Hotel Inspection: Case Studies

#1.  A luxury hotel lost a star on their rating and needed help before the next Triple A hotel inspection.

Challenge

A luxury hotel lost a star, upending the entire sales strategy and endangering the management contract.  Another Triple A (AAA) inspection was upcoming in 3-4 months.

Solution

With the client, Coyle reviewed the sources that caused the most deductions from the rating service and convened with the client to create a short-list of ‘high opportunity’ standards; standards that had high point values that were deemed achievable.  Coyle crafted a concise and focused program customized for the client.  With the aid of actionable and achievable standards and a clear rationale for scoring, hotel management rolled out a short, but intense training program. Weekly, for six weeks, Coyle-referred mystery shoppers evaluated the hotel. Management used the mystery shoppers’ research findings to identify low-performers for re-training and rewarded high performers, creating excellent awareness and urgency. The hotel was re-inspected and received the rating it had once had.

#2.  A major hotel chain launched a nationwide TV and print advertising campaign mentioning key distinguishing features of their chain. They soon received feedback that several of the chain’s hotels were not in compliance.

Challenge

Immediately after launching a multi-million dollar advertising campaign, the client began getting feedback that franchisees were either not adhering to brand standards or substituting non-branded materials.  Coyle was asked to immediately determine the level of brand compliance within the portfolio.

Solution

Instead of simply assessing all hotels, which would have been very expensive, Coyle recommended testing a statistically relevant sample of the hotel brand’s portfolio. By referring skilled local evaluators to the selected hotels  to keep costs low, Coyle was able to identify the level of brand compliance within 72 hours.   Extrapolating the sample findings to the entire portfolio, the client was able to identify specific supply-chain issues and locate brand outliers. Coyle then referred additional evaluators to re-inspect the non-compliant hotels in 30 days to ensure compliance.

#3.  A hotel company was stuck.  They positioned themselves as five-star, but were receiving much lower scores from the major rating services, OTAs, and online review communities. The marketing department blamed operations for not performing up to standards, and operations blamed marketing for promising things that could not be consistently delivered.

Challenge

The hotel company advertised and positioned themselves as a luxury hotel company, but received guest feedback that their hotels were not as luxurious as guests had been led to believe.  Worse yet, the company’s ADR and competitive set were stuck in the same class as the big box business-class hotels from which they were trying to distinguish themselves.

Solution

Coyle reviewed the guest feedback and rating companies’ scoring explanations. This due diligence proved to be a crucial step as the marketing department and operations team were blaming each other for missteps.  Coyle quickly realized that the hotel’s marketing message and operational delivery were misaligned. The Coyle team knew that they were going to have to help the company rethink their standards.  As a credible third party, Coyle re-defined the hotel’s service standards which had been geared towards Triple A inspections, and created standards centered around personalized service and ‘moments of truth’.

A new customized measurement program was created and communicated to the management team and staff members.  Initial findings determined that staff members had become comfortable with an out-dated definition of luxury.  By re-defining modern luxury and service and establishing a consistent measurement program, success stories began to emerge, energizing the team top-to-bottom.  The hotel company re-positioned their marketing efforts to emphasize ‘unstuffy luxury’, which fit perfectly with what the company could deliver.  Not only did the new brand standards and measurement program help them achieve their ADR goals, but it also helped to differentiate them from their competition.

#4.  Help!  We Need a Complete Overhaul of Our Standards

Challenge

A mid-sized hotel company experienced several management changes over 15 years resulting in brand standards that were either no longer applicable or had no champions who believed in them. The client asked Coyle for a complete ‘Reset’.

Solution

First, Coyle met with the company’s marketing department and learned what types of guests the client was seeking. Next, Coyle interviewed key operations management, and analyzed guest satisfaction survey data.  Coyle then proposed a universal set of standards to be measured system-wide. Reasonable benchmarks were set. Low-performers were paired with top-performers for action planning, goals were set and follow-up measurements were executed.

After one year, management at all levels were given the ability (and encouraged) to customize standards for their properties, effectively raising the bar and guaranteeing ownership across the company. The company’s service culture was re-defined, clear actionable goals were in place, and benchmarks were set. Each year, management tweaks the program pushing performance higher.

© 2018 Coyle Hospitality Group 2016. Reproduction of any material without written authorization is strictly prohibited.

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