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May 11, 2010
Ever wonder why some hotels receive such consistently good customer satisfaction scores and Trip Advisor ratings? Especially when they’re a branded hotel with same training programs and resources as they’re sister properties that score significant lower. After years of observations, hiring scores of front desk clerks, agents, associates, guest service representatives or whatever the current jargon, I believe it comes down to two key components: selecting the right person and a commitment to training.
If you fail to hire the right person your burden in time spent in training, supporting and re-training will drive all but the most dedicated to abandon either the training or the person. No one likes to pursue unattainable goals or constantly repeat training steps that should have already been mastered. So the property’s scores inevitably suffer as does the guest.
Get the first step right, hire the right person, but fail to provide them with a challenging, concise, ongoing training program and the associate performance tends to peak and plateau and guest scores although better than in first example, never reach the potential of the associate and the property.
Hire the right person, give them the training they and your stakeholders want and you’ll get engaged associates that interact, anticipate and exceed your guests’ needs. Training motivated staff in a goal oriented program, emphasizing communication and accountability, you’ll earn their trust and your guests.
So don’t hire just to fill a spot, but select someone you’d want to take care of your needs and certainly don’t not hire because you don’t need anyone right now when the right one comes through the door. There aren’t that many service “champions” out there.
ACE Performance Training is a great way to challenge and motivate your staff to replace “neutral” actions with positive behaviors. Which of the below greetings would you want to hear your front desk use in greeting returning guest?
“Welcome to Holiday Hotel, how can I assist you?”
“Welcome back to Holiday Hotel, Mr. Wilson, we have your room ready, how have you been, sir?”
Engaged, motivated, rewarded, people can do so much more than we expect when they believe in what they’re doing.
April 13, 2010
“Where the boys are” is still there, just a few miles north of the original setting in Fort Lauderdale, FL. up A1A. We discovered the area, Lauderdale By The Sea, FL inadvertently about seven years ago when we followed the sun south from a chilly spring in Hilton Head Island, SC. You can say how “chilly” is it in HHI during March, but after traveling and living in Belize and Cancun, MX, when the temperature is in the 50’s, it seems like the wind chill on a Indiana farm in January.
My Russian girlfriend, Mira and I had headed south looking for South Beach, Miami and the bronzed boys of her internet fantasies and the topless dreams of my youth. We were both disappointed in the results of our non-internet search as the guys tended to have more belly fat than belly muscles and my girlfriend easily surpassed anything on the beach or in the clubs at night. After three days and nights chasing the “good life” we headed north to visit Fort Lauderdale, where the beach party movies of my long ago youth had helped frame a vision of life so unlike any reality it would qualify today to be a MTV reality show. We ended up exiting I-95 a couple of exits north of Los Olas, the main avenue into Fort Lauderdale downtown, not realizing our mistake we headed east to the beach and found a conclave of small, charming beach hotels and motels. It was just like the movies only without Annette, Frankie or the beach party bingo, but beautiful white sand beaches, friendly hotel staff and great people had us believing we had indeed landed in a time warp, back into the movie sets of the 60’s. We found a great little resort, Captain’s Quarters Beach Resort with a picturesque pool and deck and a room looking out over the pool onto the calm, blue waters of the Gulf Stream. My only disappointment was I didn’t have the Beach Boys on my walkman (it was a few years before i-pods). After a day on the beach, shopping and dining, we spent the evening relaxing outside our room as the day melted into night and we, in some ways mourned the passage of the early, easier times, but the next morning our elation and spirits rose again with the sun and another day of living life in the 60’s.
Today, we live and work in Lauderdale By The Sea sharing the experience with our guests, although today life has sped up a little with computers, i-pods and the internet, but the small hotels/ resorts remain on this little stretch of beach just north of the “Real Life” in Fort Lauderdale and Miami. There aren’t many beach boys any more, although I guess the many windsurfers on the waves everyday would qualify as today’s beach boy and there is certainly no singing Annette causing the boys to stare, although my teenage daughter and her mother, that same Russian girl turn heads as they walk the beach, but it is a great place to come to relax, slow down and enjoy life at a simpler pace and in a safer place.
Thinking about where to “escape” and unwind look us up at www.lauderdaleonthe sea.com or www.captainsquartersbeachresort.com to reminisce and remember when we were young, strong and filled with dreams. You can still dream and here it just seems right.
Everyone involved in the hiring, recruitment process today knows that we are receiving resumes/ CVs from individuals that HR professionals consider to be over-qualified for the posted position. So obviously we not only don't hire the person, often times we don't even interview them. Why would a former F&B director want to be a restaurant manger, or heaven forbid why would a former GM apply for any position other than a GM spot.
