Hotel Professionals

Competitiveness in the Hospitality Industry

Competitiveness
Competitiveness

In order to compete successfully you must differentiate your product or service.

The mad competitiveness has become common in today’s business world and many executives believe the companies can become more competitive by cutting costs and installing advanced electronic machinery or devices.

Reality is indeed different.

The following aspects of each business must be analyzed thoroughly to create a winning strategy (competition, service, IT connectivity, people, and value)

Competition has never been more intense than it is now, especially in

the hospitality, accommodation, and manufacturing industries. Lean interlopers can challenge and do established businesses in enough niches to cause giants to wince.

Managers must adopt an opportunity management philosophy by investigating trends to understand new leverage points from emerging technology, and must invest time to reconnect with consumers.

Create “listening posts” within your organization in an attempt to take advantage of emerging demands that can be profitably exploited by developing new technology and finding applications in their respective industry.

Clean up tired and defunct processes, invest in top-notch talent, and make them “shared owners” with a stake, and insist on having “shopping teams” to cannibalize your products before the competition has a chance.

Service has become a universal credo. All companies train their employees to smile, to modulate their voice, always say, “yes, or of course or it will be my pleasure “ and meet customer demands, but all these help little when the room service breakfast for a VIP guest arrives 20 minutes late.

Explain to all the concept of the “moment of truth”, that all contact points with a customer fashions the perception what the company stands for, and how the product is delivered.

For each moment of truth, a measurable standard must be created. Remember the maxim: “if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it”.

Each standard for every moment of truth must be the highest attainable that will render the experience to linger and make it memorable.

After you leave a restaurant or a hotel, there is nothing tangible but “the experience” in your memory. That is important for you (the owner) and the future of your establishment.

IT (Internet technology)

Companies invest massively in IT but conveniently forget to train and assign employees to service. Questions must be answered like every other one as quickly as practicable, not two days later.

IT must follow a strategy, not replace it. It is best to invest in strategy first then in technology. It is important to realize that there is no new economy; there is an old economy with new tools.

People

Companies are desperate for talent. Talent is universal, but opportunity is not. Gifted workers prefer solid companies with

well-established corporate cultures that reward good work and initiative. Some mid-sized companies fall into this category too.

Place a premium on talent, not curriculum vitae. Try to spot talent when shopping, during receptions, parties, social gatherings, and company outings.

Talent deserves a premium and stake in the fortunes of your business.

Try to fit talent to the job, and not the other way around. Enrich the job of a talented employee even if there is no promotion possibility for a while.

Value

Companies are struggling with the notion of value. Value must represent more than physical assets. Consider physical assets like land, buildings, equipment, and inventory and take advantage of existing infrastructure to add new technology. For example, if your establishment has enough land add a modern swimming pool or tennis court, or apply new technology to traditional ways of production faster, or more efficiently, or deliver better services more gracefully.

Your employees and business partners are assets that must be constantly analysed and expanded. Customers (or paying guests as I prefer to call them) are valuable assets. They can tell you about new services made available by your competition and expect or inform you in order to remain competitive. Astute operators listen to their guests.

Think of your guests as “free consultants” delivering a survey of the field of corporate competitiveness. These ideas and suggestions or bits of intelligence can help you and your business define the emerging “opportunity-scape” rather than becoming a victim.

These are things that matter.

The telephone

It is a vital communication tool. And yet, often we don’t pay enough importance on the benefits of good techniques telephones of use. Without leaving the benefit of any visual contact, your telephone manners and that of your employees must be more convincing than a face-to-face conversation.

Here are some tips that can help more effective communication. Equally the telephone can become the “master” – always ringing and interrupting your concentration. There are, however, ways to control it. In the hospitality industry automatic recorded answering devises and pushbutton switches should be avoided to the extent possible, even if it costs more.

On the telephone you must modulate your voice accordingly to convey your message. Guests or people in general listen carefully to what is being said – be courteous.

