How social are you on Social Media?

Engage and interact on social media

Engage and interact on social media

Nearly everyone has a smart phone these days and will have Facebook, Twitter LinkedIn, Google +, and / or Instagram to name just a few of the social media apps loaded on their phone. People will use these tools to interact with one another, at first it was just with friends, now it is with business associates and organisations. Although what you need to remember is that these “people” are your customers, most of whom you may never actually meet face to face.

Imagine if you will that you have just arrived at a luxury 4 star hotel, and the lobby is full of people. The reception desk stretches from one side of the lobby to the other and there are at least five terminals . As you approach the reception desk you have to join a long queue as there is only one receptionist on duty. Now as a guest that has just arrived this is hardly the welcome you would expect.This situation is also extremely frustrating when you can see quite clearly that all the hotel needs to do is have another few receptionists working and there would be no need to queue. So what would you do next? Would you look for the manager to complain about the slow service or would you take to your phone and send a tweet?

According to Jessi Hempel in an article she wrote in Wired customers will take to their phone and use twitter to log a complaint because they know it will be dealt with immediately. Social media has a far wider reaching audience and in the world of the internet you have to act immediately to resolve any issues.

I remember reading a tweet about a passenger in a train toilet and realising too late that there was no toilet roll. So they tweeted the rail company and in a couple of minutes there was a knock on the door and toilet roll was passed through to them. There was another story in the paper about a customer that got locked in a bookstore after closing time and so she took to her phone and tweeted and then to her relief some one eventually came back to the store to let her out.

Social media is a fantastic communication tool when it is used for listening and responding to your customers. So engage and interact and keep building your relationships online.

I would love to hear your stories of how you have used Social Media as a customer to engage with a business – so please do add your comments to this blog post and feel free to retweet, share, like and +1.

What makes you Unique?

The hospitality industry is extremely competitive. Almost every day you read about a new opening or a hotel that has been refurbished and is about to re-open. So what can you do to ensure that you keep ahead of your competition? What is it that will make you unique?

King sized bed in a luxury hotel room

King sized bed in a luxury hotel room

Some hotels will focus on their product – using the most expensive and exclusive furnishings. Having the most up to date technology so guests can self check in and bedrooms have motion detectors that will operate the lighting and electronics in the room. Others will focus on their service standards, ensuring that every guest is treated as an individual and their needs are met and expectations exceeded. However you cannot have one without the other:

Product + Service = Experience

What will make you unique is the experience that you create for your guests. These experiences will be individual to that guest and it is because of this – it will become a lasting memory for them.

When I worked with my clients I am sometimes described as “The Hotel Inspector” – although if you think that is what I do then you have missed the point. What I do is teach our clients to create memorable guest experiences. More information on how I do this can be found in my book “Star Quality Hospitality – The Key to a Successful Hospitality Business” which is available on Amazon and is a Best Seller. Remember to also access your free book resources that come with this.

Star Quality Hospitality Book Cover

“Star Quality Hospitality – The Key to a Successful Hospitality Business”

The vision for the Star Quality Hospitality Consultancy is ultimately to raise the profile of the hospitality industry so whichever hotel a guest chooses to stay at, or whichever restaurant they choose to dine at, they are taken on a unique customer service journey where the hospitality professionals they meet along the way create memorable experiences just for them.

One piece of advice I give to my clients is to “Expect the unexpected”, so in this particular post I have included a gift for you…. This is my small way of creating a memorable experience justs for you as a thank you for reading this post.

Click Here to claim your FREE resource gift

The Kitchen SE12 reopens

It has been ten months since I last blogged about The Kitchen SE12 back in August 2015, which was to share the sad new that it was closed down as Fire devastates The Kitchen SE12. This was caused by an electrical fault. During that time the owners have shown determination and have been working extremely hard to relaunch their business. Earlier in the new year they started work on refurbishing their premises and were almost ready to open when they were burgled. This was a set back for them, although they carried on and after a short delay I am delighted that they have re-opened today.

The Kitchen SE12

I have been following the progress of the owners of this local Bakery / Deli / Cafe and the support they have got from the local community is wonderful to see. Having spoken to Norin who runs The Kitchen SE12 I will be looking to nominate her for the Institute of Hospitality London’s Aspiring Manager Award. This is an annual award event which celebrates the successes of Hospitality Students, Aspiring Hospitality Managers and Established Hospitality Managers. If she is short listed she will receive a free place at the Awards Ceremony which is taking place at The Savoy and should she win she will receive a year’s membership to the Institute of Hospitality, the chance to coach a hospitality student, a luxury weekend break away and of course the Aspiring Manager Award itself.

