Tag Archives: Hospitality

Grand finale or damp squib?

When my husband and I are on holiday we normally like to do something special and memorable on our last night. Our recent Norwegian Cruise was no exception. As you’d expect, dinner was included and each evening there been a set time for dinner, sharing a table with other passengers. It was good to catch up over dinner and hear of everybody’s adventures of the day.

So we were all set for our last evening to have some fun, reflect on our trip and end our holiday with a grand finale.

What we got instead was a boring, lonely and flat evening.

Rather than make the most of this opportunity the restaurant had decided to change the format for the evening and laid on a buffet. And rather than having a set time as on previous evenings the buffet was served over a 2½ hour window. We hadn’t seen our dining companions all day so opted to go in at our normal dinner time in the hope that they would have done the same. Instead when we arrived at the restaurant it was deserted; it seemed that virtually every other passenger had already come and gone. There were a few other stragglers like us but in the large restaurant, sat at our assigned tables we were scattered around all four corners of the restaurant. The result was no atmosphere and a feeling of isolation. Not conducive to a relaxed evening.

And because of the lack of other diners we felt that the restaurant staff had lost interest; it was over 15 minutes just to get a drink. The buffet table itself although there was an extensive range had been picked over and we felt we were just getting the remains; it seemed as if nothing fresh had been bought out in the last hour.

The end result was a less than favourable last impression. And a missed opportunity as the last thing we felt like doing was sitting over a few extra glasses of wine (hmm, come to think of it I don’t think we were even offered the wine list…). We just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible!

What do you do to create a grand finale for your customers?

  • Save some of the highlights until the end of the day or event. As well as making it memorable for your customers it gives a more natural close to the occasion, but keeps people interested (and potentially spending) right until the end.
  • Recognising there will be a time in the day or evening when you need to start preparing for the next day e.g. laying up for breakfast, entice people into another area e.g. into the lounge for their coffee (opposed to making people feel uncomfortable and forced to leave).
  • Ensuring everything is still available right to then end of their visit.
  • Present a gift, memento or a (pleasant) surprise at the end of their stay or visit “I heard what you said earlier and thought you might like this…..” Anything that is unexpected and adds a personal touch.
  • Ask for feedback in a way that shows you are genuinely interested and value their opinion and comments.
  • Don’t leave people hanging on when they are ready to leave – queues at the cloakroom, delays in getting their bill or settling up, bottlenecks in the car park, long queues at the toilets.
  • Ensure the last thing your customers see is a friendly smiling face….

Why do staff quit your hotel?

Yesterday I was at the local hoteliers’ association meeting where one of the topics of conversation was finding good quality staff, in particular chefs. We already know that there is a lack of new talent entering the industry so it’s important that we hang on to our best people. The hospitality industry has always had one of the highest labour turnover rates in all sectors of the economy but there are a few things that we can do to minimise staff turnover.

First of all unless we understand why staff leaving it will be difficult to reverse the trend. In an ideal world some kind of confidential exit interview should be conducted and wherever possible this is best done by someone other than a line manager. The reason for this is that if it’s poor management or leadership that has prompted the move, it’s unlikely that you’re going to learn the truth if the line manager is asking the question! The saying goes people don’t quit jobs they quit bosses.

But even if your staff structure doesn’t allow for this it is important to find out much as possible about people’s motives for leaving.

If the reason they give is more money look to see how your rates compare with the competition. But also look at what benefits your staff are getting that they may not be getting elsewhere and ensure people are aware of everything that makes up their package.

If they’re moving for career progression, is this something that you could a given them but just didn’t make them aware of the opportunities? What can you do in future to ensure that all your team get the recognition and development they need for their career progression? You won’t be able to accommodate everyone’s aspirations particularly if you’re a small hotel, but having some kind of succession plan in place does give people something to work towards. However, don’t make promises that you are unable to keep.

And if you find out you are the problem and the reason that people leave, reflect on what you need to do to change. Find out what are the things that people find difficult or frustrating about working for you or with you, and then figure out a way to change your approach.

My new online leadership coaching programme could be a starting point to getting the help you need and is being launched in September.