A Guest’s Perception in Choosing You

From the business owner/operator perspective, there has been much written and said about the importance of creating that “WOW” guest experience.   Many good to great ways for surprising guests have been shared, copied and enhanced within business communities.  How many hotels, for instance, serve home-made cookies and coffee in their lobbies and at the Front Desk during check in?  How many restaurants have greeters opening the front doors for each new guest?  Hospitality businesses strive to find new surprises for their guests, too, in order to avoid being perceived as ordinary.

Being ordinary is not necessarily viewed as a negative from the guest’s point of view as long as there is quality and consistency provided.   The guest does not want to be disappointed.  The guest does want their expectations met.

This holiday season, many guests will support their local businesses and visit their local restaurants.  Perhaps more people will dine out for lunch rather than dinner due to the  down economy and high unemployment.  Meeting their expectations is even more important as their budgets tighten.

If guests choose to dine in total casualness in a family-friendly atmosphere and at a price they can afford, they may choose the Food Court at the local mall or some other fast-food restaurant.  Other guests may choose restaurants that treat them like family with prices that are still affordable.  Some guests, however, may choose their restaurant based more on atmosphere than any other consideration.

There is much to be desired in dining without cafeteria-level noise and commotion at any price point.  For those guests, some decorum of dress and behavior is greatly appreciated.  Dining in an atmosphere conducive to quiet conversation, relaxation, and the enjoyment of a good meal without the loud voices of children who wander or run around undisciplined is their expectation.

Requiring a dress code and certain behavior in your restaurant may ensure that all the guests choosing to dine with you have their expectations met.  Enforcing standards of dress and behavior encourages all guests to act with politeness and respect towards fellow diners and the wait-staff.  The atmosphere created is seldom ordinary and may reduce the potential for accidents.

The “experience” is critical to building your customer base and driving revenue.  You are in business to make money, succeed and stay in business.  Ongoing success requires consistency in delivering your customer experience.

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The Dynamics of WOW!

My last blog describing the welcome we received in Seoul, South Korea highlighted the delivery of a hospitality welcome which created special feelings and lasting memories.  In writing about the experience I also defined a family dynamic that bridged time, geography and cultures.

The Hospitality Industry should – must – do the same every day in as many ways as possible:  deliver excellent guest experiences while celebrating the differences and similarities among the people who are their guests.  To do both these things well is dependent on the dynamics of the entire staff.   A cohesive team culture is required.

The fabric of the whole family, community or team is comprised of the interweaving of love, respect, position, care, structure, duty, and mutual sensitivity to each other.  The pattern of the weave is as varied as the group.  The way group members interact creates the defining characteristics of the entire group.

In hospitality, the respect for and care of each team member is critical to developing and retaining the talent needed for delivering the best guest experience.  The cohesiveness of the team impacts the business results in terms of speed and level of success achieved.

What are the dynamics of your hotel or restaurant team?

How do you, as managers, foster positive teamwork?  

Share your strategies and techniques with other hospitality managers by contacting kathleen@hospitalityeducators.com.

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Seek First to Understand

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood”, Stephen Covey’s habit #5 from his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

The gift of this trip to Seoul was further expanded with the gifts of hospitality and welcome received from my new daughter’s father and mother.  Meeting for the first time with sensitivity to each other and a desire to understand each other’s culture created the basis for both the start of a new family relationship and a warm international fellowship.  At the heart of the experience was the respect for and care of each family member.  This is the glue of a family as it is a community.

My new daughter’s father and brother made a special trip back into Seoul by train, interrupting their Lunar holiday celebration, just to meet us.   This gesture was a sincere expression of welcome and respect.  Each family member was given a place of honor in this simple act.  We had dinner together, exchanged gifts and conversation, continued on to another venue where the family group was joined by special friends, and finished the evening singing at yet another venue.  No one was left behind as we moved together from place to place in a show of solidarity.  Everyone belonged.  We were family.  We felt special!  Our hearts opened wide with joy and gratitude.