How to Turn Around a Failing Business – Masterclass

At the end of last year I published my book “Star Quality Hospitality – The Key to a Successful Hospitality Business” and within five weeks of it’s launch, it became an Amazon Best Seller for Hospitality Travel and Tourism.

Star Quality Hospitality Book Cover

Since publishing my book it has been reviewed in Hospitality Magazine – the subscription magazine for members of the Institute of Hospitality. I have spoken as an Industry Expert at The Independent Hotel Show and The Hotel and Catering Show and my top tips on How to Give a First Class Welcome were featured in The Caterer. However the highlight for me so far has to be the thank you note I received from Alex Polizzi after she read her copy where she wrote: “…it is immediately apparent that you are as passionate about the hospitality industry as I continue to be. I am sure we have a great deal in common! With very best wishes, Alex Polizzi” 

ALex Polizzi Note

This week I was invited to present a Masterclass on “How to Turn Around a Failing Business” to the students at the Edge Hotel School.

Masterclass 7

The masterclass was based around the model of the key that I use in my book.

Key Model From Book

Video highlights from this are now available to view on YouTube. The first video focuses on “The Business of Hospitality” and the second video on the fact that “Customers Are Your Lifeline”. There is also a third part to this workshop although to find out what that is you will have to attend one of my masterclasses or read my book.

“Star Quality Hospitality – The Key to a Successful Hospitality Business” is available on Amazon on Kindle and in paperback.

Hotel and Catering Challenge Cup 2015

I am delighted to announce that the Institute of Hospitality London Branch have agreed to be the headline partner for the HACCC 2015 – the Hotel and Catering Challenge Cup. This is an annual event organised by Paul Gilley from CC Festivals and is great day out for all involved with hospitality.

HACCC 2015

Throughout the day there will be a friendly football tournament with 80 hospitality teams playing. There will also be an It’s a knockout style competition and a 5K run. The event is free to attend as a spectator and there is a small charge for those entering teams for the competitions. All money raised will go to a chosen hospitality charity.

For further details and information on how to enter a team can be found on the CC Festivals website.

An outline of the day:

10:00am Registration

11:00am Kickoff

11:00am Bungee Jumpers Away

11:00am Bouncy castle is up

11:00am Face painted any one?

11:30am It’s A Knockout commences

12:00pm Karaoke Kings and Queens to the stage please…

1:00pm 5K Ready Steady Go!

2:00pm The London Cheerleaders take to the pitch

3:00pm Group Stages finish

3:00pm Zumba display from Maloca

4:00pm Amanda’s Action for the little ones

5:30pm Trophy Presentations….. 6 5 4 3 2 Champions!

6:00pm Live Band on the main stage

There will be estimated 4,000 people attending this event, so book the date in your diary now:

Sunday 13th September 2015, King’s House Sports Ground, Chiswick

Top 10 Secrets to a Successful Hotel Business Revealed

A couple of weeks ago I was speaking at The Hotel and Catering Show in Bournemouth on the ‘Top 10 Secrets to a Successful Hotel Business’. If you missed it below is a quick run down to my Top 10 Secrets.

1 – Connect with the World Wide Web
2 – Know your numbers
3 – Be squeaky clean
4 – Be hospitable
5 – Set the table
6 – Put on a show
7 – Relate with your suppliers
8 – Invest in your staff
9 – Exceed your customer expectations
10 – Measure your success

The best kept secret is that the real key to a successful hospitality business is below:

Key Model From Book

You can watch a video of the presentation and the slides from my presentation are available on slideshare. If you need assistance in implementing this then contact me for a free discovery session and let me show you how to take your business further.

Make It Happen

internationalwomensday_top

International Women’s Day is on the 8th March 2015 and this year’s theme is “Make It Happen”. Throughout the world there have been events to celebrate the achievement of women and encourages effective action for advancing and recognising women.

Earlier this week I attended an event run by Women 1st who support women who aspire to senior leadership roles to fulfill their career ambitions in the hospitality, passenger transport, travel, tourism and retail sectors. 

Held at the Ham Yard Hotel there was a fabulous panel of female speakers from Firmdale Hotels:

2015-03-02 18.47.44

The discussions that flowed were hosted by Harriet Minter, editor for Guardian, Women in Leadership.

