Monday, February 28, 2011

Beware of Cheerleaders

Have you ever worked with a cheerleader? 

They’re very clever, and if you can’t bring them back to reality, they can be very difficult to get rid of, because everyone loves them, and if they’re really clever, they can deflect all of their shortcomings on to their immediate manager or general manager, so no one necessarily realizes that they are a cheerleader.

Cheerleaders hide their inadequacies by being overwhelmingly positive.  Staff initially love them because they are so friendly, so positive, and they appear to be so supportive of staff issues and/or concerns.

Unfortunately, they cannot deliver the bad news, they cannot hold people accountable, and as a result they are ineffective as managers or leaders, and they get almost nothing done, or at least nothing of any substance.

Sometimes the staff will figure things out, given enough time, and, depending on the team dynamics of the rest of the leadership team.  They will come to see that this person is indeed very positive, empathetic, etc., but the same issues have been raised repeatedly and nothing has changed, nothing is being done to resolve the problem.

I’ve worked with two cheerleaders in my career and in both cases I spent a disproportionate amount of time managing these two people, each of which were division heads within their respective hotels.  They never got things done on time, and they were always ready with a series of excuses and reasons to validate why they could not accomplish what everyone else on the team could.

And because, as I said earlier, they are incapable of delivering the bad news or providing constructive criticism or discipline, I had to repeatedly follow up on issues that would arise with their staff members, which they in turn would fail to follow up on, repeatedly, again offering reasons why it “wasn’t the right time” or other excuses, to the point where I had to get directly involved, or, insist that HR get involved to “help” these senior managers to have what should have been a simple conversation with a staff member or manager who was not performing to an appropriate level.

Another symptom of the cheerleader is that everyone who reports to them has a perfect performance review – there is nothing that his or her team members need to improve upon, they are all 10 out of 10, and as I already referenced, often, when someone else needs to step in to bring a little reality to the situation, they are seen as the devil, because of course, until they came along, everything was perfect.

Ironically, the cheerleaders see nothing wrong in their behavior or their tactics.  When confronted with the observation that their department is in fact performing increasingly poorly, as a result of poor performers being tolerated and star performers becoming increasingly disillusioned because sub-performers are not being dealt with, and they can see the decline in standards and service, the move towards managing to the lowest common denominator, and they want no part of it, the cheerleader is perplexed and in a state of denial.  How can this be?

Things are great, until they’re not, so don’t be fooled by the cheerleader.  Not to suggest that every manager who gets along with their staff is a cheerleader, hardly, but it’s about balance, so watch for the signs and make sure that the members of your leadership team possess the necessary skill-set to provide balanced leadership to their teams.

There’s a reason cheerleaders are often found on the side lines, instead of “in the game.”  They are fun and entertaining, but do they influence the outcome of the game?  I think not. 

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Leadership Team Dynamics

We strive, as leaders, to surround ourselves with the right people – people who challenge us to be our best, people that we can equally challenge to be their best, and when it all comes together in perfect harmony, we have a great leadership team – a team that can consistently achieve exceptional results.

If I was to ask 100 people what they think makes for a strong and successful team, I would likely get 100 different responses, with some common themes or overlap in some instances, but it is safe to say, everyone has their own opinion, which I would suggest is largely based on their individual personality traits and the kinds of people that they enjoy working with.  Fair enough.

While I would not try to prescribe the “right” team dynamics that should be present in every leadership team, I would like to suggest two things worthy of your consideration in this regard.

First, make the effort to actually know what the various traits or attributes are that each of your leadership team members possesses, and then share them openly with each other for the benefit of the team.  Whether it’s Myers Briggs, establishing your “colours,” or other similar “tests” that you and your team members can cost-effectively take to establish what makes you and them tick, it is a worthwhile exercise in my opinion.   

Understanding the kind of person that you are, the kind of people that you like to work with, what motivates you and what motivates your team members, and ultimately your teams’ dynamics, is access to creating a high performing team.

Sharing these results, recognizing and celebrating the differences among your team members – who excels in a particular area, and who does not, can create a powerful format for creating prolonged successful results.  When team members come to realize that they are not expected to be experts in everything, and that they can rely on their team members to offset their shortcomings in certain areas, as they can count equally on them in areas where they may be lacking, amazing things are possible, driven by the strength and the vulnerability of the team.  

Second, a certain amount of conflict is good.

