and tourism that will be generated by Gen X and baby boomers, that is good news. Unfortunately, while there are people who want to work in hospitality, there are many who simply are not the right people. As a resort general manager who personally interviewed every candidate finalist and as a former college instructor interacting with students and displaced workers from other industries, I feel that many people lack the necessary interpersonal skills because they have grown up or interacted with others in a generation far different from our own.

I am convinced that people can only deliver an experience that they themselves have experienced. In order to succeed in retail, they would have had to personally experience and learn from great examples of others exhibiting stellar interpersonal skills in their day-to-day interactions with travelers and guests.

But those opportunities to learn firsthand from face-to-face interactions have all changed in less than a generation. Not too long ago there was no direct deposit or internet banking. If we wanted to deposit our paycheck, we would have to go weekly to the bank. After a while, the teller got to know who we were, where we worked, what we did there, and regularly asked how work and our company were doing. Remember when gas station attendants checked your oil and tire pressure, cleaned your windshield, and asked you if there was anything else they could do for you for a little over a dollar per gallon? How bad has customer service gotten when we never see an attendant and actually pump our own gas for more than four dollars per gallon?

The average Facebook user today has 338 friends. When a person posts on his or her page, they don’t have a loss of self-esteem when only 50 “like” the post. The other 288 have ignored them and they are OK with that! Today, we have cell phones. But what are many doing with their cell phones? I’m so old I remember someone actually laughing out loud on my phone. Texting is really one-way communication. You don’t hear voice tone or inflection or a pause. In real life, there is no “delete” or “backspace”.

Where is the reinforcement of interpersonal skills in those experiences?

So, the experiences for many people are not full of good examples of emotional intelligence, body language, or verbal communication that only face-to-face interactions can teach. I believe that translates into the real world that is OK to ignore the guest and your co-workers. You don’t have to greet your co-workers every morning or every traveler who walks through the door. Having not experienced often enough good examples of communication, collaboration, or relationship-building skills, how will those people entering hospitality, the people you entrust to travelers and guests, be successful? And if you allow yourself to accept that level of performance as adequate, how will your businesses succeed?

The answer is that you, as manager, are responsible for the education of those who do not have those skills. For you to succeed in this very competitive travel and tourism marketplace, you will need the right people. You will need people who know how to consistently welcome your guests with eye contact and a smile, inform each traveler openly, transparently and interactively, listen and respond empathetically, and bid them a sincere fond farewell. So, you will need to ask the proper interview questions with the specific intent of finding out if the candidates have the necessary skills of expressing sincerity, empathy, and trust. And you will be the one who will have to educate the people you select to deliver that experience for your travelers and guests. Interpersonal skills training cannot simply end after the first-week orientation. It must be consistent and continual. Only then will you build the interpersonal skills of your staff to drive their success and yours.

#customerservice #customerexperience #hospitality #custserv #custexp #cx

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Filed under Customer Experience, Customer Service, Hospitality

Merriest of Christmases and Happiest of Holidays and New Years!

Ever since I had my stroke in April last year, writing has been literally a labor of love. I hope that you have gained some insight into how to Deliver the World’s Best Customer Experience by not just serving to satisfy customers, but rather to WOW them.

I want to thank each of you for reading my blog this year. I very much appreciate you. In appreciation, and in paying it forward, for this New Year, I don’t wish you good luck in the future. I wish you GREAT success and fortune, literally and figuratively.

Merriest of Christmases and happiest of Holidays and New Years! May your New Year be GREAT out there!


Filed under Customer Experience, Customer Loyalty, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Service, Employee Engagement, Hospitality, Leadership, Training

Happiest of birthdays, Mr. Marriott!

Happiest of birthdays to the greatest of the great hospitality leaders!

I agree with Marriott International when they say that Mr. Marriott’s “impact on the hospitality industry is only exceeded by his kindness”. On his birthday, I wanted to express my admiration and appreciation for the example Mr. Marriott gave me as a leader and how it has formed my management style.

While still in college, I joined Marriott in 1976 as a charter member of Marriott’s Great America in Santa Clara. On opening day, Mr. Marriott welcomed all of us. And just 5 years later, I was fortunate to serve as the opening director of services for Marriott’s 100th property, the Maui Marriott Resort, the first in the state of Hawaii. What I remember to this day was how Mr. Marriott would walk the backstage areas and greet everyone with a smile and a handshake. He didn’t wait for someone to approach him. He initiated the interaction. “Take good care of your employees and they’ll take good care of the customers.” And in the gesture of Mr. Marriott walking around to introduce himself to all of us, it was obvious the mantra wasn’t simply a slogan, but really something that drove the leadership philosophy of the company. While I left Marriott shortly thereafter I always remembered that example.

Thirty-five years after my first day at Great America, I was the charter general manager of The Henry – Autograph Collection which for 21 years stood as the Ritz-Carlton Dearborn. Mr. Marriott came through on a tour of the property. Since The Henry was a franchise, he did not have to do that during his two-day tour as there are many Marriott-managed properties in Detroit. But he did. Serving many years as a Board member of General Motors, he had visited often when it was a Ritz-Carlton. Many of the same associates were there to greet him on his first visit to The Henry. We had the line of associates upon his arrival and he took the time to shake everyone’s hand. But what I remember was that on our tour of the property, he made it a point to acknowledge every associate as he had done in Maui.

I can tell you that the genuine appreciation that Mr. Marriott shows on every visit to every associate just doesn’t happen in other hotel companies. The lesson here: It all starts at the top. A handshake and a smile from the Executive Chairman may seem to him like a very small thing, but it certainly made an impact on all of us. From day one, I understood you simply can’t lead from the corner office.

Happiest of birthdays, Mr. Marriott!


Filed under Customer Service