The Hospitality Undertow

By feature writer Alan Campbell

Mum’s the word

I just got back from a speaking engagement on the west coast. I was a guest speaker for a local association there. It was held in conjunction with some training classes that were being conducted. For most of the morning it all went well, the afternoon break afforded me some time to wander around and view the property. The hotel was a delight and well maintained in downtown San Francisco union square. I happen to be reading the events board in the lobby area, and overheard two employees discussing the faults of the hotel, and of the GM. I don’t know what brought this on, but it seemed to me that this type of behavior is unforgivable, for it speaks ill of the employees. If there is dissatisfaction with how things are done there is a place for it, certainly not in the earshot of guests. This conversation between these two went on for some time, the faults that they were talking about were described in detail. The complaints concerning the property could have been overlooked, but the derogatory complaints that they had for the fellow managers could not.

Policy for Derogatory Behaviour

I don’t know what the policy is on this type of behavior, but I guess every hotel has its own. These employees are not hotel material, they should be fired, as far as I am concerned. I know that this was not the first time they had voiced their opinion, so it was obvious that this had been going on for some time. Someone in the staff there probably is aware of what is going on. Well at least they should be. Now it got me thinking of what if this situation is alive and well in other hotels, what is the cause of this type of verbal onslaught towards a property? Has it always been there and perhaps we never paid attention to it? Did it just get passed off as an employee having a bad day? What would happen if these employees started to tell customers how bad the hotel is? This would have a dramatic impact would it not? God forbid that a customer should ask an employee “how’s your day going?” and the employee lets the customer have the gory details of his/her real day.

An Issue Which Needs More Attention?

Are we monitoring our employees and staff so that a situation like the one above does not turn into a full blown disaster? Is this scenario part of customer service training, aside from the regular be courteous to the customer? Are hoteliers addressing this issue? I make it a habit of trying to talk to employees when I am on a hotel property, so as to get a feel for the character of the hotel. I have always found that the employees speak well of their hotel and of their managers. They seem to be happy and enjoy the work that they perform. It takes a special person to be a hospitality ambassador and I applaud all of those that are in our business. To those that are misfits and are not happy with the hotel business, I can only say to you “Get out.”

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About the Author


Alan Campbell has been in Las Vegas for over 30 years and has worked for the major strip hotels. He has spent some time in California, Los Angeles where he worked for the Radisson and Sheraton hotels. Alan considers the hospitality industry the best job in the world – it is the only place that both king's and Paupers will visit you.

The Hotel Guy

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