This article found in Nashville Business Journal discusses how hotels and restaurants in Tennessee are attempting to stay afloat by creating memorable guest experiences with less employees.
Also discussed is the dynamic of how guests are apparently more stressed out during the current economic climate and are thus creating unique demands on already reduced staff. In-house training programs for all staff members including housekeeping, management, and chefs is suggested to teach everything from dealing with a guest having too much to drink to handling language barriers. The advocates of these programs agree that employee motivation from orientations and peer support programs is a strong business strategy. The author purports that the best means of identifying superior hospitality employees is via several interviews and observations during a training period.
In attracting the “A-Player” the key to a good employee is their ability to deal with stress. Problems solvers for hospitality companies referred to as “service naturals” by one expert, provide understanding and consistent “out of the box” responses.
As an example, at a recent wedding reception at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville, apparently something happened to the music for the father-daughter dance and panic set among the family. A server realized he had the bride s favorite tune on his iPod, and he downloaded the song so the bride could dance with her father. According to the article, only 15% of the workforce meets these criteria and is qualified to handle stress. Hiring those individuals that can problem solve under pressure and asking about stressful situations is noted as a core strategy to the company business plan. Guests need to feel that whatever monies they are spending translates to a positive experience, whether it be in limited or luxury brands.
Vantage Hospitality contributes its strong and steady growth in part to Vantage Academy, which provides year long weekly training programs for their limited service properties. Training programs are being designed to teach employees how to deal successfully with “hostile guests”. In doing so, service cannot be compromised and guest feedback is paramount. The solution is easy according to one hotel training manager: “When something doesn’t happen, when something isn’t right, fix it or find someone who can.”