Glion Online MBA alumnus talks about personalized service
Glion alumnus Marc Reissinger is the Area General Manager of the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) Resorts in Port Ghalib, of which InterContinental The Palace Port Ghalib resort won the “Zoover Highly Recommended” service excellence award for 2014. In this interview, Reissinger explains how the Glion Online MBA program has sharpened his leadership skills and how he inspires his teams to provide personalized service that meets the standards of the IHG brand and surpasses the expectations of their guests.
The Zoover awards were created in order to give recognition to the best rated accommodations in popular destinations worldwide. The outstanding ratings that were accomplished by InterContinental Hotels Group resorts in Port Ghalib were based on guests’ reviews that were sent and shared by guests on the Zoover holiday review website.
1. Why do you think the IHG Port Ghalib resorts were awarded for service excellence?
As with most major hospitality companies these days, IHG is closely engaged with guest review websites, such as Trip Advisor, Holiday Check and Zoover. We are aware that travellers are using both social media and these review sites in tandem to find and evaluate possible holiday destinations. More specifically, we know that 20-30% of the clients at InterContinental The Palace Port Ghalib are from the Benelux countries and Zoover is a Dutch website, so it’s not surprising that this esteemed award has come from a website that is frequented by significant percentage of our client base.
In terms of service excellence, at IHG, we aim to deliver the same quality of service to all clients, to meet guest expectations, and exceed them on a daily basis. In our area, we focus daily on standards and we aim to engage team members to make sure they uphold our high standards. From each colleague, we need commitment. We do a lot of training to make our collaborators extremely effective. We have Guest Relations that are running all day, talking to clients, so there is a permanent interconnection. On top of that, we try to have Guest Relations that speak many languages to speak with clients in their language.
2. As area manager how do you contribute to maintaining the level of service at these resorts?
Within IHG, we just had an international convention in Singapore about the role of leaders to inspire. One of the key assignments I have is to inspire my team leaders. Not to direct them, but to discuss global tasks and motivate and inspire them. We have a daily briefing and the majority is about inspiration. We discuss their tasks. It’s a daily meeting of 4 hotels with 25 members around a round table. It’s an interesting meeting, sometimes it can be tough and require solid reactivity, but it’s about participation and being pro-active, instead of reactive. Amazingly, these meetings usually only last an average of 30-45 minutes, it’s about intensity and quality.
3. IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) commissioned a Trends Study which highlighted many interesting findings about travellers reshaping their expectations of global hotel brands. Do you have any insight into what this means for your resorts specifically?
Brand standards are essential, and must be delivered daily. In general, it’s all about personalized service, going above expectations. By upholding the brand standards of quality service, of meeting and exceeding every customer’s expectations, we have already reached the personalized service level. We aim to answer all of their requests, and we tailor our services to meet the needs of every traveller. Whatever they need in terms of food or transportation, we do our best to deliver it. The same holds true for parties, anniversaries, and other events.
The goal of personalized services is to make the client feel looked-after and to encourage their loyalty. For example, for our clients who return regularly, we consider them as VIP guests and we organize a private breakfast for them in the presidential suites. They really appreciate this special treatment, and we have many loyal customers who return year after year.
4. You changed positions when you started the Online MBA, why is that?
I worked with Accor for 26 years and when I had the opportunity to change companies, and work for IHG, I took it as an ideal opportunity to study online and start in a new company. Starting the MBA was my own initiative, because there was the opportunity to do it. After 25 years as a manager, I wanted to validate the ways I was working.
The Glion Online MBA has changed my way of working because I systematically do research for everything now. It was quite a great experience to study the MBA. When you already have a lot of experience, the MBA is an eye-opener. You may be convinced sometimes about a lot of things in your work, but the MBA brings you back to the facts. It teaches you a way of systematic thinking about research and data. You find new methods, visions, and it changes the way you work. I shared this course with some people who had less experience, and they still contributed a lot. Especially in discussion topics, which is an essential part of the course where we discuss topics in the classroom. We also learned a lot about generation differences. For example, the difference between my generation of baby boomers and the expectations and career aspirations of generation X, and even more for the Gen Y and eventually Z.
© Photo credit: InterContinental Hotels & Resorts