2015-03-02 18.47.13

It was a very insightful and inspirational evening hearing about the Firmdale Hotels family and how these successful women have juggled managing their careers in hospitality with family life.

I would love to hear what you have done to “Make it Happen”

Make your First Impressions count

I do a lot of work with my clients on creating a positive first impression and immediately they assume I am talking about their grooming standards and use of body language when they interact with their guests. This is all very important, and I do talk about this however I also bring to the attention of my clients that the first impression your guest gets from your hotel is before they have even met you in person.

Imagine a guest wants to stay at your hotel – the first thing they are going to do is look at your hotel website, your reviews and then give you a call. Based on what your website looks like, how your reviews read and how you answer their telephone enquiry will determine whether or not they book with you.

Trip Advisor

According to BluSky Marketing (2015) in their 9th Luxury Hotel Benchmarking Report they reveal that calling a hotel direct (59%, up from 57% last quarter) is the most popular reservation method. So how that call is handled will determine whether or not a guest books with you. When looking at your hotel website is your telephone number clearly shown on every page – a lot of hotel websites omit this or if they include it, it is hidden in the small print.

Telephone 2

Have you ever wondered how many of the calls you receive at your hotel end up being a confirmed reservation?  Are you using a professional greeting when answering the phone? How long does it take to answer your calls? Why is it that calls go unanswered? How many calls do you lose when transferring? All this information and more can be at your fingertips.

Do you want to:

– Drive repeat business

– Understand your customers better

– Identify and teach excellence

– Improve service consistency

– Identify training gaps

– Identify and resolve issues before they become problems

– Motivate and increase staff satisfaction

If you have answered ‘YES’ to any of the above then come along to the Hotel and Catering Show to find out more.

I will be presenting on ‘The Top 10 Secrets to a Successful Hotel Business’  and I will also be exhibiting at the show on both days. So come along and book a complimentary discovery session to find out how I can assist you to run an even more successful business.

hotel-and-catering-show-2015

Book Launch – ‘Star Quality Hospitality – The Key to a Successful Hospitality Business’

Last night I was delighted to hold my official book launch of ‘Star Quality Hospitality – The Key to a Successful Hospitality Business’ at 510 Below in Fulham. This is a newly opened Gin Bar which has 40 different gins and can be found downstairs from Manuka Kitchen which is in the Michelin Guide.

All set up ready for my book launch

All set up ready for my book launch

My book was published on Amazon in November 2014 and within the first five weeks of publication the kindle version of my book became an Amazon Best Seller for Hospitality, Travel and Tourism. It has been featured in ‘Hospitality’ magazine and promoted by hotcatUK – the professional network for hospitality.

My book is aimed at independent hotelier and restaurateurs who are looking to run an even more successful business. The model of the book is in the form of a key which looks at the common mistakes and problems hospitality businesses may encounter and cost effective solutions around this. It then looks at the customer base for the business taking in to account the relationship with suppliers, the importance of investing in your staff and how to exceed the expectations of your customers. This is then all brought together by looking at practical ways of how success from this can be measured.

Illustration of Key Model

Illustration of Key Model

Last night was a great success and I would to thank everyone that came along and supported me.

Monica signing her book

Monica signing her book

I would like to particularly thank Joseph and Tyler who own Manuka Kitchen and to Max, their barman who looked after us so well at 510 Below. More photos from the event can be found on the Star Quality Hospitality Consultancy Facebook page.

Need a helping hand?

Daily news newspaper headline reading changes ahead

The start of a new year and we all talk about setting New Years Resolutions – although rarely stick to them. In fact if you made any you have probably broken them already! Although in order to get ahead you need to do things differently.

The easiest way to do this is to take it one step at a time. Break down those insurmountable challenges in to smaller bite sized manageable pieces that can be tackled bit by bit.  Below is a quick guide to get you started:

1 – Take a step back from your business and look at your current situation

2 – Make a note of the areas that need to be improved upon

3 – Formulate an Action Plan of how to make the changes you need

4 – Ensure you have short term, quick wins that can be implemented immediately

5 – Look at your results and monitor your performance

When it is broken down like this it seems much more manageable. Although sometimes you are so close to your business that you cannot see what your current situation looks like. This is when it is time to ask for a helping hand.

We specialise in working with businesses that are struggling to keep up with their competition. You need assistance to be running at 100% occupancy, you have staffing issues and need more efficient and effective systems in place. If this sounds like your business then contact us for a discovery session which is without charge and we will work with you to produce optimal results which will take your business forward in to 2015.

Check out our website for more details.