by Egi Gaisie

This article continues with our objective to establish a common understanding of our work environment, hotels in Ghana. It’s been slow, but this is intentional for readers to catch up.

In Part 1, we identified some of the physical demands made on us and their toll on our health.

There was then a ‘wake-up call’, MEMO: GANA HOTELS, followed by ‘REFLECTIONS..’ which interrupted the series. They sought to position us in the broader context, the hotel industry in GANA; a country conceived on this platform for purposes of learning and which seeks to reflect the industry in the real country we live in.

Are we together? Do read previous articles if any of the references is new to you.

In the hotel industry the expected outcome of all our efforts is a satisfied guest/customer.

I have often wondered if in our country, the guest/customer has lost the status of ‘KING’.

On this platform, in the country GANA, the status of GUEST/CUSTOMER IS KING, is maintained. This is because we understand that:

  • Without guests/customers, our hotels would probably not exist.
  • Without guests/customers our jobs would probably not exist.
  • Without guests/customers our lives would probably be different; it might not be very good at all.

Every guest/customer wants something slightly different; and although we are needed to provide those wants, we cannot share the ‘KING’ status with them. Two kings cannot reign at once!

As an industry, we have chosen not only to uphold the guest/customer as ‘KING’ but we are also guided by a well known slogan, ‘the customer is always right’. Among ourselves we, Supervisors, know too well that the customer is not always right. We also know, however, that we are in business for them, and we want our guests/customers to return, feel welcomed and to feel appreciated. In offering our services therefore, our guests/customers must EXPERIENCE THE FEELING OF BEING SERVED rather than the feeling of ‘begging for services’ they are going to be paying for, or in some cases have paid for.

A People Driven Industry

Working TO SERVE PEOPLE comes with its challenges irrespective of whether one is a supervisor or an operational personnel and so does working WITH PEOPLE.

In this industry it’s important to remember we are not likely to please everyone every time. I must confess I cringe when I hear my colleagues in particular refer to a guest/customer as ‘difficult’.

Guests/customers may have heightened expectations for one reason or other, or they may just be  having a rough day, just like we all do sometimes. Inevitably, they may seem hard to satisfy. 

 The challenge is our ability to accurately ‘read’ our guests/customers to determine what they really want.

Let’s meet some of them.

  1. Very Important Patrick(VIP): Patrick is like all of us, he does not want to wait. He wants prompt response and quick service. Information provided to him must be specific,straight to the point, and relevant. 
  2. Silent Sophia: She has a clear understanding of what she wants but she does not realize she is not being specific enough when requesting for a service.
  3. Complaining Ckwesi:Once he encounters a problem, he observes many more mistakes (however small), by the service provider and a chain of complaints follow.
  4. Aggressive Ama: Ama has a heightened expectation and is not interested in even a manager’s explanation.
  5.  Know-it-all-Nancy:She insists on particular ways of doing things as though she was professionally trained, when it is evident this is not the case.

There is also the additional school of thought about people in general; that every individual has three faces. 

The bottom line is people are complicated, and much of what makes us who we are is hidden beneath the surface. As we interact with different people, we reveal different layers of ourselves at different times and in different situations.This applies to all of us (the guest/customer, top management, middle management, government agencies, suppliers, labor union, colleagues, our subordinates as well as we ourselves).

To complicate the above complexities is the component of communication, referred to as the ‘silver lining of guest relations’. It may be verbal and non-verbal communication. Most of us are not good communicators.

In Part 1, we established that hotels in general are physically and psychologically demanding workplaces. In continuing the discussion we have focused on the GUEST & PEOPLE factors.  The industry has long established the guest/customer as ‘KING’ and as ‘always right’. As a people we are complex. Communication plays a critical role in guest relations.

If we are to enhance our image as Supervisors, we must embrace the above facts. We betray ourselves take them for granted. Make time to think through the discussions so far. Identify your unique situations in the hotels you are working in (no two hotels are the same). Relate the factors discussed to your individual work environment as well as to the work dynamics you operate in. Use the information to change  various aspects of your attitude as a Supervisor.


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