So I guess there is so much talent available that we don't need to hire "the best possible person" we need to strictly adhere to past HR models and only hire people with "progressive" resumes.
Professional, intelligent hospitality leaders should not be discriminated against because of the recent economic down-turn that saw many cut-backs and re-organizations. The very least the HR people should do is bring in the best candidates and interview the "over-qualified" professional. Many of these professionals will add much to the management teams of these properties and bring with them not only the wealth of experience, training and education, but an empathy for the staff, subject to down-turns and economic deprivations.
To best see in light of today's performance driven market place, imagine a professional sports franchise (the hotel) that can hire another teams superstar (over-qualified manager) for less than market value. the sports team would bring the athlete in for a workout (interview) and see if he has talent and personality to improve the team and understand his new role. if the athlete/ superstar ( OQ manager) passes these tests the team would be remiss in not signing (hiring) the best at least for this season. Qualifiers can easily be attached to contract as to length of service and associated pay, but to not at least interview and discuss the opportunity is to waste opportunity and we all know our product is perishable, what we don't sell today we can never sell again. Hey, HR directors, wake up, every star you pass on today you'll have to interview how many tomorrow to find just one that can/ will put in the long hours, put in the effort to learn and have the ability to become a hospitality leader?
New website with services offered by Cayes Consulting in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Belize. We have years of hands-on experience in resort operations, sales and marketing and hospitality training. We encourage properties to examine their sales and marketing plans and be sure that they are: Consistent in image and message, timely and up-to-date and are professional in content and format. See our newest website....www.travelprocancun.com.
November 10, 2009
The world's largest hotel owners group, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association came out strongly in against Expedia, Orbitiz and other OTAs in recent demands for LRA, last room availability and rate parity.
"Specifically, AAHOA strongly opposes (1) any attempts by the OTA’s to absolutely mandate last room availability, which would require the hotels to list their last available rooms on the OTAs at discounted prices, regardless of the market strength and demand for such rooms, and (2) allowing the OTAs to command rate parity and preclude hotel owners from offering discounts on their guest rooms that were greater than what was listed on the OTA website."
Although hoteliers are themselves responsible for the problems of the OTA controlling their inventory and having increasing influence over rates. The momentum seems to be returning to hotels taking control of the sales process and cutting back the reliance on third party sellers.
Are you surprised by Expedia's threats?
August 3, 2009 by Chris Roberts
The down turn in hotel values has created opportunities for resourceful hoteliers with the ability to think outside the box and take advantage of the myriad of resources available at little expense, other than time, to effective improve their properties. Most thoughtful hotel managers knew that the market was in for a radical correction as throughout the 90’s, owners and investors rushed limited service properties into the pipeline and tried to force a change in guests’ perception by declaring these same limited service properties, “select” service and striving for rates in excess of older full service properties in same market. Value based on these inflated rates and demand led many an investor and lender to over value their projects and today’s corrections have proven problematic for both over-valued properties and those that paid too little attention to hotel fundamentals and failed to set aside adequate reserves.
Just as the roadside motel grew in popularity at the expense of boarding houses, taverns and small family hotels, limited/ select service has replaced large full service as hotel of choice and the limited/ select service has even morphed into a small, full service with restaurant, bar, pantry and more, see Hilton Garden Inn, Hyatt Place and more.
Each resort market has similarly seen the above changes and domestically the results of the economic melt down are beginning to show and again properties that practiced good fundamentals, put aside reserves, continued to promote strong sales and marketing efforts, effectively controlled costs and fair value pricing are for the most part surviving and some even growing their numbers as their competitors cut services, S&M budgets and neglect necessary PIP plans.
Today a new model is available to consolidate a fragmented market and allow easy entry to independent properties to compete with national brands emphasizing the diversity of choices and yet maintaining a high level of service. Our new concept allows both a rebranding and a repositioning of multiple properties within the same market and allows these properties to offer much better choices than previous label and/or position. At the same time the concept offers some substantial opportunities to reduce labor costs and still retain/ develop your best people. Lastly it sells by choice, benefits, comfort and value, all key components if I remember my sales and marketing training from Marriott, Hilton and Choice.
Maybe the most satisfying aspect as we finished the original draft plan was the various, supporting articles published by respected industry sources that confirmed or strengthened the reasoning we had used in building the concept. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly published a report on rebranding/ repositioning bringing value and ADR increases. The Ypartnership/ Yankelovich 2009 National Travel Monitor published a report on the growing trend toward independents and limited service hotels and finally Hotel magazine online’s article about the economic uncertainty and problems looming for the hotel industry. Excess Takes Its Toll On Hotel Values . We know we have a great concept and just need the right situations to develop it.
