They say that beauty is in the ‘eye of the beholder’; but what about quality? Who determines what defines quality and where the benchmark should be placed?
When it comes to product selection, individuals definitely have their own standards of quality when it comes to choosing a product or service. Conversely, brands/owners/managers have established a level of quality that must be achieved in order to be proud of their service AND to be compliant with brand standards and culture.
With that in mind, how should one evaluate the quality of a hotel?
When is it fair to say that one hotel is better than another?
Every branded hotel in our portfolio is subject to quality inspections. To have the privilege of identifying yourself as a “Marriott”, “Hilton”, or any brand means that you have accepted the levels of quality and service that THEY have set and will adhere to their standards. When you succeed – they succeed. When you fail – they fail. I am not going to argue levels of quality as they are subjective. The purpose of this blog is to try to infuse the culture of quality into your vocabulary, mannerisms, and daily life so each member of the team has the tools to be successful.
Let’s explore the culture of quality.
The Vocabulary of Quality:
In order to have a “quality” vocabulary, you must know your stuff and be able to explain it to anyone at any time. Any salesperson can sell any product (would you like to supersize?), but a true brand advocate focused on success knows how to build a relationship between the product and the consumer that is meaningful…. to clearly convince them that your product is ideally suited for them. To do that takes talent and a culture of quality. It is important that you,
- Know your brand culture and weave it into your daily communications.
- Walk the walk, talk the talk every day, every customer.
- Identify and know the buzzwords for your brand and your type of hotel.
- Know the brand phraseology, keywords, talking points, target demographic, and what your target customer wants and then feed the dragon! When was the last time you logged on to your brand website and read the Sales/Marketing page or reviewed the latest slogans and campaigns? Do this often then step back and make changes into your delivery.
- Knowing your brand culture and being knowledgeable as to how to integrate culture concepts into salesmanship is as important to a hotel salesperson as knowing your amenities, offerings, rates, and dates. Does your customer truly “Feel the Hamptonality?” or do are they willing to “Put a little play in their stay?”
- Do you have a quality sales cheat sheet at your fingertips? Do you have an ‘if this then that’ cheat sheet? If not, then why not?
- Do your letters, brochures, flyers, sales swag, gifts, etc. reflect your brand’s culture and vocabulary?
The Mannerisms of Quality:
Do people recognize you as the face of your brand locally? Do you look like your brand and act like your brand? Take a selfie and then read your brand culture. Compare the two. Do you look like you belong? Review the suggested guidelines on the appropriate way to dress in the workplace. Are you too casual? Are you too uptight? Or are you just right? We once had a salesperson that wore something each day that reflected her brand colors (i.e. blouse, scarf, jewelry, etc.). Was it obvious? Was it over-the-top? No, it was a subtle reflection of brand culture. What can you do to look like your brand (no tattoos please)? Polish your self-image so as to ooze brand charisma.
It is important that you adapt your mannerisms to reflect quality.
- Are you really warm and sincere or is it all a showbiz? Does your audience believe that you exude warmth and the culture of your brand? Practice your opening statements, your opportunities for conversation and your closing pitch. Record yourself and listen back. Be honest with yourself. If it is all showbiz then you better be believable and good enough to win an Oscar! If you like your job and believe in your brand, then convincing others should be easy and natural – that is your ultimate goal.
- Does your 30-second elevator pitch mirror your brand culture? Make a list of warm and sincere phrases that correspond to both you and your brand. Share these phrases in daily stand-ups with the staff…. front desk, night audit, breakfast attendants, housekeeping and maintenance all need to know the standards for quality in these categories.
- Encourage staff to tell our customers thank you often and ask if there is anything else you can do to make their stay a good one using brand phraseology as a model. Most importantly, encourage everyone on the team to think about how to communicate a warm and sincere thank-you. Thanking is an art and you all must learn how to do it and mean it. Make a list of examples and share in your next stand up meeting.
- Have you witnessed someone outside the hotel, perhaps in a different industry, embrace warm and welcoming behavior. Take a page from their book and absorb their technique into your repertoire. Record people who you want to emulate and then watch them for tips and best practices.
- Listen to yourself. Do you have a “tone” in your vocal register? Is your voice warm and welcoming or high-pitched and whiney? Do you sound confident or do you sound like you are fed up? Make corrections as needed and save the drama for when you are outside the hotel.
- Do you truly know how to empathize? Put yourself in your guest/client’s position…. literally. “I am so very sorry that you had to experience that issue at our hotel. I would be upset if it happened to me too.”
- Know how to sincerely apologize. Make your apology mean something and not just be a gut reaction to a problem you can or cannot solve (or worse, don’t want to solve). “I cannot begin to tell you how sorry we are that you experienced a problem at our hotel. I can assure you that fixing this issue is going to be top of our list so that on your next visit you won’t have this happen again. I am so very sorry.” We are in the hospitality business. We need to get busy making memorable stays for our guests.
The Daily Life of Quality:
There are no vacation days when it comes to quality performance. Every associate needs to strive to perform their job perfectly every day. My Mom always said, “it is just as easy to do it right the first time than to do it halfway and have to spend more time later redoing it.” Why waste time doing this part-way, or worse, wrong?
- Know what is expected for your brand. Then do it. The customer always can feel when you are going through the motions. They also know when the things you do and say are genuine.
- Quality isn’t something that happens once in a while. Quality is every day, every task, and every word you speak.
- Remember, our customers expect a level of quality dictated by your brand. Whether you agree or not, you are a representative of the brand and expected to follow the brand standards. If you are not a believer or you cannot live up to these ideals, you need to rethink why you are working at your hotel.
I challenge each and every associate to embrace quality in everything you do. Rose-colored glasses you say? No, honest and sincere feelings and genuine passion make achieving quality second nature!
Happy Practicing Quality Daily!