Asim H Ibrahim |
There is nothing worse than getting inconsistent service at any hotel anywhere in the world.
Over the years, I have done hundreds of “quality audits” and “mystery shops” for some of the leading hotel chains of the world. SOP’s could be the same in their look and feel of customer experience, yet staff execution and implementation of these SOPs may vary…difference is the training.
The Pakistani hospitality sector is ripe, able and ready to incorporate a “service culture” across the sector.
Value Proposition of training – A balanced scored card
- Guest Satisfaction
- Employee Retention
- Better Profits
Hospitality Training Return on Investment
Return on investment (ROI) from training and development of employees is no secret, particularly in hospitality. A better-trained staff runs better businesses, and guests become loyal repeat customers.
To calculate the ROI of hospitality training, we must consider Key Performance Indicators:
- training is an investment, not a cost
- hospitality businesses don’t do regular staff trainings due to costs limitations
- training actually is a revenue generator
- training helps with employee retention
- Room Reservation Example: by using the guest’s name during the conversation, being courteous and knowledgeable about hotel information, answering any guests questions, increases the likelihood of booking by 2.5 times
Employee Training and Satisfaction
The hospitality industry has one of the highest turnover rates at over 75 % annually (Bureau of Labour Statistics), investing in staff training is must anywhere in the world, particularly in Pakistan. Millennials value training and career development as key drivers in deciding where to work. 64% of the total Pakistani population is below the age of 30.
Training is essential to any hotel operation. However, it is an exhaustive pursuit, both in terms of time and money spent to train new employees
Development programs can reduce staff turnover by 65% within their competitive set. Trained employees show increased satisfaction levels, feel appreciated, have better internal relationships, feel challenged and are more engaged in their jobs.
Employee Development and Performance
Hotel customers can sense whenever a hotel’s staff is well trained. Trained staff significantly delivers better service, is focused on giving little extra to please the guests and make loyal repeat customers.
Lakeshore Hospitality Group (LHG) has participated in several customer service exercises with hotel groups to demonstrate that well-trained staff increases revenues, guest satisfaction levels, and drives repeat business and loyalty.
Effective Training Strategy
An increased focus on customer experience is fundamental to an effective employee training. Such training initiatives are likely to result in qualitative improvements in service delivery. An ideal training initiative that can truly turn hotel operations around is founded on a relevant, comprehensive, service quality focus.
Testing your hotel operations against performance standards would entail measurement of:
- Compliance: Consistent execution of established service standards
- Time & Motion: Is every process being executed in a timely fashion to meet the current business volume
- YoY performance: How customer satisfaction scores have changed over time
Training a solution to staffing issues
Training is essential to any hotel operation. However, it is an exhaustive pursuit, both in terms of time and money spent to train new employees. The new norm in today’s hospitality world is a training program that is active, ongoing regularly and is embedded as continuing education. This approach could be a game-changer for Pakistan’s hospitality sector, which has recently seen more sophisticated travelers, expecting customer service, clean bathrooms, improved housekeeping standards, and good quality food.
Pakistan’s Hospitality and Tourism industry is undergoing a massive change. The government should focus on and exert efforts to recognize the hospitality sector as a major industry. More hotels are being developed to take advantage of the growing travel market. More travelers are visiting breathtaking and beautiful northern areas. Domestic tourism is on an all-time high, with no signs of slowing down.
To improve and become competitive in the global market, hotel owners and operators must invest in staff training now. In my decades of hospitality experience, one thing has stayed the same over the years. Service remains the number one ingredient of a successful hotel operation, and training helps deliver better service. Successful hotels consistently deliver great service.
Asim Ibrahim is CEO of Lakeshore Hospitality Group and a senior Corporate Executive encompassing over three decades of international experience in US, Canada, Europe, and Asia Pacific in operations, institutional, and administrative management. Dedicated to excellence in customer experience and revenue generation with focus on tourism and hospitality sectors. Views in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect GVS policy