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A different appraisal of our biggest challenges in 2009
This fiscal crisis is hardly new to the hospitality and tourism industries. In my business career, I can identify at least six major economic downturns that have included energy shortages, high rates of inflation, insolvent financial institutions that lent too much with no or little equity, and negative general global cycles.
Without a doubt, the concern about credit, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the business roller coaster rides in the global stock markets are very real. By that same analysis, hotel owners and managers cannot immediately affect those stock variations or political decisions but they can make the difference in strengthening the core of their individual businesses.
For many hotels, that means a change in operational practice - it means embracing the spirit and results of empowerment. What does that word really mean?
Empowerment - if one looks in a typical thesaurus, the word does not show any similarities or results. Does this mean that empowerment is going to provide more work or more results?
The online Encarta Dictionary shows some verbs alluding to "giving authority to somebody" or to give somebody power or authority. This definition indicates it is often a passive action.
A second definition is "to make more confident or assertive" or to give somebody a greater sense of confidence or self-esteem. By contrast, this second definition appears to be more action oriented but the reality is that is still means extending that sense of trust and belief in others.
"Without empowerment, an organization will never be a service leader. Empowerment is the most critical skill an employee can master and a company can drive in order to lure and keep customers."
John Tschoh, founder and president of Service Quality Institute
Empowerment in the world of hospitality means that staff members at the front line (and hopefully everywhere) have been trained to more clearly understand the reality of the business, and the value of each customer.
With that training, the staff then can accept and want more authority, which helps everyone to help achieve the hotel's goals. Owners and senior managers now share those goals with more than the executive team. Everyone can be enthusiastic about the hotel's reputation, profitability and the staff is more motivated to take the initiative to deliver that one extra step.
Both personally and as an educator, I have come to recognize we all learn in different ways. With that in mind, I am recommending two short books as suggested reading for managers who are looking to expand the quality and service delivery of their hotels.
The first is a sequel by Ken Blanchard, John Carlos, and Alan Randolph.
The second book is an amusing one that is easy to read quickly but it does require some thought and reflection.
I borrowed this book from my library, but then went to Amazon.com for additional insights and ordering info. There I found an excellent review of the book by John Chancellor of New Orleans http://www.teachthesoul.com/ that I feel is worth sharing:
"Squawk gives you three simple and easy to implement steps to becoming a more effective manager. The book presents these steps in a very engaging story form. But first let's review some of the reasons you need to take Squawk seriously.
Travis Bradberry uses the seagull as a symbol for today's manager. All too often today's manager swoops in, fails to get complete details of what is happening, squawks up a storm, deposits/dumps on the workers and leaves a mess for others to clean up. The seagull manager is showing up more and more in today's workplace.
3. Paws on Performance - pay attention to each employee's performance - offer praise as often as constructive feedback. Keep your paws on performance."
This article is titled A different appraisal of our biggest challenges in 2009.
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Autographed copies of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD - a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES can be obtained from THE ROOMS CHRONICLE www.roomschronicle.com and other industry sources.
All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication
John Hogan, a career hotelier and educator, is frequently invited to participate at franchise meetings, management company and hospitality association industry events. He is a successful senior executive with a record of accomplishment in leading hospitality industry organizations at multiple levels, with demonstrated competencies as a strong leader, relationship builder, problem solver and mentor. He conducts mystery-shopping reviews of quality in operations and marketing, including repositioning of hotels.
He writes weekly columns for a number of global online services (hotel online.com, eHotelier, 4 Hotels, Hotel Resource, etc) and has published more than 400 articles & columns on the hotel industry. He co-authored (with Howard Feiertag, CHA CMP) LESSONS FROM THE FIELD - a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES, which is available from email@example.com, ROOMS CHRONICLE www.roomschronicle.com and other industry sources. He resides in Phoenix, Arizona and expects to publish in 2009 his 2nd book based on his dissertation - The Top 100 People of All Time Who Most Dramatically Affected the Hotel Industry.
Hogan's professional experience includes over 35 years in hotel operations, food & beverage, sales & marketing, training, management development and asset management on both a single and multi-property basis, including service as Senior Vice President of Operations in a specialty hotel brand for six years.
He holds a number of industry certifications (CHA, CHE, MHS, ACI) and is a past recipient of the American Hotel & Lodging Association's Pearson Award for Excellence in Lodging Journalism, as well as operational and marketing awards from international brands. He has served as President of both city and state hotel associations.
John's background includes teaching college level courses as an adjunct professor at three different colleges and universities over a 20-year period, while managing with Sheraton, Hilton, Omni and independent hotels. He was the principal in an independent training & consulting group for more than 12 years serving associations, management groups, convention & visitors' bureaus, academic institutions and as an expert witness. He joined Best Western International in spring of 2000, where over the next 8 years he created and developed a blended learning system as the Director of Education & Cultural Diversity for the world's largest hotel chain.
He has served on several industry boards that deal with education and/or cultural diversity and as brand liaison to the NAACP and the Asian American Hotel Owners' Association with his long-term involvement in the Certified Hotel Owner program. He has conducted an estimated 3,200 workshops and classes in his career.
Expertise and Research Interest
Service to the Industry and Hospitality Education includes working with the Educational Institute Certification Commission of the AH&LA, the Hospitality Industry Diversity Institute, the AH&LA Multicultural Advisory Council, the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration, the Commission for Accreditation on Hospitality Management Programs, the AH&LA and AAHOA Education and Training Committees, the Council of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Educators (CHRIE), the International Hotel Show and the Certified Hotel Owner program for the Asian American Hotel Owners' Association.
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