I have come into situations before and asked the question; “how does everyone on the leadership team get along?”  And when someone tells me as a result that everyone always gets along famously, no disagreements, no debates or arguments, my radar goes off.  Not that I think that the leadership team should be at each other’s throats, but I do think that if the team is too worried about getting along, too worried about rocking the boat or offending a team member by challenging an idea or an observation, then that team is limited in their ability to maximize on their effectiveness as a team.

As it often is in our business, it’s about balance.  It’s about being comfortable to respectfully challenge the GM when he presents a new idea, and vice versa.  It’s about creating the best outcomes possible, by openly looking at things from all sides and embracing the differences in our team members, which is likely why we hired them in the first place.  It’s about openly recognizing that we are better, more effective, more unified, when we work as a team with a common goal or objective in mind.

However, there must also be agreement in this open environment that while there is an opportunity for everyone to have an opinion on the subject, and while everyone may not be in agreement, once the decision is made, everyone on the team must leave their differences in that room and put on a unified front.  It is imperative that the team is seen to be unified in their commitment to each other, and to the principles and values that are the very foundation of the property.  Unconditional support.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Sorry, I Couldn't be Bothered to Shave Today

What else am I supposed to think when I walk into a business and run into a staff member, or worse, a manager, who is sprouting a two day growth on his face?

I can’t wait for the trend of men not shaving and not wearing neck ties in business settings to end.

I’m tired of walking into various businesses and seeing people who look like they might just as well have just rolled out of bed moments before their shift started standing behind the counter waiting to serve customers.

And I love my Son, but he is currently one of “them.”  Granted, he works in a major electronics store, which arguably is trying to appear cool and trendy, and appeal to the younger, cooler, trendier people who have an insatiable appetite for the latest technology, and are willing to spend the necessary cash to get the latest toys.  Understandably, they want to purchase from people who look like they do.  I get that, but nonetheless, I have seen my Son when he is just finishing up a shift, wearing his wrinkled clothes, his pants down around his ankles, his multiple tattoos exposed, his hair a mess and two days growth on his face, and I’ve asked him; “Your manager is okay that you look like this?”  “Oh yeah, it’s all good” he tells me, and I shake my head in disbelief.

There’s a new BMO bank that just opened in my neighbourhood, and they too are trying to make their mark.  They are open longer hours, into the evening, and they are also open on Saturdays and Sundays.  Nice, and convenient, no argument from me, from they are the embodiment of what I am whining about at this precise moment.  Everyone that I have seen that works in this bank is younger, attractive, and dressed in the latest fashions – it’s like the “W” of banks.  Okay, good so far.  However, I have also noticed that the men who work in this bank regularly do not shave, opting instead for the rugged look, and it is here that I have a problem.  I don’t think it looks professional when the bank manager looks like he couldn’t have been bothered to shave this morning, using the extra time for another cup of coffee before he left for work instead – not cool.

In hotels, I will confess that I haven’t seen much of the unshaven look in my travels, although I have seen it.  What has been more prevalent is the trend of “dressing down” with managers not necessarily wearing suits where we might have traditionally seen them in the past, or, not wearing neck ties with their suits, in an attempt to up their cool factor, and I’m sure there are people who do like it, I’m just not one of them.  If I’m paying in excess of $200.00 - $500.00 a night at a leading hotel, I want to see professionalism, everywhere I look, including in the attire of the staff and managers at the hotel.

When I was overseeing a Renaissance hotel for an owner a couple of years ago now, I started to notice that the general manager, and subsequently his department heads, was frequently not wearing a tie when I popped into the hotel, and he was also wearing a lot more trendy colours, and when I asked him what was going on, he told me that Renaissance was in the process of updating their brand image, and in so doing, adopting a more business casual approach to dress for the management – in short, they were trying to be more “W” in their new image.

No disrespect meant to this particular GM, because he did look good, but I still felt that he did not look as professional as he would if he chose to dress exactly the same, but add a coordinating neck tie to finish things off.  This is business and at the heart of business is professionalism, and while I would agree that there are plenty of people who look professional but certainly are not, I still also believe in first impressions, and to make the most of that first impression, let’s make the effort to dress up a little.

It reminds me a little bit of how annoyed I get every time I see Larry King dressing like he’s 20 years old.  Come on Larry, the time has long since passed when you can pull off wearing a pair of baggy jeans, a tie dyed t-shirt and a pair of skater shoes.  It just screams of “trying too hard to look cool.”  If you’re not careful, you’re going to trip on the laces of your cool shoes, fall and break a hip.

