In a previous post, “Wake Up Call”, I alluded to the fact that it is “a hotel’s REPUTATION that makes it successful, and as long as you can maintain or improve that reputation, no amount of competitors will be able to empty your rooms.” The moment I wrote that, I got it into my mind that my next article would be on reputation.
After taking a break from writing and cogitating on this and that, I looked up the word, reputation, in several dictionaries, both actual and on-line. All references, in essence, gave the same definition: a place in public esteem or regard; Good name, etc.—all the other definitions concerned people and not establishments. But no matter whether the definition referred to an establishment or a person, the definitions left me cold, empty, and dissatisfied. The definition is so . . . bland!
True, many well-known and established hotels have earned a place in the public esteem and have earned a good name. However, I don’t think the agency that does advertising for the Ritz-Carlton, the Four Seasons, the Waldorf Astoria, or The Plaza would just use these phrases to describe what these fine hotels are all about and what they offer guests, even though each one of them has earned a place in the public esteem and has earned a good name.
Obviously, what I am getting to is that of all hotels that have a good REPUTATION, that reputation is based on a lot more than the phrases mentioned. And it is that “lot more” that I want to get at and attempt to define.
All great hoteliers, whether they built, acquired, or managed a hotel, infused their personality into every nook and cranny, into every service, into every being that was a part of that hotel. The hotel and hotelier, in essence, became one and the same; inseparable. You could not call up one without thinking immediately of the other. César Ritz, Howard Johnson, Conrad Hilton, J. W. Marriott, and many others exemplify this in each and every hotel they built and managed. If you knew the man, you knew the hotel, and if you knew the hotel, you knew the man. You could almost feel the ethos of each one of these hoteliers the moment you approached the hotel entrance. It’s that infused ethos that made these early hotels great in their day, and great still today. “But Hotel Guy”, you may ask, “You are talking about the past!” That is true, all the hoteliers I listed are dead, but they were the vanguard of the hoteliers of today.
With the exception of César Ritz, all the mentioned hoteliers were businessmen, not hoteliers in the modern sense of the word—at the time there was no such thing as hospitality/hotel management training except on-the-job-training (Ritz); they all became hoteliers because they had a unique vision of what a hotel should be like and the services it should render to guests. Without exception, they all set the bar high and staffed their respective hotels, and later motels, with quality service-oriented personnel. They all succeeded. Their hotels still exist as I write, albeit after several modernization makeovers, and still intact in their reputation of providing quality service.
Let’s face it; your hotel needs to have something unique and refreshing about it if you want it to stand out from the plethora of copycat hotels and motels. Your hotel needs to provide its guests with an almost story-book quality to it that guests can experience almost from the moment they book a room or approach the front entrance, a story-book experience, if you will, that guests will not only enjoy, but enjoy it enough to think it worthwhile to share with their friends and others.
And it is from such things as ethos, quality service, storybook experience, and all the other sensory and visual experiences guest are subjected to once they enter your hotel that not only tells, but more importantly, shows the guest, that this hotel truly is worthy of its Good Name and worthy of Public Esteem and Regard.
About the Author
Alan Campbell has been in Las Vegas for over 30 years and has worked for the major strip hotels. He has spent some time in California, Los Angeles where he worked for the Radisson and Sheraton hotels. Alan considers the hospitality industry the best job in the world - it is the only place that both king's and Paupers will visit you.