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Principles for Success: What we have here is a FAILURE to COMMUNICATE!

publication date: May 3, 2012
 | 
author/source: Dr. John Hogan CHA CHE CMHS
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Principles for Success:
What we have here is a FAILURE to COMMUNICATE!



by Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS 

There are many times these days when I feel information overload.  I do not read newspapers or magazines as often as I used to, yet I feel barraged with "news", advertisements and data pushed at me from every angle and direction.
 
In hospitality, the understanding for privacy of guests is somewhat understood, yet the need to effectively communicate is essential, especially since many time travelers are away from home and in unfamiliar terrain.
 
I try not to dwell too much on airline horror stories, but I found a number of recent trips reminded me of the need to understand effective and timely communication.
 
It was several years ago and I had a speaking engagement in New Orleans for a national convention.  It was fall and there was a clear possibility of hurricane winds.  The city and the national weather service remembered the lesson of Katrina in 2005 and precautions were taken. 24 hours before my flight, I received a voice mail message from South West Airlines advising me that my flight # 123 was going to be canceled due to the threat of the storm.  My flights were originating in Phoenix Arizona, with a layover in Houston, Texas.  The message left an apology, options on how to rebook  and an offer to assist in accommodations in Houston.  The airline did not have an obligation to assist me with travel options in a layover city, but the offer certainly reminded me that this hospitality-minded company seemed to really care about me as an individual.
 
Fast forward time a few weeks and I had another flight to a different city on the Atlantic coast of the Southeastern USA. I am flying another (to remain un-named) airline and another hurricane warning is in effect.  About 36 hours before my flight, I receive another voice mail message, advising " my flight  # 234 would be canceled due to circumstances beyond their control from the threat of hurricane" and the recording ended.  Hm... 36 hours before the flight.
 
The contrast between the two airlines was remarkable. One tried to really understand my travel challenges and the other addressed their interests.  I say that because when I called that airline and tried to rebook to the same city for a time three hours later, the danger of the storm did not seem to be a problem, while the earlier less than fully booked flight was cancelled.  When I tried to go to a different city because I did not have a complete comfort level with the storm path, they tried to charge me a $100+ "change fee" because I was not going to be on the flight originally booked.  After 30 minutes on the phone with "powers that be", they finally acknowledged they should waive the change fee because the storm caused the change.
 
In hotels and restaurants, we have many opportunities for effective or inadequate communication. These  include:
  • requests for non-smoking rooms
  • special lodging requests, such as for connecting (not adjoining rooms) for families
  • reasonable requests for a slightly delayed late check-out
  • the morning wake up call (the BEEP of a buzzer or the personalized message of GOOD DAY and the weather forecast)
  • the dinner reservation that was canceled, even if the restaurant is not booked to capacity
  • the request to offer something vegetarian as an option other than a salad
  • the meeting room layout as committed
Technology has improved the potential for better communication, but it is not social media, WIFI or a better PMS that delivers the message.  It remains the personalized caring of people delivering hospitality that makes the difference.
 
What are you doing at your hospitality businesses today?

Hospitality Tip of the Week®: 

The most successful hospitality businesses are the ones that listen to their customers, address their needs and continuously improve their service and product delivery.


 
If you'd like me to highlight your special approach, send me a message to john.hogan@hospitalityeducators.com and I will be glad to share the best of the examples.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@hoganhospitality.com  anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements ... And remember - we all need a regular dose of common sense.


John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic mentors delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing the hospitality industry. www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas that are designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.   Special introductory pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.  If readers would like to contribute to the site, please submit your material for consideration to Kathleen@hospitalityeducators.com.  We are interested in expanding our global networks and resources as we support our membership.

Contact:  Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE
john.hogan@hospitalityeducators.com


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