16
Mar
2017
Creating meaningful emotional connections in your business
should not be considered “warm and fuzzy”! It actually has significant impact on the bottom line

As the global hospitality industry is becoming more and more competitive, here in Malta we also compete with established and upcoming destinations. Those businesses who can deliver unparalleled customer experience, consistently will be the ones which will see the difference in the bottom line, even with higher rates being charged per room night.

It is true that achieving this type of consistency in service quality, day in day out doesn’t just happen. Investment is training and employee development is key. The question we are faced with many a time is, is this investment worthwhile when employee turnover in the hospitality industry is so high? Many in the hospitality industry today speak about recruitment issues as it has become so difficult to source good employees and employees who will stay for longer than a season. Nevertheless, the reality is that if this situation will not change, businesses will not only forgo higher revenues, but they will continue to leak money as high staff turnover means added cost – cost to train,  to recruit as well as the costs incurred as a result of delivering poor customer experiences. Many operators don’t consider the somewhat hidden costs of poor employee engagement. Employee engagement in reality should be central to their growth strategies in order to achieve improved results both from a cost and revenue generation perspective. This could turn out to be an expensive oversight.

Employees join companies and leave managers.” Strong leadership breeds employee engagement and affiliation, such that a 5% increase in customer loyalty drives profit by 25%.” … (source - The Service-Profit Chain.)

With the above insight in mind, why not re-work your business` growth strategy for the coming years? Your business need not continue to be a constantly revolving door of new employees. Put time and effort into thinking about ways to strengthen your internal culture and be the employer of choice for the hospitality industry. It is essential that your people feel involved in the success of the business. The right approach would be to start with the engagement of your internal customers – your staff members - before the happiness of your external customer. The latter will happen as a consequence.

  • Engaged Employees lead to…
  • Higher service, quality, and productivity, which leads to…
  • Higher customer satisfaction, which leads to…
  • Increased sales (repeat business and referrals), which leads to…
  • Higher levels of profit, which leads to…
  • Higher shareholder returns (i.e., stock price)
  • Companies that foster engaged brand ambassadors in their workforce report an average of 2.69 sick days taken annually per employee, compared to companies with weak engagement efforts, reporting an average of 6.19 sick days. (Source: Workplace Research Foundation)

How do you create a strong hospitality service culture and an engaged workforce? 

It isn’t easy and takes discipline and commitment from business owners and leaders. You have heard the phrase – Walk the Talk! Well it all starts there if you want your team to feel engaged and committed to making your customers happy and wanting to spend more in your establishment either through returning and becoming a loyal fan or by staying longer and taking that extra glass of wine. Think of your staff member’s actions towards your customers as a reflection of how they are feeling or how the environment they are working in enables them to deliver the best possible customer experience. 

An engaged employee does not necessarily just mean a happy employee. The more a person feels a part of what is happening around him or her the more they will take personal responsibility to make things right each and every time they connect with your customer. When building a successful brand we consider the strength of the emotional connections that are established between the brand and the customer. The stronger that connection, the greater the loyalty – the greater the loyalty the greater the possibility that your establishment will be highly recommended and with online recommendation sites such as TripAdvisor and Bookings.com etc. this is critical to the future success of your business.

Think about the health of your internal hospitality service culture and how engaged your team members are when developing your strategy and plans for the coming year – and remember that the words “emotional” and “engaged” when it comes to hospitality service culture are no longer the “warm and fuzzy” part of our business but the ones that will result in its future success.

In conclusion: Employee engagement is a cost effective way to help drive revenue, loyalty and support from your guests, because wowing them with your hotel décor, fancy wine and dishes, and trendy spa treatments is no longer enough.

Drop us a line on robyn.pratt@impact-consult.org if you would like to enquire about our Hotel Consulting services.

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