Identify your company and yourself. Greet the caller appropriately. At the end of the conversation, make clear to the caller that you understood the reason of the call. Convey your objective. When you call someone, direct your conversation to the objective while being courteous and enthusiastic.

Be friendly – smile! (Although your interlocutor doesn’t see it he/she feels it!). While on the phone you must focus on the conversation and be enthusiastic. Here again your interlocutor will not see it, but sense it

Speak clearly and slowly. Listen carefully. It is a sign of disrespect asking the caller to repeat himself/herself.

Most people in the western world have become slaves of the phone, and some have developed “telephonists”, a disease that compels people to be on the phone all the time. Cell phones have made it even worse, and “texting” on I-phones is now even worse and more dangerous.

One cannot even eat in a relaxed atmosphere anymore. Some savvy managers have established rules in this regard. The telephone must not dominate our lives; it is supposed to help us live more comfortably and productively. This can be achieved by blocking incoming calls during your most productive work hours, but you must return all calls in a timely manner.

Never take a call when you have a visitor or during a meeting. It is bad manners, and prevents you from concentrating on the conversation.

When you return a call have all required information at your fingertips.

Executive floor amenities and service in hotels.

The development and evolution of IT, coupled with ease and speed of travel, both hallmarks of the 20th century, continue with unabated speed, resulting in a tremendous surge in transcontinental business and consequently travel.

Globalization and liberalisation reinforced this, causing a massive influx of investors from the developed to the developing world. These advances on the economic front led to the advent of the executive: globally savvy; acclimatized to travel anywhere in the world; a person comfortable in any surrounding; and one who demands business style comforts that transcend culture and creed.

This trend has brought the ”business hotel” to centre-stage, as it was required to provide services to meet and exceed the exacting standards of demanding hotel guests, who willingly pay for additional services and amenities.

As executives travel around the world, they expect and insist on “home-away-from-home” comfort and service: a combination of high technology, efficiency, traditional culture and hospitality of the country.

Facilities such as IT, valet service, enhanced amenities, business centres, translation services, transcend continents, and are second to none that they are accustomed to at home or office.

Any business hotel in a metropolitan city must now be equipped to meet and hopefully exceed the expectations of this new breed of traveller. First the needs and standards of an executive floor guest must be established.

Meeting and exceeding these standards is a prerequisite for success. For most executives time is the most valuable “commodity”, and thus must be used most effectively and efficiently.

Executives abhor standing in line to check-in or -out. In many hotels check out can be initiated in the room via TV set.

For check in, some hotels accompany the executive to the room first, complete the registration there with regard to the size and luxury of the accommodation.

Executive rooms must have portals, the business centre must be able to meet all the demands of today’s executives, and offer all types of communication facilities, from fax machines to e-mail and beyond.

Executive floor service hotels create databases for their regular guests, determine their likes and dislikes and cater to them.

Executives may be picked up at airports and whisked to the hotel in stretch-limousines equipped with a full bar and refrigerator to keep sparkling wines.

Breakfast is served on the same floor in a cheery room with a suitable spread of juices, fresh and appetizing looking pastries, eggs any style, bread and butter, jam, cheese, freshly brewed superior quality coffee, or tea, and mineral water. The service must be fast, efficient and personal.

Many business hotels also offer after work receptions with a full self serve bar, plus hors d’eouvre for executives to socialize and relax.

In the room, the amenity tray is enhanced with thoughtful additions to regular offerings of shower caps, shampoo, conditioner, shoe mitt, body lotion, tooth brush, small tube of tooth paste, French milled large bar of soap, and comb. (A small bar of Neutrogena soap, a small bottle of after-shave lotion, and for females, a fragrant perfume may complete amenity package offerings).

Needless to say 24-hour room service must be provided, along with laundry and dry cleaning services.

Most executive floor business hotels offer fully equipped conference rooms for interviews, audiovisual presentations and small receptions.

Today’s time-pressed executives appreciate elevated levels of service, friendly but not familiar servers, pleasant environment, and gladly pay when everything is provided according to their expectations.

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