Employee morale determines travel service

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 27, 2010

Admittedly I get to travel a bit, both for business and pleasure. Sometimes I have difficulty separating these two areas because the nature of my business is travel.

I travel to teach, sell and service travel. I travel to learn, observe and share this information with students and travelers.

This means that I often view things differently from the normal traveler. You, the average traveler, are really concerned with how “front of the house” travel operations impact your trip.

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I also have certain travel expectations but always look beyond these experiences and try to examine “back of the house” functions and issues as well.

Front of the house operations are the functions that you and I see and experience.

Did your flight depart on-time and did your luggage arrive? Was the flight attendant nasty or nice? Was your hotel reservation and check in processed accurately and efficiently? Was your cruise cabin clean and comfortable? Did the quality of the midnight buffet meet your expectations?

These are the actions and activities that impact you, the individual traveler.

It is in back of the house where the planning, preparation, training, staffing and other operational areas are addressed.

This is the arena of how guests, passengers, clients, customers, etc. are greeted, treated and served.

These are the often-overlooked scenes that play out behind closed doors.

This is where a company becomes good, great or all too often marginally acceptable. This is where their product becomes an exceptional value or an unforgettably horrible experience.

This is where all team members from ownership, management down to the rank and file front line employees directly impact the quality or lack of it in their product.

My contention is that you can build the most luxurious hotel, modern cruise ship or fly a modern jet fleet but without the proper personnel team you’ll just be another commodity in a crowded field.

Skilled, trained and motivated personnel, employees who like their jobs and enjoy being at work, is what separates you from the pack.

You’ve experienced just the opposite of this attitude at least hundreds probably thousands of times.

Employees who are there but not there just going through the motions, someone who could care less about you as a person let alone as a customer.

Recently I had a very positive experience at the Pittsburgh Airport Spring Hill Suites by Marriott that needs to be shared.

Everything at this property was perfect and by the book. There were smiles everywhere-the front desk, housekeeping staff, breakfast room, shuttle drivers-just everyone all the time.

Happy people glad to be at work and this attitude carried over to the guest. Everyone was having a good time! This struck me as incredible and mentionable.

Here’s what I shared with the hotel general manager: “It was apparent to me that you hire quality people then train them to provide outstanding service.

Everyone had a positive attitude and actually seemed glad to be there (at work). That’s very unusual these days.

If your property was located closer to our campus I’d definitely bring my classes over to observe the proper way to provide hospitality service.

I’ll definitely recommend your hotel when the lodging in Pittsburgh is required. Thanks again for everything. It’s human nature and often easy to complain but when you receive something exceptional, pass along the praise.

If you think about we’re much more negative than positive. Tally up you daily expressions and I’m sure you’ll agree that the negatives win.

In class I talk about achieving a 5:1 ratio. That’s 5 positives comments for every negative one.

I tell the students that when we focus on the positive we can make it happen.

Build up morale don’t tear it down. Train for success and reward your colleagues. Praise is a cheap yet a powerful tool.

Points made: It’s time to quit lecturing and move back to Tigertown time. This week is judgment time as the America in Bloom judges arrive ready to evaluate our city.

Spruce up the property, cut the grass, weed the flower beds and make your place proud.