Customer Satisfaction in the Hospitality Industry

Summary

There is no need to elaborate on the fact that there is “a close interrelationship between the employees and the satisfaction of customers” (Adamson, Chan, & Handford, 2003, p.347). This is even more evident in the hotel industry. Thus, it must be made clear that employees of a hotel are the most important asset of the hotel. In this article key issues were discussed with regards to how managers are dealing with employment problems. One of the major concerns is how to recruit the right personnel. The pressure, therefore, rests on the human resource department of the hotel because HRM is like a filter that will sift through the number of applicants, and by doing so the managers will be able to choose the right employee for the task at hand.

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Recruitment processes and strategies must be enhanced to adapt to a changing world (Buttle, 2004, p.9). HRM leaders must be able to use techniques learned in the past to determine that a particular applicant possesses the right characteristics that are suited for the hotel industry. Hotel managers must be aware of these issues to develop a system of recruitment that will in turn assure the reduction of employee turnover.

In this regard, hotel managers must always be at the forefront when it comes to providing the necessary training for their employees. However, this is easier said than done. Before anything else can be achieved training needs must first be identified. In other words, managers will have to determine the problems first and then design a system to deal with that particular problem. After designing a training methodology it is also important to develop a system that will help in gauging the outcome of the said training strategy. Aside from the goal of improving skills the necessity of designing the correct training method is also linked to cost-efficiency because training is very costly.

In peak season there is a great degree of temptation to choose whoever goes through the door and applies. It is difficult to resist this urge especially during times when there is a serious shortage in the workforce. But hotel managers must learn to think in the long-term. A short-term solution can easily damage the reputation of the hotel because mediocrity begins with hiring the wrong people. It is impossible to expect the best from someone who does not have a clear understanding of the hotel industry and just wanted to get paid for doing a less than excellent job.

This article also dealt with the issue of motivation. It is a working requirement for the employment industry. It is not enough to simply choose the right employees. At the same time, it is no longer enough to simply provide training and expect the employees to work at the highest levels. There is also a need to motivate the employees so that they will continue to strive for a higher standard of service excellence (Moynihan & Pandey, 2007, p.803). It is therefore important to maintain a system of monitoring to determine the performance of the employees. The moment that a noticeable drop in performance is evident, managers must work to bring it to appropriate levels. A proven method to motivate employees must be identified and modified so that it will meet changes in the industry but at the same time help inspire hotel staff to become the best that they could be (Boella & Goss-Turner, 2005, p.42).

The need to motivate employees is imperative in every form of business but more so in the hotel industry because of the seasonal nature of the business. This simply means that there are days when a hotel is one hundred percent occupied and there are days when the hotel is almost empty. The sudden influx of guests can create a great degree of stress and it is the time when workers are expected to be at their best. On the other hand in the lean season when there are only a few guests staying in the hotel complacency can set in and the standard of service can be negatively affected. It is part of the job of the hotel managers to make sure that the quality of service is maintained throughout the year.

Motivation must start at the very beginning of the recruitment process. Hotel managers must make the job an attractive one for applicants. The applicants must see that they will have a future in the hotel industry if they continue to make themselves teachable and willing to go through a learning process to acquire new skills. Hotel managers must develop a compensation package that is competitive and can provide satisfaction for the hotel staff.

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There is also a need to understand the difference in perception and expectations of full-time employees and part-time employees. It has been pointed out in the article that part-time employees do not possess the same level of commitment as those who are in full-time employment. As a result, the quality of their work suffers. Moreover, part-time employees can easily leave and find another job. This is a very impractical system and one that is not cost-efficient because the organization will always have to spend money to train workers and every time a worker leaves then the cost of training is not yet recouped dealing a major blow to the profitability of the enterprise.

If you were the manager of a large international hotel what impact would you anticipate in the way you refer to your staff?

A hotel manager has a full schedule daily. A hotel is open 24 hours a day seven days a week. The busy schedule can therefore become a convenient excuse to focus on the task at hand and ignore the people that are an integral part of the hotel industry. A hotel manager can be rude, disrespectful, and demanding and make employees feel that they are not important in the great scheme of things.

A hotel manager must realize that there are many pitfalls when it comes to managing a hotel and it is not uncommon to hear of an old company suddenly on the auction block because it is no longer viable to operate the business (Dowling & Uncles, 1997, p.14). Many factors contribute to the downward spiral of a hotel. But one of the most important is the failure of managers to realize that the profitability of the company is determined by the ability of the company’s leadership to effectively manage personnel and resources to sustain the profitable run of the company (Gamble et al., 2006, p.9).

It is important to be conscious of how a manager refers to an employee because it is one way to motivate the said worker (Gummesson, 2002, p.12). According to one definition of motivation, it is goal-directed behavior and characterized by the process of selecting and directing certain actions among voluntary activities to achieve goals (Hougaard & Bjerre, 2004, p.13). This means that when it comes to voluntary activities such as the attempt to please a customer, this action requires the motivation to be accomplished. It can therefore be argued that since these activities are voluntary it requires conscious thinking (McClelland, 1987, p.3). In this regard, an employee will not go out of his way to please a customer if this behavior was not instilled in him or her.

