The Value of Hoteliers Helping Hoteliers.
By John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS
Wednesday, 3rd August 2011
In my various roles as an educator, a keynote speaker, a consultant andor a hospitality executive, I have learned there are many ways to share stories that effectively communicate the message.  

While I enjoy leading workshops, I have also discovered that carefully using a blend of people in a panel who are peers to the group can dramatically increase interaction, audience participation and achieve the end result of communicating the desired message.

Over the last few years, I have served as a panelist at some large venues such as the International Hotel & Restaurant Show in New York City and at a number of hospitality industry events and conventions including an annual CHRIE (Council of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Educators.) meeting.  I have also had the privilege of serving as the panel moderator at such events as an annual AAHOA meeting, several AH&LA meetings and at a number of brand conventions. 

In this latter role, I have also learned it takes a certain amount of skill and tact to balance the inevitable egos that may surface on panels, especially if the topic is controversial or if there are perhaps competing brand representatives trying to gain position.

Below are seven questions I used at a very successful program on Guest Service for an international organization.  The panelists were all operating general managers and/or owners of properties of different sizes, locations, service levels and prices.   There were more questions in the session and there was Q&A with the audience at this particular program,  The five panelists had a preview of some of the questions, but there was no limit set on responses.

7 Sample Questions

1. How do you define excellent Customer Service?
2. How do you compete with the brands or chains that offer a 100% guarantee? (Looking for specific examples)
3. We often hear that line level employees feel they do not have enough empowerment to succeed at their jobs.  What do you do at your hotel?
4. Who follows up at your hotel if there is a problem? What about the guest who has already left and you learn about a problem?
5. Can you share some examples of providing excellence in service in areas outside of the front office?
6. Can you describe and share a funny or amusing customer service problem that had happened to you as a consumer and had a negative ending? What might have been done to turn this around?
7. Can you quantify PROFITABILITY with delivering better service?

I have found that these HOTELIER HELPING HOTELIER  Panels  can have a major and positive impact on an overall program, but they must be well moderated and the panelists set at ease, especially if this is their first time to participate. 

If readers are interested in some of the answers to these questions, send me a note and I will recap them in a future column.  I would also be interested in supporting your association or company meeting in this manner or with some other program that meets your needs

Success does not come by accident or chance.         

Contact us for assistance – John.Hogan@HospitalityEducators.com or 602-799-5375  

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.

Your Hospitality Resource for the Hotel Owner, Innkeeper, Manager and Hospitality Industry Associations
John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS
United States - Phoenix, Phone: 602-799-5375
www.hoganhospitality.com / Email: info@hoganhospitality.com
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