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Hotels finally realize that service matters

September 7, 2010

With hundreds of un-differentiated brands in the category, hotel chains are finally going back to their roots and realizing that after years of neglect, service is the one thing that they can focus on that really makes a difference. According to the NYT, hotel chains are experimenting with new technologies and improv to improve the training of front-line employees.

“Before two luxury hotels, the Andaz 5th Avenue in Manhattan and the
Elysian Hotel in Chicago, opened their doors in recent months, both
added something extra to their usual employee training practices: they
hired improvisational comedy experts.

The Benjamen, an upscale business travel
hotel also in New York, took a similar tack to help its staff better
serve guests, offering them a series of life-coaching sessions this
summer.


Other hotel brands — including Hilton Garden Inn, Aloft, Homewood
Suites and SpringHill Suites — are using devices like iPods and the Sony Playstation Portable to help with staff training.


The courses, which are offered in addition to more traditional classroom
and online training, are part of an effort by hotels to distinguish
their brand, said Bjorn Hanson, divisional dean of the Preston Robert
Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management at New York University. 


“There are 228 hotel brands in the United States, and the two ways to be
distinctive are design and service,” he said. “Service can be a great
differentiator.” Hotels, he added, “are in a period of experimentation.
Some brands are employing skills unrelated to the lodging industry to
transform service styles and delivery.”

Companies where customer service is a core part of their DNA can take a lesson from the hotel experience and realize that in a world where hollow promises can easily be found out, service is one thing that they are going to get called out on and had better improve or pay the consequences.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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