Advice for the Hospitality Industry: Demonstrate Flexibility During the Labor Day Holiday

Sep 01, 2010, 10:00 ET from AchieveGlobal

TAMPA, Fla., Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- As the last big weekend of summer travel season approaches, hotels, airlines and other travel-related businesses are anxiously awaiting a strong consumer showing. While a fragile economy and rigid consumer mindset are often, and rightfully, noted as the primary industry challenges, a recent Consumer Reports survey has found another likely influence on the bottom line. The survey identified rude or unhelpful staff ranked highest in annoyances of travelers in two of the three areas when dealing with hotel, airline and rental car staff.  

One way to ensure travelers enjoy their Labor Day experience, and ultimately create positive memories that bring them back, is to enhance customer service through employee training.

"Employee training is a universal issue for businesses in the hospitality industry," said AchieveGlobal's Director of Travel, Leisure & Retail Markets K.C. Blonski. "The travel industry must take a broad view of the customer experience, one that looks beyond the tangibles. To be successful, employees, at every level of responsibility within a hospitality enterprise, need to be trained to understand the desired customer experience. They need to be appropriately trained to address operational mishaps and miscellaneous issues. The findings from the Consumer Reports survey, and recent incidents like the Jet Blue mishap, indicate this is likely being overlooked. In an already challenging environment the hospitality industry should be weary of further complicating efforts."

To overcome this industry challenge, AchieveGlobal recommends employee training programs created for companies in the hospitality industry reinforce the importance of flexibility. The ability to be flexible when presented with guest concerns or issues is a crucial step towards providing a customer experience and solution exclusive to that individual. In training programs it is vital that employees are presented with real-life and unique learning environments and challenges to help them practice and reinforce the skills necessary to provide superior service.

Training should address the "Defining Moment" or when guests have the opportunity to form an impression — positive, negative, or neutral — about an organization. The defining moment could include a number of situations: check-in, concierge, room service, etc., and training should reflect these interactions. Being flexible during these moments allows employees to deliver on the promise, embody the brand message and find a solution.

"Being flexible means focusing on the individual standing in front of you, rather than focusing on the demographic or targeted customer group the organization markets to," says Blonski. "Recognize the individual needs and react accordingly to increase satisfaction of the interaction. On a busy holiday weekend, you want to know that you're employees are ready for anything – Labor Day is not the time to find out that your staff doesn't know how to handle certain situations."    

According to a poll by Reuters/Ipsos, only 57 percent of Americans take all of their allotted vacation time. This demonstrates how important it is for staff to ensure every single interaction is a pleasant one, even in difficult situations. By recognizing individual needs, remaining flexible and treating each customer as a special and unique guest, hospitality businesses are more likely to end the summer on a high note.

About AchieveGlobal

AchieveGlobal is the world leader in providing exceptional interpersonal business skills, giving companies the workforce they need for business results. In the 21st century, the level of human skills will determine organization success. Located in more than 40 countries, AchieveGlobal offers multi-language, learning based solutions - globally, regionally and locally. For more information, see

SOURCE AchieveGlobal