My least favourite hotels are guest factories, they can be any star rating, in any Country and from any chain or independent.
The interactions are transactional with little thought given to the fact that they are dealing with a person and everyone is “just doing their job”
Although you can train procedures you cannot make people care, you can only hope you hire the ones that do, but it’s incredibly hard to ensure every team member in every interaction shows genuine empathy.
I believe that the quality of the service is driven from the top and can only be created when the Ownership, GM and senior team not only show they care, they create an environment where the team are allowed to show they care too. We know that if teams are not treated well they will never treat the guests, customers and each other well
What does show you care look like?
It is the small things, the little touches that show they have heard you and think of a way to make it even better.
It is in the way they remember you and the authenticity of their smile.
The Iberostar Grand Mencey live it and breathe it
I have been staying at The 5 star Iberostar Grand Mencey in Santa Cruz Tenerife for the last 4 days and despite booking a third party “deal” online, (usually I prefer to book directly, thereby getting a better room and service). It made no difference where the booking originated from they delivered consistently extraordinary service to every guest obviously, caring is part of this hotels’ DNA.
How do they do it? I asked a few questions
David Gomez the GM understands the importance of motivating and empowering his team. He trusts them and let’s them get on with the job says Christina Zenker the Asst manager. She explained that family values lie at the heart of not just the hotel but the Iberostar brand. The owners often visit the hotel making sure they speak to every team member, recognise their contribution and thanking them. This is why the team want to deliver the best experience for the guest, they feel proud to work for the hotel and the owners.
She explained it has not been easy to achieve this level of service, integrating the existing long service 40 years + team with the young vibrant newbies has been a challenge but through team building, senior leadership mentorship, ensuring departments heads are responsible for their people not HR and lots of motivation they have created the ‘one team’ that other hotels can only hope for.
The hotel was originally built in the 1950’s but refurbished to a high spec, reopening on the 11.11.11 which means there is an old school grandeur yet the facilities are top notch, but as we know beautiful high spec hotels can often fail when they do not offer a level of service to match the surroundings. I have stayed in stunning hotels where the team are too cool for school and think their very presence is enough.
A simple enough request of ordering taxis to take us to and from the beach ( paid by the hotel ) is taken to the next level when she hands us some large thick towels and says you’ll need these. The beach is a twenty minute taxi ride away not round the corner. I know of hotels that make guests pay a deposit for the umbrellas when it rains let alone give you beach towels.
When asking about where the local shopping area is, she produced a 10% discount card for the local department store, ….Yes but so they should I hear you say it’s their job. If that’s the case why don’t more hotels do the same. Rarely do team members volunteer inside secrets. I have stayed in hotels next to Macy’s in the US and others in Paris close to Galeries Lafayette both of whom have similar schemes but have I never been told at reception.
Keeping the kids happy
This hotel has a stunning pool, where you collect your towels as you would expect. What makes this hotel stand out is the display of towel animals, would your child like a monkey or elephant to play with just pick? I have often seen towel sculptures from housekeeping not at the poolside. Mauricio does it everyday to “make the children happy”
No more breakfast nightmares
Fresh honey at the tea stand
Breakfast, the nightmare of any hotelier. Here with the help of Claudia and her team mates it was smooth, quick, everyone smiling, with the team talking to you including the chefs who are tidying and refilling the displays. Their English was excellent, which is no surprise given the hotel has been running language courses and the chef’s session was full every week.
I met Julio, his job is to make juices and smoothies which he then offers to guests as he walks around the room. He takes great pride in telling you what is in his latest creation and asks if he can improve it for you.
Cheeky chappies at the bar
Drinks are served quickly, made well and delivered with a joke, a smile and a story. ….Yes I know that is what they are suppose to do but they genuinely mean it when they say if you can’t see your favourite cocktail we’ll make it. Contrast that with a recent experience in a well known 5 star hotel in London. Despite the fact they had all the ingredients for a chocolate martini they refused to make one as it was not on the list.
The hotel is spotless with the room attendants greeting you when as you walk past. Quite right too, but they also ask how your room is and if they can get you anything, even when they are half way down the corridor away from your room.
No wonder they are so accommodating when you find out part of their morning briefs include a Pilates class.
In addition to the main hotel restaurant they have another gourmet restaurant that specialises in typical Canarian food which they showcased brilliantly by adding a modern twist to the dishes. Our waiter David was knowledgeable and enthusiastic recommending dishes and explaining the heritage.
What can we learn from The Iberostar Grand Mencey?
It starts with the owners, the GM and the senior leadership, they need to care more about their guests and team than paperwork and reporting.
Manage by walking around not sitting down, talk to the team and take an interest in them and their job to ensure that every team member feels special.
Create an environment where teams are empowered to give that little bit extra.
Team-build and motivate often, make sure your department heads understand that they are responsible for their teams not just HR.
Offer more than technical skills training, it builds team spirit and improves their sense of wellbeing.
Will I be back, absolutely, sadly not to train the team, they don’t need me, as a guest both the hotel & Santa Cruz were a revelation.
Want to learn more visit www.mjinspire.com
#hotels #hospitality #serviceexcellence