Industry Update
Opinion Article22 February 2019

12 Golden Keys to Hospitality Excellence

By Frank H. Benzakour, Cornell graduate, Professor of Contemporary Club Management at Fairleigh Dickinson University and author

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Hospitality is a challenging industry; the competition continues to rise plus guests are demanding more and better services. But I know the key, in fact, 12 golden keys, to adapting and refining your luxury hotel to lead and succeed in hospitality excellence.

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1. You Can't Grow as A Leader If You Don't Develop Others

Effective leaders help their employees attain their goals by inspiring, enabling, mentoring, and training them. Developing a succession plan for all positions is a big responsibility, but the reward of seeing your workforce flourish and advance is more than worth it.

2. Over-Invest in People

Your employees aren't an expense, they're an investment—they represent your hotel and will drive your organization to success. Over-investing in your employees can cost a pretty penny, but it's vital to your dominance in the hospitality industry. You're guaranteed to reap the rewards of over-investing in your staff.

3. Celebrate Diversity

It's fundamental to your luxury hotel's success to effectively acclimate to the diversity of both your market and employees.
Celebrate Diversity because it:

  • Provides a multidimensional approach to innovation,
  • Offers you a broad selection of candidates to form a superior workforce
  • Boosts your organization's profitability and value in the global hospitality industry
  • Cultivates an adaptable, receptive corporate culture
  • Is an asset in anticipating and exceeding guest expectations
  • Provides employees who are fluent in other languages and cultures which helps you attract more international guests

4. Embrace Change

Change is constant in the hospitality industry and impacts customers, managers, and employees. So, don't let paradigms or opposition to change get in the way. You'll be able to identify coming changes if you take a creative approach by initiating new ways of doing things and innovative ideas.

5. The Power of Social Media for Marketing

Collaboration-hospitality evolved because consumers want new and unique experiences. Yelp, Urbanspoon, and TripAdvisor connect potential guest with your guests, who share like-minded interests and values. People trust social media reviews by friends, family, and associates and even total strangers more than they do those from news stations or ad agencies. Other Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube are also vital to boosting profits.

6. Be A Student of the Obvious

In pursuit of answers and tactics, hotels often dismiss what is right under their noses - the obvious. Think innovation rather than creativity— doing things in a more effective way, such as making sure you're easily searchable online, targeting your specific audience, and marketing your location as well as your hotel.

7. Guest Satisfaction

Go out of your way for your guests. Constantly strive to exceed your members' expectations in both the facilities and quality of service. Some trends in personalized service are: ensure your staff always addresses the guests by their names, and have the rooms set up per their preferences including temperature, lighting, and their favorite soaps, shampoos, etc. Other trendy ways to delight guests include mobile check-in, reward or loyalty Programs, free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and parking, and charging stations in every room. Happy guests will recommend your hotel to their family, friends, and others.

8. Be A Master of the Game Theory

Your hotel can gain a strategic advantage by using Game Theory to calculate various outcomes between your hotel and your competitor's because your payoff depends entirely on the move they make. There isn't any way to know everything you will encounter in the hospitality industry, but game theory allows you to study numerous variables before you make your move, so you can achieve the best result.

9. Swim in Blue Oceans

The buzz words for this marketing strategy are red ocean and blue ocean. Red ocean symbolizes the established markets, which are teeming with shark-like rivals. Blue ocean signifies the search for differentiation and low cost simultaneously to open uncontested spaces and create new demand with no competition. Blue Ocean Strategy empowers your hotel to stop competing and start creating by generating value and a new market that wasn't there before.

10. Pareto Principle — the 80/20 Rule of Management

Pareto's Principle or the 80/20 Rule is a valuable tool for streamlining problems, so you make smarter choices. Once you realize that 20 percent of actions or performances are producing the biggest results you can focus on them. In other words, instead of fixing what's wrong, concentrate more on leveraging what's right because that's what your guests will respond to.

11. Innovate or Die

If you don't move toward the future, you'll become part of the past. An innovative trend is chatbots to provide guests with instant information and answers or use robots which offer more functions than chatbots. They can be equipped with AI, chat functions, and use big data while accessing the cloud. Also consider going green by accentuating your decor with live plants, recycled wood, and organic materials, as well as using more natural light. Many hotel restaurants are using digital tablets for menus, wine lists, and ordering as well as offering mobile or wireless payment options. Hotels that offer an innovative experience that exceed the expectations of the members are the ones that will move into the future.

12. Every CEO Should Have A Coach

CEOs define the entire culture of the organization and they are under more pressure and face more challenges today than ever before. Coaching helps CEOs focus on their most earnest aspirations and strategies, while also learning to be less selfish and more aware of others.

In conclusion, the knowledge in these twelve keys, like all learning, is power. It leads to real accomplishments and success. By applying these 12 golden keys you will advance your organization and leave a lasting impact.

Frank H. Benzakour

F. H. Benzakour shares his insights and expertise on superior management in the 12 Golden Keys to Hospitality Excellence. He is a Cornell MBA graduate and a professor of Contemporary Management at Fairleigh Dickinson University in NJ and has 25 years of Hospitality experience serving as COO of several prestigious country clubs in the Metropolitan chapter (NY NJ & CT).

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    Cornell graduate, Professor of Contemporary Club Management at Fairleigh Dickinson University and author
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