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Hotel Maintenance Staff Can Be Ambassadors of Hotel Hospitality
When we as hotel managers picture hospitality superstars, we tend to envision the "traditional" ambassadors of hotel guest service excellence, which are the smiling faces behind the front desk, bell stand, guest services/concierge, housekeeping lobby attendants, or perhaps the waitstaff and bartenders. Yet when you stop to consider which hotel associates actually spend the longest period of time interacting with in-house gusts, it becomes evident that the associates from the departments we call maintenance or engineering actually have by far the most lengthy interactions. On top of this, their interactions are arguably of the most significant importance. Why? When the maintenance staff is called into action it is almost always due to a problem with the guest's accommodation. More often than not they knock on the door to find a guest who is at best annoyed with the interruption, or worse, a guest who is already emotionally charged.
Ironically, due to "user error," often the very person who is solely responsible for the problem which caused the call to maintenance, is also the very person answering the knock at the door from the responding maintenance technician.
In conducting hotel-wide hospitality training over the years, and in my own personal travels for business and leisure, I have had a chance to meet numerous guest service superstars from this department who have impressed me with their commitment to excellence.
In this month's column I will share with you some of the lessons I've learned from workshop participants and also other lessons I've learned as a guest in need.
Of course, one external key to their success is the person who fields the maintenance service requests. It is important for them to ask the right questions to "triage" the guest's problem or concern. Often times by asking the right questions when the call comes in a maintenance call can be avoided.
In today's world, a hotel's level of guest service and hospitality is increasingly transparent to current and potential guests, due to the astonishing number of online guest reviews and social network postings being made and read every day. In planning your next round of hospitality training, be sure to consider the important contribution the maintenance or engineering department technicians can. With a little focus on hospitality, your future guests will be writing messages like.... "What went wrong was this... but we were amazed that a short time later Chris showed up to turn things around for us!"
His articles have also appeared worldwide in more than 17 prominent international publications including the HSMAI Marketing Review, eHotelier, 4hoteliers, Hotel News Resource, Hotel Online, Human Assets - Dubai and Hong Kong, Hsyndicate worldwide, BAHA Times – U.K., Hospitality – Maldives, and the Hotel Expert Magazine Hong Kong. Since 1996 Doug has been a regular contributor to the lodging industry's number one rated publication, www.hotelmotel.com , where he has been a regular monthly columnist since 2001. Visit www.kennedytrainingnetwork.com for details or e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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