to That of a Kumquat; Hotel Operators Focus
on the Guest Becoming Secondary
|by John R. Hendrie, CEO Hospitality Performance, Inc., August 2005
“The lights are on, but no one is home!”
That old saw is an apt statement about the state of Hospitality in certain areas of the US today. Operators are tired, beaten up, spent. Their energies are internally directed – staffing, budgets, complaints, legislation, etc. – whereas, the external focus on the Visitor and Guest Experience has become quite secondary. “Just let me make it through the day” or “I can’t be bothered” are the laments. Our true calling is controlled now by the numbers not by the virtues of a Host. Beans are good and should be counted and then ground, because many have forgotten the aroma of good Hospitality. Technology has been a boon to facilitate our rudimentary systems but has also removed us further from Guest contact. Even at a high time of mergers, acquisitions, and renovations, a distinct aura of malaise shrouds Management. Our symbol of Hospitality, the pineapple, has morphed to that of a kumquat.
The Organizations we look to for direction and traffic, the DMO, are in similar straits of disarray and ennui, beset by financial woes, dearth of leadership and ineffective marketing programs. In regions and even states where Tourism is known to be a if not the major economic driver, we, who should be at the helm to move our businesses and communities forward, are not taken seriously, because we cannot get it together, form the proper coalitions, construct the message, and lead the charge. Rather than substantive action like a “barn raising”, we settle for the more social “pot luck dinner”. And, Organized Labor is just salivating, looking at our soft underbelly. We are the Service Sector, and our employees are prime candidates for union organizing attempts. We are vulnerable, folks!
You can raise the red flag, some will salute, but many others will head to the hors d’oeuvre table. Where is the outrage and the surge to action? We need to see collective Peter Finches (the movie “Network”) proclaim their alarm and distress; however, the Industry is muted.
Some Hospitality businesses get it, as do some Destinations. However, many do not. They read, they observe, they fret, titter and make noise, and then sit down. Someone else will take the lead! We all have seen this “me” emphasis from our colleagues. What happened to the “them”, the Visitor and the Guest, our raison d’etre.
Chain operators may casually nod, comforted in the resources and safety net of the Corporate Offices. Independents cover their eyes and ears, believing they have no voice or recourse. We look at other industries to see how they have recovered, reinvented and reoriented themselves, and moved forward, profitably. We shutter because their paths taken were fraught with peril, littered with casualties, and created intense pain. But, the Consumer became King, again, and the Experience reigned supreme. Even in other countries around the world, especially Europe, tourism efforts present high standards and minimal “surprises”. In the US, “surprises” are part of the package, as are lowered expectations. Goodness gracious, what to do?
We used to be able to blame everything on the Communists – the weather, the economy, events in general. Now, sadly, the options are even more terrifying. However, as Al Capp’s Pogo exclaimed, the enemy might just be us. It is time to do business differently and regain the prominence acquiesced. That journey is just not that difficult, but it does require an engaged realignment of product, service and resources, and most importantly, mission. Meeting Planners and our Visitors instinctively evaluate that “balance of expectations”, and you must transcend the merely acceptable to the Remarkable.
Your paradigm shift to this Remarkable Hospitality is a readjustment to Visitor/Guest focus, where it belongs. If you do not care, they surely will not either. As an operator or DMO, there are several Key ingredients, which drive this shift:
This article is meant to be provocative and challenging. Let me know what you think at: firstname.lastname@example.org
John R. Hendrie, CEO
Hospitality Performance, Inc.
|Also See:||Ready for Pluckin'; Hospitality Represents that Fat Roaster, Just Sitting there, Plump and Contented / John R. Hendrie / July 2005|
|Literally Every Destination Marketing Organization Is Under Duress; The Challenge to CVB's / John R. Hendrie / July 2005|
|A Smile is Really a Simple Thing – an Expression of Welcome, No Cost Involved / John R. Hendrie / July 2005|
|Lead the Trend to Becoming Guest-Centric; Demonstrating Behavior Not Normally Experienced by the Guest / John R. Hendrie / June 2005|
|Hospitality QED, That's Latin to Me! / John Hendrie / June 2005|
|Unless You Operate a Business in a Very Remote Location, You Belong to the Amorphous “Brand-Scape” / John R. Hendrie / June 2005|
|Maximize the Performance of Your Greatest Asset - Your Employees / John R. Hendrie / May 2005|
|Preparing for the Assault by Organized Labor on Hospitality / John R. Hendrie / May 2005|
|Customer Service - Panacea or Placebo / John R. Hendrie / May 2005|
|How to Even the Playing Field, As Independents Suspiciously Eye the Chain Hotels / John R. Hendrie / April 2005|
|Oh, What a Web We Weave! Pitfalls with Descriptive Language / John R. Hendrie / April 2005|
|Woe is We! We in Hospitality Have Lost Touch and Share the Responsibility for Consumer Cynicism, Angst and Ennui / March 2005|
|Moving the Guest Comment Card from Paper to Paperless / John Hendrie / March 2005|
|Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association Launches 'Total Quality Destination' and Presents 'Gold Star of Excellence Awards' / March 2005|
|The Evolution of Guest Room Amenities / John Hendrie / February 2005|
|Advertising Integrity; Framing the Visitor's Expectation Through Print, Signage & Internet / John Hendrie / February 2005|
|Hospitality Trade Associations: What Have You Done for Me Lately? / February 2005|
|I Would Like to See your Hospitality Standards. Where Are They? Anybody Seen Them? / John Hendrie / January 2005|
|Remarkable Hospitality - the Road Map to Excellence; Exceeding the Expectations of our Guests / John Hendrie / January 2005|
|Are Your Guests Expecting Mediocrity with Your Hospitality Services? Move Your Level of Excellence to the Remarkable / John Hendrie / December 2004|
|Guest Services - A Tradition Diminished / John Hendrie / December 2004|
|Rescue from Mediocrity; The Decline of Service Etiquette - A Sequel / John Hendrie / November 2004|
|Offering Crushed Pepper Before Tasting the Entrée; The Decline of Restaurant Service Etiquette / John Hendrie / October 2004|
|Destination Marketing – How to rebuild your Reputation and the upcoming Season after the Hurricanes / John Hendrie / September 2004|
|Six Factors Which Dictate Success in Performing Destination Marketing / John Hendrie / September 2004|
|Influencing the Consumer to Book Business through Your Commitment to Quality / Aug 2004|
|Major Hotel Operators Have Rediscovered Hospitality Fundamentals by Revisiting the Guest Room / John R. Hendrie / July 2004|
|Destination Marketing 101: Take Care of Mom / John R. Hendrie / June 2004|
|Service Unions Combine, Presenting Huge Challenge to Hospitality Industry / John R. Hendrie / March 2004|
|What Value Quality? Most Hospitality Operators Use the Term “Quality” In their Advertising. What Exactly Does that Mean? / John R. Hendrie / April 2004|