Through the obvious
From the outside looking in I don’t think many people view the hotel industry as a very dynamic industry. This could be because our guests only see the end product (their stay). We do a great job at hiding how we actually create the guest experience. Think about it: The reservation process is so simple on the guests’ end. Little do they know how intricate reservations systems can be and how many channels they go through before the check-in process. The guests get to the front desk, and a check-in can take less than two minutes. Think about what occurs in that two-minute process: inventory, revenue, forecasts, relationships and opportunities are all altered with a few clicks of a mouse.
Most guests I run into do not become fixated on the multimillion-dollar PMS system that is running 24/7 to ensure the property runs smoothly. Not to mention all the interfaces that have to align with the operating systems. They don’t ask because, let’s face it, they don’t care … until something goes wrong, of course. Truth is, they shouldn’t have to care. It’s our job to prevent a breakdown in service. When a breakdown in service does occur, it is our burden to recover. Trying to explain to a guest why somebody was checked into his or her occupied room due to a systematic error is like trying to explain atomic physics to, well, me. Mostly because I just don’t want to hear it, and neither do they.
For those of us who see what goes on in the back of the house of an operation, we know that it’s not nearly as smooth and serene as the ambiance we so discreetly create.
Digging deeper into the whole process of creating the guest experience, we can ask so many other questions to gage how dynamic this industry truly is:
- Why does the guest choose a particular hotel?
- Why are they paying that rate?
- Why is that hotel located where it is?
- Why does the property have as many rooms as it does?
These are questions we as hoteliers think of, but a typical guest does not.
These are questions I asked myself before I started my career in the hospitality industry, which led me to where I am now. Our guests only see what we want them to see (for the most part). They see operations, but not much else. This can lead to one-dimensional views of our industry. What goes on behind the scenes is what makes this industry multi-dimensional. My hotel employs about 1,000 associates, but my guests only see a fraction of them. Yet each and every one of them is critical to our success.
What I would like to see is a more open BOH operation within the business. For example, having BOH tours for guests or shadowing programs for local students. This would be a great way for people to see how a hotel operates in a new light. Also, it would be a great way for someone who might be interested in the industry to see what’s it’s all about. On an employee engagement front, I truly believe associates would like to have their duties witnessed and acknowledged by their guests.
I’m curious to hear your thoughts.