Motivation is not a byproduct of the unconscious, it is the result of knowledge, experience, or skills that were already a part of the person before he or she performed a particular voluntary action (Brock & Green, 2005, p.9). Information plays a key role in motivation (Kruglanski, 1990, p.10). There are even those who argue that motivation is not a solitary element of human behavior but a part of a whole, the fusion of elements that includes: inclination; awareness; and ability (Ritchhart & Perkins, 2002, p.5). It is therefore crucial for a hotel manager to show the way. Mangers can begin with the simple process of learning how they refer to their employees (Jain & Dhar, 2002, p.5). If they consider part of the team and that they are members of one unit then the employees will appreciate the manager’s actions and the in turn will be motivated to give their best.

You are running a hotel and you want your staff to work only five days a week, what are the issues that you need to deal with?

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Three key issues have to be dealt with in connection with the decision to reduce the work week to just five days and these are job rotation, part-time employment; and work week. There is a good reason why a hotel manager would like to reduce the workweek to just five days. This is one way to attract quality employees. This is because many are wary of applying to the hotel industry because of the perception that hotels require their staff and employees to work on Saturdays and in many instances up to Sunday. This is not an acceptable proposal for highly qualified workers that have the luxury of choosing what type of industry they want to be a part of.

By reducing the workweek to a mere five days then it is easier to attract men and women under the age of 30 that possess the right qualifications and high-energy level needed in the hotel industry. As a result, there is a need to look into the issue of part-time employment. A hotel manager can solve the problem by retaining key employees to work full-time and the rest of the time part-time employees will carry the burden of maintaining a hotel 24 hours a day. There must be an aggressive recruitment campaign and the target must be college students seeking part-time work. It is therefore important to train them at the most cost-efficient rate, meaning that the training is enough to meet the basic requirements. Thus, it is important to have an experienced employee watching over part-time employees. In this way, the company will have a balanced workforce because the veterans serve as a steady influence on the new workers.

Once everything is in place the next major issue that has to be tackled has to do with job rotation. An employee must learn to handle different types of jobs within the hotel industry. This is a good way to train future managers and supervisors. The only problem is that employees may find a particular job boring and may not look forward to job rotation. But this is a strategy that has to be studied closely if the workweek has to be reduced and increase the number of employees working in a particular hotel.

It is also important to manage work schedules. The reduction of the workweek will entail increasing the number of employees and therefore there is a chance of overlapping duties and responsibilities. It is therefore imperative for a manager to look closely at the work schedules to determine if there is an overlap and in the case of overlapping a system is in place to sort out conflict in schedules.

If you were the general manager of a large hotel where you having difficulty recruiting employees… you were considering recruiting from another country, what issues would you anticipate would influence your decision?

There are secondary issues as well as primary issues when it comes to hiring foreigners. The secondary issues are linked to immigration laws and the rules governing the hiring of migrant workers. But when everything is all sorted out there remains one primary issue with regards to the hiring of foreigners and it is related to the inevitable creation of multicultural teams (Adler & Gundersen, 2008, p.4). This simply means that the workforce is no longer composed of people sharing the same language and culture but individuals bringing with them different ideas and mindsets with regards to dealing with superiors, colleagues, and even the guests at the hotel (Earley & Singh, 2000, p.10).

It is therefore important for the manager to lead the way when it comes to understanding differences in culture and the need to effectively manage multicultural teams (Hogan, 2007, p.81). There must be a program that teaches top managers how to deal with diversity within the organization (Guilherme & Glaser, 2010, p.6). The said should equip the manager to prepare him or her in the challenges and possible conflict that will arise when it comes to multicultural teams (Hall & Hall, 1990, p.3). A manager must learn to respect, appreciate, and manage diversity (Moran & Harris, 2007, p.7). They must come to realize that culture is: a) the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes one human group from another; b) important sets of assumptions that are shared by members of a community; and c) a group’s characteristic way of perceiving the environment” (Earley & Singh, 2000, p.18). These are the things that a manager cannot afford to ignore.

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A manager must also come to realize that technical expertise is just part of the process; the manager must learn how to manage cultural differences (Schuler & Jackson, 2007, p.15). In this regard, a manager must come to understand the fact that “Culture gives people a sense of who they are, of belonging, of how they should behave, and of what they should be doing, culture impacts behavior, morale, and productivity at work, and includes values and patterns that influence company attitudes and actions” (Moran & Harris, 2007, p.6). Thus, a manager will be able to leverage the advantages of hiring foreigners but lessen the negative impact of cultural differences and the conflict that will arise due to misunderstandings and other problems related to language barriers and differences in expectations.

References

Adamson, I., Chan, K. & Handford, D. (2003). Relationship marketing: customer commitment and trust as a strategy for the smaller Hong Kong corporate banking sector. International Journal of Bank Marketing. 21(6), 347-358.

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Gamble, P. et al. (2006). Up Close and Personal. UK: Kogan Page.

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Hall, Edward T., and Hall, M. (1990). Understanding Cultural Differences: Germans, French and Americans. Yarmouth, ME: Inter-cultural Press.

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Kruglanski, A. (1990). Motivations for Judging and Knowing Implications for Causal Attribution. In R. Sorrentino & E. Tory (Eds.). Handbook of Motivation and Cognition (pp. 10-18). New York: Guilford Publications.

McClelland, D. (1987). Human Motivation. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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Moynihan, D. & S. Pandey. (2007). Finding Workable Levers Over Work Motivation: Comparing Satisfaction, Job Involvement, and Organizational Commitment. Administration and Society, 39(7), 803-832.

Ritchhart, R. & D. Perkins. (2002). Intellectual Character. CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Schuler, R., and Jackson, S. E. (2007). Strategic Human Resource Management. 2nd ed. MA: Blackwell Publishing.

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