The Sandy Lane Hotel; Dover Beach Apartment Hotel; The Savannah Hotel; The New EdgeWater Hotel; The House Hotel; Colony Club Hotel; Crystal Cove Hotel; Accra Beach Hotel & Resort; Tamarind Cove Hotel; Turtle Beach Hotel
This best practice benchmarking study employed a two-pronged data gathering approach. The field research team designed and conducted a performance benchmark survey that gathered statistical insights from nine of the participating hotels, representing a cross-section of the industry. The Best Practices research team then conducted in-depth interviews with more than 15 key functional leaders at 10 participating hotels to harvest qualitative insights, process excellence observations and managerial lessons learned.
The report evaluates multiple fronts of hotel operations that have greatest impact on customer service excellence. Some areas are directly related, such as training staff for attentiveness and courteousness in guest interactions, and effectively managing complaints. Other areas are indirectly related, but no less important. Incentives and recognition programs, for example, help sustain staff energy and morale so that customer service levels are maintained over the long-term.
Well-planned, yield-management systems help managers maximize profit in high and low seasons, anticipate swings in business and plan for staff and resources accordingly, so that the customer experience remains consistent. Fully realized marketing plans help managers define the customer segments most important to their financial and strategic goals and enable them to plan accordingly.
While any one of these areas could be benchmarked fully in its own right, a complete overview study seemed the most applicable way to suggest improvements that would improve productivity overall.
The following are two sample key findings from the report. In total, the study includes more than 150 best practices, data charts, narratives and performance metrics.
1. Customer Service Excellence: Formalize and codify processes for customer service to establish specific quality standards for staff behavior and guest expectation.
All interviewed companies indicated that their top priority was enhancing the overall customer service excellence. General training for specific jobs is a given for all hotels, but different price points and service levels can create ambiguity and confusion about what activities are required specifically in each role. To eliminate this confusion – and to create a clear value proposition for guests and manage expectations – hotels should do the following:
This roadmap for employee behavior delineates what customer service excellence is within the organization, and provides a clear framework for all customer-facing employees to follow when dealing with guests. In addition, this framework empowers employees to make decisions that will benefit the customer and the organization.
- Establish a step-by-step standard of behavior for greeting, interacting with, and problem-solving for guests in all situations. All customer-facing employees should be trained on this common standard.
- Create a plan for handling complaints that enables fast resolution, prevents multiple negative experiences for individual guests, captures details of such events to enable analysis of customer experience shortcomings.
- Develop active methods for monitoring customer satisfaction. Probing for passive dissatisfaction helps hotels “catch” subtle or unseen problems in customer experience and drives customer loyalty.
2. Personnel Management: Direct employees to desired performance levels with personal, hands-on coaching techniques and milestone-setting activities.
The most common challenges for hotel managers revolved around motivating staff so that negative behaviors such as high absenteeism and resistance to customer service requirements are reduced as much as possible. The hotel managers that have the most success in guiding their employees to desired performance levels conduct intensive, personal coaching and set specific behavioral requirements that are easily understood and monitored. For example, one general manager actively coaches all staff on an ongoing basis; in these sessions, he probes for elements of their life situations and personalities that drive them – “motivational triggers” in the general manager’s words. With this information the manager can discuss job requirements that speak to each employee’s most personal needs and ambitions, and helps them set out to realize those goals through their current jobs.
Table of Contents
1. Executive Overview and Introduction
- Project Background
- Study Methodology and Benchmark Class
- Report Structure and Organization
- Key Findings and Insights
- Path Forward
2. Operational Performance
- Occupancy Rates and Revenue
- Balancing Employee Productivity and Service Excellence
3. Achieving Customer Service Excellence
- Establishing Standards for Customer Service Experience
- Monitoring Customer Satisfaction
- Complaint Resolution
4. Personnel Development
- Creating Staff Capabilities
- Structure and Design of Training Programs
- Managing Employee Performance
- Driving Staff Morale with Problem-Solving, Coaching, Incentives and Compensation
List of Charts & Exhibits
The following is a list of data charts as they appear in the report:
- Best Practices in Marketing Manegement
- Analysis of Comment Cards (Identifies Areas for Training)
- Average Daily Room Rate
- Customer Satisfaction Metrics
- Customer Satisfaction Scores
- Decreases in RevPar and Room Rate
- Effectiveness of Non-Cash Incentives
- Employee Absent Rates (High Season)
- Employee Wage Rate – Overall Stats
- Excellence in Complaint Resolution
- External Employee Turnover Rates
- Finding an Optimal Training Mix
- High Season Staff Productivity
- Hiring Criteria
- Internal Review Process for Service Levels
- Key Hotel Performance Metrics
- Logging Customer Data: Memory Systems
- Low Season Staff Productivity
- Management Training
- Measuring Employee Satisfaction
- Qualifiers for Incentives and Rewards
- Quality Measurement Tools
- Seasonal Change in RevPar
- Seasonal Discount and Occupancy
- Seasonal Occupancy Rates
- The Importance of Training for Staff Morale and Motivation
- Three Steps of Service (Ritz Carlton’s Empowerment Process)
- Using the Right Cash Incentive