The Extra (S)Mile does not come Standard
The owner of my hotel is a 75 year old woman. I´m 33. We often find ourselves disagreeing on how to handle staff matters. That is normal because the approach is drastically changing even as this is being written. The more I think about it, the more I find myself doing dual marketing in my job. On one hand, the traditional one to the prospective guests and on the other hand to the prospective and current team members to join us.
It has become the norm for individuals to „sell“ an image of themselves and their lives on social media now. So a part of selling this image is being proud of your job, not just your paycheck. If you are a member of a team within a brand that stands for something special, you are more likely to affiliate yourself with it and show it off. Then you are member of a tribe, like the marketing guru, Seth Godin, likes to call it.
A guest that likes your hotel is a member of your tribe. A collection of people who are fans of what you stand for and love to spread that love on social media, Tripadvisor and to their friends and family. It is no different for an employee. If they see themselves as mere employees with duties to tick off on a checklist, they are less likely to be invested in the job and dedicated to guest happiness. That is a pity because dedication and passion is exactly what we really need out of all employees nowadays. Anything less will be sniffed out by challenging guests.
With the prominence of Tripadvisor, you can see that guests are happy to tear down a hotel if it doesn´t meet expectations. But they are only too happy to praise people if they show a sincere effort to make them comfortable or walk the infamous extra mile for them. It is important to realise that you cannot write the extra mile or the extra smile into people´s contracts. So what do you do?
You make your team members comfortable in their job and their duties. If you can trust them to deliver sincere and honest service to your guests, you are halfway there. You also need them to realise that it doesn´t have to come from the heart 100% of the time, but it has to look like it. Having an off day is not an option. Truly dedicated professionals will put their „game face“ on, get on stage and perform their duties, even on an off day. If you are creating an atmosphere of purpose and pride for your employees, they will run through walls for you. If they feel in any way less than, that is exactly what you will get out of them.
In the coming months, I will be going through a re-definition of my hotel´s brand and what it stands for heading into new territory in Iceland. This includes making sure what is written above is not just understood by myself. And I look forward to bringing my Glion friends along for the journey. Stay tuned J