It takes special people to excel in the hotel industry and SUPER SPECIAL people to be effective Supervisors in it.
Since the beginning of the year this platform has been writing articles on the Hotel Supervisor, starting with ‘Hard Talk’(01/15/2018). Interested readers participated in a self appraisal which enabled them to identify their strengths and shortfalls.
A series of topics to help enhance the general image of Hotel Supervisors in Ghana has been rolling since.
So far we have established a common understanding of our work environment as Supervisors in hotels in Ghana. Note that I am Ghana specific; to the extent that a miniature country, GANA has been created to help readers appreciate the discourse. Learn more about GANA in the post ‘MEMO: GANA HOTELS’ and subsequent discussions, (02/8 and 02/14 2018).
We have discussed ‘service’ as a PACKAGE. Hopefully you have carried out the exercises put out, applying the knowledge learnt. Carrying out the exercises will sensitize you and cause you to become increasingly conscious of related issues at your own workplace where you can begin to make some positive impacts.
In this article we make references to Ms Tea’s 5 –day stay at Discovery Inn, Akra, GANA. Kindly refresh your memory by rereading the post ‘THE IMAGE OF HOTEL SUPERVISORS -DEMANDS & UNIQUE CHALLENGES-PART III’ (03/20/2018) and letter to the General Manager about her stay (04/20/2018)as we discuss three characteristics of ‘service’, usually described as:
- intangible (does not have a physical nature)
- inseparable(the requirement of the presence of the service provider and the service benefactor)
- simultaneous (production and consumption occurring at the same time)
Generally, there are not many businesses that rely heavily on first impressions as hotels do. Many significant first impressions are formed by first-time guests through the sight and sounds of the physical environment of the hotel, the quality of interaction guests have with personnel of the hotel as well as their experiences with the processes involved in the hotels’ system of operations.
The biggest part of a first impression in the hotel business is in the exterior of a hotel since it is the first thing that guests see when they arrive.
Discovery Inn created a natural green environment with added elements to enhance the hotel building and design. Describe the impressions these made on Ms Tea.
Various mannerisms are demonstrated when people interact with each other. Review ‘The Encounter at Discovery Inn’ and the GM’s letter by Ms. Tea.Identify the different personnel Ms Tea interacted with. Describe what impression each person made on her.
Contrary to going to the market or shopping mall and purchasing items which you and 1 can identify by physical properties such as shape, color, smell, size, Ms Tea’s 5-day stay has no such physical properties. In answering the above questions you realize they reflect EXPERIENCES.This is what is meant when service is described as INTANGIBLE.
This may sound obvious, but it’s vital to consider what our guests experience when they first approach our hotels. Car parks should be tidy, free of litter and well lit; the garden should be well manicured with healthy looking plants and staff or delivery areas need to be hidden from sight. It is also essential to maintain the building’s exterior, including paint works, windows and signage/directional signs. Maintaining the hotel’s exterior conveys strong and clear messages that the hotel cares.
Guests should be able to find their way to the hotel reception with ease. This is not the case in a number of our hotels. Clearly marked signs to the reception will cause our guests to feel at ease immediately.
No matter how innovative/imaginative a hotel (in terms of design and amenities), there are some “basic” requirements that every hotel should have to make the experiences of its guests both welcoming and comforting. All guests expect a warm welcome, a friendly face, attentive service, heartfelt thanks, know that the hotel is their “home away from home.”
In her letter to the General Manager(GM) of Discovery Inn, Ms Tea highlighted what she liked most. Such memories, whether positive or negative, do last for a while, playing a major role when deciding whether to return to a hotel or not .
Dissatisfaction began to set in when Ms Tea began to encounter the service delivery system; remember there was no choice on TV movie channels to watch.
How did Ms Tea feel about her interaction with the receptionist? The barman? The porter who led her to her room?
Recall there was no running hot water. Ms Tea had to call the front desk for a bucket, thinking she could heat her own water. The personnel at the front desk insisted providing the water. There was a long wait. When it was delivered the bucket of water was not accompanied by a pail!
Note that these moments of encountering service as experience are only possible between the service provider and the guest. The guest or service benefactor must be present and/or take part in the delivery of the service. Service cannot be separated from the service provider either. Thus service is said to be INSEPARABLE.
Let us consider the following instances when Ms Tea describes what she terms ‘the other side of the coin’ in her letter to the GM:
Starting from the day of arrival, I intended staying for three nights but I was informed I could stay for only two. During a chat with the bar man at the bar lounge the evening of my arrival, somehow, I mentioned this challenge and he assured me he would ‘do something about it’. I was not too sure what that ‘something’ meant and if I would be required to give a fat tip for that, if he is successful. I decided to overlook it and assumed he was just trying to be friendly. I ended up staying five nights, becoming friends with a few of the employees, obviously including the bartender!
Receptionists have a lot of responsibility for offering a warm greetings to guests, ensuring that they have everything they need before explaining where guests’ rooms are. But don’t assume that first impressions stop here – it’s when guests first open the door to their room that their opinion is truly formed.
Most guests say the first thing they check when they enter their hotel room is the bed linen; and considering that most of their stay will likely be spent in bed, it’s easy to see why. Generally hotel guests are not just looking for beds to sleep in and a roof over their head anymore.
Once we are addressing Service inseparability you will also observe that the services are produced and consumed at the same time. Note that physical goods when manufactured are distributed to various retailers and wholesalers which are consumed later on. Not so with service, thus their characteristic asSIMULTANEOUS.
As you explore these unique characteristics of service, do not become overwhelmed by the challenges they present. “Challenges” are simply disguised opportunities. Now that you have this information, turn one or more of these service characteristics into a competitive advantage for your business.
To be continued.