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How good training can revolutionise your business

This week I am privileged to be one of the keynote speakers at DigitalDNA, an event focused on Tourism and taking place in Belfast.

My topic is ‘The Future Belongs to Those who Hear it Coming’ and focuses mainly on how we can use data to get to know and understand our customers and then translate that into a fantastic customer experience.

However, no matter how good our systems are at collecting data; no matter how much we upgrade and enhance our product, the one thing that can truly make or break our customer experience is our staff and unfortunately this is often the one area of our business that we invest the least in.

This week I have been onsite in two 4 star hotels and was a paying guest in both (i.e. not working).  During one lunch meeting, my guest who was sitting opposite me, had her cutlery placed in front of her upside down!  One meal was brought out way before the second and then the staff proceeded to clear one plate before the second person had finished eating.  Then coffee arrived with no spoons and a second try at fetching milk and sugar.  In the second hotel, I wasn’t greeted by reception (and those of you who know me, know that not standing to greet is my absolute pet peeve) and was ignored for an age while two receptionist chatted about room allocations.

Now I agree that these are simple things and if a guest experienced them, they might not feel them worthy enough to mention to a Manager or even to leave a TripAdvisor review about, but they were niggles. And whether we like it or not niggles are what make lasting impressions.

As hoteliers we need to ‘hire for the attitude and train for the skill’ but are we actually investing in training?

I know of several hotels that have lengthy S.O.P manuals that they give to their staff during induction and expect them to read, digest and be inspired by but is this really how we should be training?

I urge you to look at every single department and first of all review your training documentation.  Do new chefs have pictures of how each dish needs to presented and served?  Do your bar staff know how to serve every single drink? Do your Receptionists know how to greet customers and how to deal with issues and complaints?

Your team need to understand your culture; your vision; who you are and how you want your guests to feel. From the simple things like knowing how to place a spoon on a saucer, to knowing how to cope with a guest that needs help – we all need to instil your brand and that should carry through everything you do.

Look at Hoxton; Citizen M – brands that are ready for the Millennials.  These brands have a way of greeting customers; a way of serving their requirements and a way of making every guest feel valued.  Can you say the same?

Lack of training which in turn equates to lack of investment in your team is the absolute number 1 reason why staff leave.  If they don’t feel equipped and ready for the job, then this equates to them feeling a lack of investment from you as an owner.

Our industry is changing and guests expect so much more.  They are coming to us not just for a bed for the night, but they are coming to have a great experience.  No matter how much you invest in your product, the biggest impact we have on our guests is the experience our team give. So I urge you to look at every department, sit in on the training and evaluate your strengths and your weaknesses – you might learn a lot

(and for all things revenue, just ask@rightrevenue.wpengine.com)