Four Hotel Companies Make it on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For 2014 List

Fortune Magazine released their 2014 Best 100 Companies to Work For List.  Google was number one again this year, but 4 hotel companies made the list.  Kimpton Hotels, Marriott International, Four Seasons Hotels, and Hyatt Hotels all made the best of list for 2014.  Kimpton, Marriott, and Four Seasons were all on the list last year.  Hyatt Hotels is the only newcomer.  Four Seasons and Marriott Hotels are two of only 13 companies that have made the list every year since it began in 1998.

Here are the 4 with their rankings from Fortune:

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Are You Losing Too Much Time to Meetings, Instead of Serving Guests?

If there is one thing hotels love, it is a good meeting.  Hotels have a meeting for everything, a daily brief, a forecast meeting, an executive committee meeting, a meeting to plan meetings!  The problem with meetings in the hotel world is that hotels do not stop for meetings.  Every minute you take a manager off of the floor is a minute that he or she cannot spend interacting with guests.  The Wall Street Journal had a great solution that has been making the rounds in the last few months, The Stand-Up Meeting.  From reporter Rachel Emma Silverman:

“Stand-up meetings are part of a fast-moving tech culture in which sitting has become synonymous with sloth. The object is to eliminate long-winded confabs where participants pontificate, play Angry Birds on their cellphones or tune out.”

“Holding meetings before lunch also speeds things up. Mark Tonkelowitz, an engineering manager for Facebook Inc.’s News Feed feature, holds 15-minute stand-ups at noon, sharp. The proximity to lunch serves “as motivation to keep updates short,” he says”

The tech world has really taken to these stand-up meetings in order to increase productivity.  Hoteliers should surely take note.  We have all been in long, drawn-out meetings where two departments are trying to figure out the logistics of an upcoming event while 9 other managers in the room are tuning out because it does not involve them at all.  Take away the food and the chairs, people will truly get down to business.  Then we can all get back to taking care of the guest!

Source:  Wall Street Journal Article

TrueGuest Tips for Using the Guest’s Name

One of the biggest areas of struggle during our Service Experience Audits is the use of the guest name.  The use of the guest name is one of the most important tools you have to build loyalty with your guests.  Rather than providing your associates with general instructions such as ‘use the guest’s name during every interaction’, focus on the key areas of when the name should be used.  Our method is simple but very effective.

Use the guest’s name once to open the conversation and once to close the conversation.

By doing this, it will become second nature to your associates.  They won’t even have to think about using the guest’s name.  They will just do it.

Here are some examples for a few departments on how to use the guest name:

Phone Calls:  As soon as the phone rings, the PBX operator should pull up the guest’s information on the computer and get ready to use the name.  The PBX operator should immediately greet the guest by name.  After handling the call, the operator should end the call by using the guest name.

Check In & Check Out:  As soon as the guest gives the name or room number, the GSA should immediately use the name once.  The GSA should close the conversation with “have a great stay, Mr. Smith.”

In Room Dining:  The server should double check the name just prior to knocking on the door.  Once the analyst opens the door and invites them in, the server should greet the guest by name.  Then once the guest signs the check, the server should thank the analyst by name on their way out of the room.

Housekeeping & Engineering:  The associates should double check the name just prior to knocking on the door.  Once the analyst opens the door and invites them in, the server should greet the guest by name.  To close the conversation, the associate should say something like “enjoy the rest of your stay, Mr. Smith.”

The real key to the successful use of the guest name is repetition.  If you require all associates to use the name once during the greeting and once during the closing it is very easy to monitor and it won’t be long until everyone on your team is using guest names.

Hospitality Jobs are the 7th Worst Jobs for Workers with College Degrees, According to Yahoo Jobs

Yahoo Jobs released their 10 lowest-paying jobs for workers with college degrees.  The study, found here, compares the salaries of workers in the middle of their careers.  Hospitality and tourism jobs have a starting salary of $37,000 and a mid-career salary of $54,300.  The worst paying jobs on the list also include drama, fine arts, education, horticulture, Spanish, music, theology, elementary education, and social work.

Asking the Right Questions During an Interview

Whether you are new to the hiring process or have been interviewing candidates for years, it is always helpful to refresh yourself on some of the questions that can and cannot be asked during an interview.  With the large number of discrimination lawsuits filed, it can be easy to catch a lawsuit without even realizing it.  With some new types of questions, you may also gain some new perspectives and methods in your current hiring practices.

Before you start, remember the categories that are illegal to discriminate against.  This will help you phrase all of your questions properly.  These categories include: Disabilities, Marital/Family Status, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Ethnic Group/Race, Nationality, Age, Gender, Arrest Record, Outside Affiliations, and other miscellaneous items such as the ability to drive.  Remember to never ask any questions that involve these categories as it can be interpreted as discriminatory.  Any questions that you ask must pertain to the job that is being interviewed for and the skills and abilities required for that position.  If you are unsure about a question that you would like to pose, consider making the question as general and open-ended as possible.

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Shift Break Troubles


Shift breaks are the law here in California.  It is a trouble that most restaurant managers hate to deal with.  It is the policy that most servers fail to adhere to.  Those mandatory breaks that each employee must take are not just a burden on the server and the restaurant managers, it is frustrating to your customers as well.

While eating at the restaurant of a very exquisite and expensive hotel the other day, we had a disappointing experience.  Our service could have been described as good and terrible.  How?  Well, the service and friendliness from our server and bartender was excellent and would have rated a 5 of 5… when they were around.

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To Hire the Best, Be Prepared for the Best

It never amazes me to hear see how poor potential candidates are treated when they come to apply for a job. Many hotels struggle to attract great candidates, yet are not set up to welcome great candidates to their hotel. How many times have you received a great application and called the applicant for an interview only to find out that they are already employed or not interested?

Before I make suggestions on how to attract great applicants and how to welcome applicants, here is a list of gripes I hear from job seekers:

Some hotels only allow applicants to apply during limited hours in human resources. While this is convenient to the hotels, these hours are never convenient for potential candidates who are currently employed. I have heard of hotels who only accept applications during a four hour block each week.

Many hotels have the front desk take care of the application process. The Guest Service Agents are often completely out of the hiring loop and do not even know what positions are open.

Some hotels make potential candidates pay for parking while visiting the hotel to fill out applications or interviews. This can add a large expense to someone who is already unemployed.

Applicants often complain that when they fill out an application, they have no idea what happens next. Will the application be passed on? Is the job even still available?

I will make suggestions on how to handle those complaints later. But first, how do you go about getting applicants to your hotel?

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