That feeling is what delivering a “wow” experience in hospitality is meant to create.

Do the guests at your hotel or restaurant have a “wow” experience?

Share how you deliver such an experience to your guests by contacting kathleen@hospitalityeducators.com.

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Learning by Experiencing

“True knowledge is not information that we have borrowed from others, it must be the experiences that have made their marks on our own selves.” from the selected dharma sayings of Beop Jeong in May All Beings Be Happy.

Our recent trip to Seoul, South Korea exposed us to a new world of culture and hospitality which I am inspired to share.  I had never traveled to Southeast Asia, so this was a first time experience and a priceless gift from our son and daughter-in-law (more accurately, my new daughter), who wanted us to experience Korea and their love for this country before they moved to the United States.

We were there during the Korean Lunar celebration, a week long event that was described to us as being a combination of our Thanksgiving Day, New Years Eve/Day and Fourth of July(US) holidays rolled into one.  The exodus of a large percentage of the city’s population, in the tradition of returning to their ancestral/family homes to celebrate, allowed us to traverse the city with ease.  What we saw and shared together imprinted our lives beyond the bounds of words.

I am still experiencing what I learned.  The whole of the trip echoes within me as the knowledge of it settles permanently.  The sights, the sounds, the conversations, the sharing, the connecting, the take-away of new understanding with the accompanying emotions, reflections, and expanded thinking are joyously reverberating throughout my being.  This must be the true knowledge from true learning described by Beop Jeong, for this trip has made a lasting impression on me and forged a personal memory.

What I learned in regard to delivering hospitality and building relationships with others will be shared in my upcoming blogs.

I would like to hear from those who have spent time in Southeast Asia and are willing to share their hospitality experiences while there.  Please contact me at kathleen@hospitalityeducators.com.

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Multi-Tasking is Multi-Distracting

Have  you noticed how exhausting it is to retain a single-minded focus on just one thing at a time?.  I fear we have lived with too much multitasking and now struggle to be still.
Perhaps it is due to technology overload with nonstop internet and email access.  Perhaps it is a lack of discipline on our part in using the technology and managing our time.

The push to multitask at every turn in both our professional and private lives all day and evening has probably contributed to if not spawned a population that lacks the ability to truly concentrate.  Sometimes the Big Picture brought to us globally via the internet blinds us in seeing the methodical step-by-step process required in being productive.

Bad habits and poor time management cost the individual in terms of health wellness and productivity.  We are not built to do everything all at once for an indefinite period of time.

Multitasking without singular focus to each task is counter productive.

For example:  meetings should be a time for proper communication and interaction, but not the time to read emails on our laptops or phones.  If the meeting length needs to be adjusted, do it.  Budgets and Marketing Plans need to be created, reviewed, approved and implemented  in a focused fashion.  It is a stand alone activity.  There are additional examples that can be found that need single-minded effort such as scheduling staff, ordering linens, performing preventative maintenance, and evaluating property insurance.

If important tasks are not properly executed, the minimal benefit of “time savings”  actually costs more in financial and people terms.

How do you handle this?  Send me a note to kathleen@hospitalityeducators.com

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The Corners of My Mind

My mind is the sky and my thoughts, experiences and feelings are the clouds moving across my sky.  This is the view I have taken concerning my own mind as I try to reach for clarity of thought and focus each day.

Just as I am responsible for my external intake of information I am equally responsible for what I allow or disallow internally.  I need to monitor what I am paying attention to on a daily basis.

My desire is to harness my best energy and capture inspiration from the universe while I work through the day’s activities.   There are the usual distractions of phone calls, emails, questions or technical difficulties, but there are also the interruptions of thoughts, feelings and triggered memories that cause a break in concentration.

Many thoughts come and go as I work.  They surface out of seemingly nowhere and threaten to sabotage my single-minded focus.  I have heard it explained that thought is but a memory from the past, which brings to mind a saying I once read on a wall plaque:     “Never let yesterday use up too much of today”.

Monitoring both external and internal distractions and then dispelling or controlling them leads to a more productive day.

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As a Man Thinketh …

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” by James Allen, 1902, based on a verse in the book of Proverbs from the King James Bible.

My thinking is affected, if not inspired, by what I hear, see and read.  I think this is true for everyone.  Since what I listen to, watch and read impacts my personal and professional development, it is my responsibility to monitor and choose quality in the way of music, video and reading material if I want quality results to be manifested in my life and career.

Lately, my reading list (which appears in part on my LinkedIn profile) consists of books relating to the law of attraction, how to live, and self correction.  I find myself reflecting and resting in the selected writings of Beop Jeong (a contemporary Buddhist monk)  while wrestling with trying to get out of my own way using the “clearing techniques” author Joe Vitale writes about in several of his books.

What have I learned from these readings?  It is true that I am my own worst enemy, but I am also my own best teacher.  I alone am the master and commander of my life with the power and responsibility to set my compass and direction.

I recognize that I have a lot to learn and I do not know what I do not know.  Reading about something does not impart a full knowledge in and of itself.  Once it is applied or experienced first hand it becomes known.  Learning comes by way of doing, living and experiencing.

What are you learning today that helps you deliver a better hospitality experience for your guests?  Please share your learning experience with me by contacting kathleen@hospitalityeducators.com.

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“Even Eagles Need a Push”

Change is a necessary, inevitable part of living and is best handled through embracing the change.  Change causes shift and is the wellspring of new opportunities.

Have you been pushed in your career role or have you pushed another in their role in order to grow or improve?  I would like to hear from you.  Contact me at kathleen@hospitalityeducators.com.

Are you ready for change or do you need a PUSH?   Watch this inspiring 3-minute video by clicking the link below:

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Embracing Change

Learning is exciting and fun (even with the discomfort in learning new skills that are at first difficult). Learning is crucial for everyone, regardless of age. We grow our mind’s knowledge and renew our spirit’s freshness with learning. Our skills increase. Our ability to compete and survive is enhanced through learning something new.

In the process of building the hospitalityeducators.com website, which is an ongoing process with many learning curves, we have had to master new skills continually. The technical learning curves are uncomfortable and numerous, but they are a must. We do not know what we do not know, so we ask and are willing to keep on asking in order to reach our business goals.

Mastering new skills increases the professional’s value in the workplace and the marketplace. The position of today while working in company A will be different tomorrow whether still working for Company A or a new Company B. One market may shrink or disappear while another emerges. We all need to retain the flexibility needed to adapt or change. I recommend you read Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson if you have not already.

Share what you are doing to learn new skills right now in order to advance your hospitality career tomorrow. Write to: kathleen@hospitalityeducators.com.

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Starting Out in a Hospitality Career

Two burning questions need to be asked and answered on a daily basis. They are: 1) What do I want? and 2) What do I need?

Fulfill your needs while you focus on your wants. Doing this holds the vision for the future before you. Too many dreams are lost due to lack of vision or lack of active attention to the vision.

If you have never created a vision board before, now is the perfect time. Take a square of cardboard, a poster, a mirror or a bulletin board (either cork or french style) and affix words and pictures that capture the direction you want to go in terms of needs and wants for your career and life. Magazines are a great source for printed words and pictures. Use your imagination. A particular fortune from a Fortune Cookie, for example, may be included in your board along with your list of goals. Another suggestion is to include play money or Google blank check, find a blank bank check to download and/or print out. Make the check out to yourself, future date it and fill in the dollar amount you want your Net Worth to be by that future date.

The vision board brings your goals, needs and wants to life and keeps them visible when you place the board within daily view. In later years, it will be interesting to look back at the board and note how much of your vision has been fulfilled. New vision boards can be created over time when life changes take place. These changes may involve a career move, geographic move, or the start of a new life stage. Dream BIG. It is true that “a picture says a thousand (or more) words”!

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