Hotel Sandwich: How the Effective Hotel Processes Work.
By Mila Petruk ~ Exclusive Column
Tuesday, 5th February 2013
Exclusive Feature: Hotel is a sandwich with many layers of processes which together create the taste of guest experience.

Guest experience is shared among other guests, and this is how the hotel image is formed. Therefore, a task of the successful hotelier is to ensure that these layers taste good both separately and together. There are two basic aspects of quality check in this case: internal and external.

First of all, let's discuss the internal aspect: each layer has to taste good. This is the internal quality of each layer. Every day the hotel functions with multiple hotel processes. And we know how important it is to make sure that each of these processes has no violations to guest service quality. When a tiny mistake is made within one process, the hotel experience of a guest becomes a mess that is very hard to correct and improve thereafter.

For this reason, when the hoteliers look at the hotel sandwich, it is essential that each layer is tightly observed. Department heads have their key roles in this situation, and they need to ensure that the layer of hotel processes produced by their department conforms to the hotel policies and is a high-quality product. Moreover, this job is to be done every day. This is what makes the internal quality of hotel processes so difficult.

The sandwiches are cooked every day, and there are no days off for this process. And each layer provided by different departments of the hotel – marketing, accounting, food & beverage, front office, housekeeping, and even maintenance (especially maintenance) – has to be close to perfection. Only in this case can the sandwich be digested and the guest will come back, because there will be no food poisoning after ‘eating' such hotel experience.

Another important aspect is the external aspect: layers have to taste good together. This is the external quality of each layer. We know this situation when the ingredients are right, but their taste together is weird if not disgusting. In this case, this is a job of general manager to ensure that the sandwich is tasty, because the layers taste good together. Hotel managers are usually seen involved in many detailed processes, but if at this stage they do not check the quality of the ‘layer', the overall ‘sandwich' may be an awful product.

In hotel everyday operations, there are multiple interactions between the departments. These interactions are crucial to the success of the hotel sandwich. This is where the problem with the taste alignment comes from. When communication between the departments is effective, then the layers taste good together, and there are no opposing elements in each of these layers. In other words, there should be a system of work in each hotel which allows trying these layers prior to giving a sandwich to the guest.

However, beside the fact that the layers actually taste good, and they taste good together in a sandwich, the hoteliers face another problem: something is missing. When you cook a sandwich, you may also find yourself facing the same problem. This is when the designer's contacts come to your mind, and you call a florist. Or you decide that the logo on the front needs to be changed as the phrase does not comply with your marketing strategy anymore.

But what is important in the process of cooking a hotel sandwich is the timing of these actions: internal needs to get done prior to the external, external needs to get done prior to any flavor additions. The poor hotel management usually starts with hoteliers looking for florists and changing hotel logos.

Remember, the client comes to a restaurant to eat. And if the sandwich does not taste good, he won't come back, even if you invite Celine Dion to sing at the entrance.

This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.

Mila Petruk is a hospitality consultant and a founder of Milina Outsourcing Management (MOM) which provides consulting to hotels and restaurants including mystery guest audit, temporary staffing and training support. Being a hospitality industry enthusiast, Mila has a global insight into the developing trends of hotel and restaurant business all over the world.

Having a rich international hotel work experience and an MBA from one of the reputed Swiss hotel schools, she has applied it in almost every hotel department she had worked. Contact Mila at mila.petruk@gmail.com.

Mila writes a regular column for 4Hoteliers.com.
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