The Evolution Of Best Practices In Hospitality And Tourism (part 1 Of 2)
As you climb the ladder of success,
be sure it's leaning against the right building.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
I believe the five most important service management issues that will impact the hospitality and tourism industry over the next decade include the following:
- Addressing the declining profit margins of the traditional product-based hospitality industry through service management
- Linking service delivery as a management tool to overcome the commoditization of the mature hospitality industry
- Recognizing that global competition will continue to intensify, requiring the executives of the major international brands to focus specific efforts on cultural diversity of service and the guest experience
- Developing an inherent service culture that truly engages all associates via ongoing communication and recognition that include associates’ perspectives and insights. This in turn increases their loyalty, efforts and professionalism.
- Employing specific service management tools and initiatives that cause a shift in guests’ perception of their experience from one of neutral satisfaction to an attitude of loyalty, preference and passion for the total experience. These inspired guests will be measurably more inclined to return to a hotel or restaurant than those are just satisfied with the experience. The opportunity for positive word of mouth recommendations will be significantly higher. Business growth will be an outcome.
I have been involved with delivering customer service, as a hotelier with international brands, as an educator working with a range of stakeholders and as a consultant assisting clients to improve their processes and results. Using my expertise and interests, I offer the following as major areas of research and execution to address those issues in global trends and competitors:
Identify those organizations that are address or ignore service management as part of business strategy, including best practices.
- Best in class (20%) | service management practices identified as the best today and significantly superior to industry norms. These might include hotel companies like Taj Hotels, Four Seasons and Hampton Inns. Tourism centers would include Disney and Dubai. Restaurant companies such as Kimpton Restaurant group and ARAMARK would be defined by level of service.
- Industry norm (60%) | service management practices that characterize the average or norm
- Dawdlers (20%) | service management practices that are appreciably behind the industry norm
Service management as a business strategy necessitates a new set of performance metrics that better reflect the total guest experience.
Companies with a tactical approach that focus on internal performance metrics miss capturing e the “whole guest experience.” Best-in-Class executives balance internal with guest-focused metrics like guest history, one-time problem resolution, reservation guarantees and guest intent to return.
Identify and discuss the challenging issues facing the industry in order to prosper long-term.
Whether a hospitality and tourism business is trying to move from “Dawdler” to “Industry Average,” or “Average” to “Best-in-class,” they should consider the following potential building blocks in taking service management to the next level:
- Measure service profitability, customer retention and per guest revenue regularly.
- Conduct systematic planning, forecasting, and alignment of service resources.
- Appoint a senior executive to lead the organization’s service commitment.
- Expand associate training to include all levels as fully committed to service management
- Adjust business processes to better anticipate guest needs and expectations.
Best in Class
- Intensify preventative maintenance
- Expand associate training and mentoring.
- Leverage successful service delivery to grow revenues
- Tie associate compensation to financial, operational and customer retention goals through balanced scorecards
Part 2 of this series will offer practical hands-on recommendations for relevant service management for mid-career hospitality and tourism professionals in their continuing development.
What are you doing at your hospitality business today?
John Hogan, CHA CHMS CHE CHO
KEYS TO SUCCESS™ is the umbrella title for our programs, hospitality services and columns. This year's writings focus on a variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my "HOW TO" articles, HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS™, Lessons from the Field™, Hotel Common Sense™, THE P-A-R PRINCIPLE™ and Principles for Success.
All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management. This article may not be reproduced without the expressed permission of the author. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication.