Delivering Hospitality and Pride.
By Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA MHS
Friday, 5th June 2009
Several months ago, I shared my definitions of the word HOSPITALITY in a column published in this service and asked readers to contribute their definitions.

Reader input came in from many different people. There were definitions from people relatively new to the industry and from seasoned veterans.  Some were individual operators and others who managed companies and multiple brands.  There were educators and there were those who supported the industry.   A sampling of the responses from a diversity of people and places were in a follow up column titled GLOBAL READER DEFINITIONS OF HOSPITALITY.

As I considered these definitions last week, I realized the next step: defining is one thing -delivery is another.   I found myself considering examples of excellence in hospitality and ways that successful hotels build pride.

Building Pride

Many hotels have much to be proud of – service to their guests, contributions to their community and a solid reputation in their local industry.

Building Pride is not so much of a program, but a commitment to excel in what is done at their hotel.  The following are examples from my professional experience:

1. Last fall at the Jacksonville, FL Hyatt Regency, I observed the General Manager,  Food and Beverage Director and Chef touring the restaurant after breakfast and before lunch.  Their "tour" was actually a very positive inspection of both the obvious and the somewhat hidden physical features of the outlet.  I say positive, because I did not hear them level criticism of areas that could use improvement or refurbishing.  Instead, I heard their animated discussion on how to make the area both more enjoyable for guests and accessible for staff.  When I spoke with the GM later, he said this kind of interaction is a regular part of improving every part of the hotel.

2. At the same Hyatt Regency hotel, I had an unusual departure experience.  The doorman called for a cab, helped with my luggage and then extended a handshake with the comment "thank you for staying at MY hotel."  I recognize that in some cultures, this might be a sensitive approach, but I was truly impressed by his sincerity in thanking me for my patronage. 

3. At the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalow on the Big Island of Hawaii, it is easy to see why the hotel has been recognized by Travel & Leisure, Andrew Harper, CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER, National Geographic, Meetings Magazine and others.  The hotel is renowned for its devotion to preserving and enhancing the cultural history of Hawaii and recognized for its successful honu (green sea turtle) program, cultural activities, indigenous plant life and historic fishponds. 

What I recall from a mystery shopping assignment I had a number of years ago is reinforced in the TRIPADVISOR.com recognition ratings from real travelers. I recall the wonderful welcome experience as you are invited to sit, are greeted with tropical juice, a flower lei, cold washcloths and then leisurely escorted to your accommodation. Reading some of the more than 300 comments, one can sense the pride and coordination of service.

4. At the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Fayetteville, Arkansas, I appreciated the hand-written welcome note from the hotel director of sales that accompanied the fresh fruit.  The card was just the right introduction for who I could contact to receive a small service I needed in preparation for my program the next day.  The Fayetteville Visitors Bureau had engaged me to interact with their membership on ways to continue to improve service and revenues.

5. Last fall I had the privilege of conducting a series of programs for Choice Hotel on the topic of enhancing the guest experience.  I‘d like to compliment the many CHOICE branded General Managers who shared their personal stories of delivering hospitality.  Many managers of Comfort Inns, Quality Inns, Sleep Inns and Clarions regularly interact with their guests at breakfast by serving coffee, meeting, greeting, and generally making their guests feel appreciated.  I believe this single act of hosting goes a long way in making their guests feel genuinely welcomed.  

"Excellence is best described as doing the right things right - selecting the most important things to be done and then accomplishing them 100% correctly."  Secrets of Effective Leadership

What are some of the ways your hotel staff excels at delivering hospitality?  Send them to me at johnjhogan@yahoo.com and I will include them in an upcoming article.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at johnjhogan@yahoo.com 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 can be obtained from THE ROOMS CHRONICLE www.roomschronicle.com 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, a career hotelier and educator, is a frequent speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is a successful senior executive with a record of accomplishment leading organizations at multiple levels.  His professional experience includes over 35 years in hotel operations, food & beverage, sales & marketing, training, management development, consulting, management, including service as Senior VP of Operations. 

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