The concept itself is a web hotel or as we initially called it a “hotel without walls”. By focusing our sales and marketing effort on proven web based fundamentals, adding focused e-marketing campaign and membership options and selling not a property but a lifestyle as encompassed in all aspects of the web page and marketing effort. Web 2.0 strategies play an important role in establishing the “personality” of the hotel and creating a lifestyle in and of itself. A singular image or brand is created by the website and marketing efforts, although great effort is taken to ensure accuracy and honest description of all accommodations, activities and events. The hotel can start as a singular property, and the “without walls” refers to great communication tools for guests wanting to book or get information about hotel but “without walls” refers primarily to the fact that there are multiple locations for same hotel, each with the same service standard, but different by choice, lifestyle and all with never ending comfort and value.
These recurring themes are the keystone elements in the hotel concept; Lifestyle, Choices, Comfort and Value. All are equally important and all are parts of other brands marketing efforts today. We have chosen to integrate the four as each is a part of the other. Our lifestyle today includes more choices than ever before, where to go, where to stay, where to eat and each choice leads us to comfort and if we make the right choices and we are comfortable, having made the right choices, we see value in the things we chose. The hotel, the restaurant, the room type, the location each can have value which now reinforces our chosen Lifestyle. We could grow around again and again, but the message is clear provide a Lifestyle, including Choices, that we are Comfortable with and we achieve Value. From this matrix we evolved our brand name Mivida, which reflects the way our guests live life today, from the Me generation to the My Life generation.
The brand/ concept offers significant savings and efficiencies in sales and marketing efforts by allowing fewer staff to offer more choices and utilize more sales tools to reach a broader range of guests. Similarly effective administration, accounting and HR can all produce savings and better performance, as greater advantage can be made of skilled professionals directing line level supervisors eliminating a mid-management level and enforcing a more consistent message. Reasonable savings and better resource management can be expected at maintenance, housekeeping and front desk department levels as communication will be more direct and staff moves done to facilitate all business, maintenance or housekeeping needs.
The greater flexibility of choice in both location and accommodation also lends itself to more frequent return visits as guests that enjoy the experience at one location can be effectively marketed to, to return to enjoy another, different experience through another location or via the “vacation club” concept.
The merger of “hotel without walls” concept with an image/ brand such as Mivida featuring lifestyle, choice, comfort and value can significantly increase the value of individual assets and create an entity worth more than the sum of the parts. Two additional assets are needed to complete the project, an experienced and innovative hotel management team and investors with property in resort settings. For a more detailed analysis of your particular market contact Chris Roberts at email@example.com
July 31, 2009
Funny story about how things work in Mexico. We went to the beach today to find federales closing one area because of theft. What was stolen? Sand from other beaches.
Click below to read.
June 23, 2009
The social media's influence is needed to offset the prior monopoly of the press, TV news and other mainstream media sources. The downgrading of news programming into entertainment outlets has served to create a bias as to what news is reported, where it is reported and a perceived consequence attached rather than reported.
The recent flu scare in Mexico is the best current example of this changed style of reporting news. The facts of the relative isolation of the outbreak, the small number of actual cases, the benign nature of the virus and likelihood of contracting the flu were never reported by mainstream media outlets. Instead the sensationalism of the worldwide pandemic, millions may die, it's untreatable, Mexico is unsafe place to travel screamed across the headlines and the airwaves. When it became apparent the threat had been overplayed, nothing was broadcast the media had moved on to new stories, new issues and thousands were out of work in Mexico.
As more and more people contribute, read and discuss the news of the day and receive information/ news from other sources maybe the impact of a few can be offset by voices/ words of individuals not necessarily trying to entertain, but to educate or inform the public.
Examples of social media applications are Google Groups (reference, social networking), Wikipedia (reference), MySpace (social networking), Facebook (social networking), MouthShut.com yelp.com (product reviews), Youmeo (social network aggregation), Last.fm (personal music), YouTube (social networking and video sharing), Avatars United (social networking), Second Life (virtual reality), Flickr (photo sharing), Twitter (social networking and microblogging), Open Diary (blogging), and other microblogs such as Jaiku. Many of these social media services can be integrated via social network aggregation platforms like Mybloglog and Plaxo.
These are all listed on Wikipedia as prominent examples of the new genre, it will be interesting in the future if more people turn to their favorite user-generated content (UGC) or consumer-generated media (CGM) as opposed to older more traditional broadcast or print media or I guess you can now argue convincingly that the traditional news media has become just another UGC or CGM broadcasting not news but items they are interested in, with their own bais and slant.