by Egi Gaisie

I applaud you for having come this far with me. 

From the earlier readings, we have identified our shortfalls  and are ready to START ALL OVER AGAIN as Supervisors. 
As indicated in the image presented to the left, our willingness to persistis evidence of STRENGTH and to start over, is a further proof of strength.

In this article, I will ’employ’ you to help me  unwrap or ‘peel off’ the wrappings around SERVICES hotels are expected to offer their guests/customers. It will help us view ‘HOTEL SERVICES’ more holistically. 

Our ability to apply ourselves to what we are learning will bring about changes required towards enhancing our image as Supervisors.

You will be ‘chewing on food’ in this article and subsequent ones by reading through a number of times. I liken your ability to read over and over again to food you chew to make it softer and warmer, for the enzymes in your mouth to begin to break down carbohydrates in the food towards easy digestion.  So let us begin with some questions we must think through.

What is the purpose of having a spacious guestroom with a king sized bed but the mattress and pillows are very thin and toiletries are half empty?   

What is the purpose of an elaborate menu on an elegant menu card when the food order takes the longest time to be served or most of the items requested for on the menu are not available? 

What is the purpose of setting up an evening barbecue by an empty pool or outdoor where guests are being irritated by winged insects swarming frantically at light sources because it had rained earlier during the day? 

The above questions are intended to provoke your thinking towards ‘service’ as a package. You read right, we need to view HOTEL SERVICE as A PACKAGE.  

To discuss this, a scenario is recalled at Discovery Inn, a hotel I recently stayed in.  We all know that the basic services hotels offer include a place to sleep and usually something to eat and drink. Individual hotels have distinguished themselves by various means to enhance these basic services, thereby achieving unique ways of presenting the traditional services they offer. I refer to them(the additions to basic services) as the ‘wrapping papers’ !

Generally, Supervisors tend to limit service to the end product the customer/guest explicitly requested for. At a fufu or banku joint we seem to be more particular about the fufu or banku, more than the artificial flower which has gathered dust on the table. However from the consumer(our guest/customer) point of view, the packaging matters too! That artificial flowers must not only look clean but must look attractive! However, for me, fresh flowers on a table tells me ‘you care’!

A good understanding of the ‘service package’ is therefore required, if we must become better Supervisors.  Using the GANA Hotel chart, I located and checked into Discovery Inn, a 1-star rated hotel in G/Akra. The highlights of the service encounters noted are selective, to address the learning objectives intended.

The Encounter at Discovery Inn
I checked in as a walk-in guest, a risk I usually take during such trips particularly at urban areas. I arrived in a taxi  which dropped me off at the gate of the hotel (at my request). I had as my luggage a small sized blue black travelers’ bag. It had foot stands and wheels and could easily be wheeled along, which i did. I did not observe any security. There was no doorman at the entrance to the lobby either, but since I was traveling light I did not miss the services of the latter. I however, began to wonder about the security in the hotel.

The signage at the entrance of the facility was very clear or else I would have been arguing with the taxi driver that he had brought me to a wrong address. This is because the facility is concealed with much greenery, a landscape of dense shady trees and shrubs creating an escape and a serene environment.  There were pleasant surprises of distinctive design of the plants, meandering walkways, sprinklers, statutes and lighting as I walked towards the lobby which suddenly became alive with hit music of the 60’s.  

This whole landscape ‘experience’ of Discovery Inn was most welcoming, overtaking my immediate security concerns for a while. I wondered whether the ‘Discovery’ name was in relation to its hidden location (which was really not hidden, but the landscape provided that feeling of escape). 

Discovery lnn boasts of ‘having a combination of the Ghanaian hospitality and modern luxury, offering an affordable luxury and a hide-away in the heart of G/Akra’.
Facilities (as stated in its brochure)

Themed Guestrooms        Room refrigerator 
A locally acclaimed restaurant Daily housekeeping
        Free airport shuttle         Air conditioning/Ceiling Fan
Bar/lounge Laundry service
Business Center (access open 24/7) Free continental breakfast, free WiFi and free parking
24-hour front desk Self-service laundry
       Front desk safe         Fitness and gaming area  

The wide range of facilities the hotel was offering came as a surprise since I knew it was only a 1-star hotel and did not have to have them all. 

The lobby was tastefully designed with a rustic ambiance to give a relaxed nostalgic feeling. This continued through the hall way leading to the guestroom area.  
Whatever prompted the name Discovery Inn, I mentally gave them a thumps up, without even meeting any of the hotel’s personnel yet.

Room 205: 
All the rooms, I was told are of the same size, standard rooms. I had no choice to make, except the theme of the room.My eyes widened as I checked into the Safari-themed standard room. 

‘The room is small. I don’t really have any room to move around’, I thought to myself.  

 (Note: guests usually would exaggerate when they are very disappointed, especially when their expectations have been heightened , as I had just experienced with the landscape). 

‘I just love space, I know’, my thoughts continued.

When I settled in the room, I drew the heavy curtains of the window, which I thought contributed to making the room feel small. The view from the second floor, where my room was located, overlooked the compound of a house which was unkempt. 

‘The trees would have hidden this if I were placed on the first floor’, I said to myself. 

The WiFi was terrible, with little to no connection most of the time. There was no hot water running. I could not imagine the last time I took a cold bath and I am not about to, at Discovery Inn. I pulled out a water heater coil from my traveling bag. I had to call the front desk for a bucket.  The A/c was noisy and the remote control to it was not functioning. 

The Food and Beverage Service outlets:
The restaurant had plush seating, moody tones and dim lighting to create an intimate atmosphere. The use of mostly natural materials such as wood, stone, leather and linen definitely contributed to the overall cozy and comfortable look. 
I observed a lobby bar located almost next to the front desk.  Dark fabrics and a bar counter made out of tin added to the mellow character of this hotel bar.  Artifacts depicting the full regalia of a chief was exhibited on the only wall available at one side of the bar. 

I did not intend eating a dinner. I just needed to settle down and draw up my plan for the subsequent days. However, to familiarize myself with the facility I went to the restaurant to ask some basic questions ( which I could have got from their information pack in the guestroom) and to inquire about special orders not on the menu. I then spent about half an hour at the lobby bar just to do some  more observations. I strolled back to my room and placed an order for a bottle of Chardonnay (wine). 
PAUSE (reflect and identify  and list the ‘wrappings’) 
continued in the next article

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