As for the rest of us, let’s agree to make the effort to dress professionally and represent our industry as the example of what to wear to make the right impression and to demonstrate our commitment to the highest level of professionalism.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cleanliness – Is There Anything More Important?

Cleanliness, directly, or indirectly, comes up every day in our business, and it’s not surprising.  Is there anything more fundamentally important to our guests than cleanliness?

In my recent post; “Hotel Fundamentals . . . Since the Beginning of Time,” it didn’t make the list, as I chose to speak about the key components that I believe that everyone is looking for in a hotel experience, but in hindsight, it would be fair to say that I missed an underpinning value, or assumption on the part of the client, that you could argue is on the top of the list of requirements or expectations of our guests – all of our guests.

Look at how much coverage the recent top 10 dirtiest hotels in America list, as identified by Trip Advisor, has seen in the last few weeks, since it was first publicized, and of course the topic of bed bugs seems to come up again and again, just when it seems to be fading to the background.

It is somewhat unfortunate, and unfair, that some hotels that have found themselves at the source of bed bug stories have been labelled as “unclean” as a result, especially when you consider that the issue of bed bugs is completely out of the hands of the hotelier, and NOT necessarily a factor of their commitment to cleanliness.  You can have the cleanest hotel in the world one moment, and be seen as “unclean” moments later, based on some unsuspecting guest having brought bed bugs into your hotel, riding in their luggage.

That said, hotels can and must at this point, have a detailed and extensive inspection program in place to compliment their commitment to cleanliness.

And it’s not enough to have clean guest rooms and public spaces if the back, or heart of the house, is not of equal importance to you, when it comes to the topic of cleanliness.

I can still remember, many years ago when I was working as a department manager within a hotel, when my General Manager had a conversation with me about cleanliness that has stuck with me for the rest of my career.

I found myself at a property where there had been a consider lack of funds injected into the property for some time, and when money was made available to address any shortcomings, the emphasis was always on the front of the house, areas where the guests would access and could easily see if things were unclean and/or in a state of disrepair.  As a result, the team at the hotel had become somewhat resigned to the fact that the heart of the house did not reflect the same level of the commitment to cleanliness as did the front of the house. 

It was shortly after the new General Manager arrived and I was touring him around the property that he shared his simple but profound philosophy with me on the subject of cleanliness and the importance of an equal emphasis on cleanliness or the front AND heart of the house.

How, he asked me, can we expect the employees to feel proud of what they do if we are not equally proud of our surroundings?  How, can we expect the employees to believe in our commitment to cleanliness, (on behalf of our guests), when our commitment is not evident within our own areas and in how they are treated?  We cannot expect our employees to flip a switch whenever they cross from the heart of the house to the front of the house and suddenly start to care about cleanliness, simply as a result of having crossed that threshold.

We met regularly after that as we crafted a plan to address every area of the heart of the house and raise the standard of cleanliness with the intent of achieving a level of cleanliness that rivalled a hospital corridor, and once achieved, to maintain that level of cleanliness, all on a cost-effective basis.

It was one of the projects that I am most proud of in my career, as we worked to raise the standards for our employees, and, as I saw the definitive difference in the attitude of our employees as they saw that we clearly valued them, and in so doing, were committed to providing them with a work environment that reflected that value and commitment. 

You could feel the level of pride and engagement rising up, and our guest service scores reflected that pride and steadily rose as well, as did our revenue stream.  It was one the earliest and most memorable demonstrations that I witnessed of the positive impact of treating your employees with a level of respect and value that you would readily provide to your guests, and seeing the positive results that follow when that becomes a commitment within your organization.

The other thing that I would have to credit this General Manager for teaching me along the way was the ability to get a lot done with a little money, depending on how you get things done, and that a shortage of funds does not necessarily need to dictate your surroundings.  He was very creative about ways to make an impact that our employees could see and value that didn’t necessarily costs a lot, but they produced results far in excess of what little they did cost. 

Not surprisingly, he went on to greater leadership roles within that company and helped to raise the level of standards throughout the company as a result.

Is your hotel as clean as it should be, in both the front AND heart of the house?

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Vandalism - Who Can Understand It?

When I was about 18 years old, I spent the better part of a year building a 1965 Chevelle SS to the point where it would draw attention whenever I drove it, or parked it somewhere.  Black with a white interior and lots of bells and whistles under the hood.  It doesn’t compare to the hot rods that they build today, but to me, it was something special, and I can still remember how I felt the first time that I returned to my car after having carefully parked it on the street for a few hours, to find that someone had run a key all the way down one side of the car.

Why?  How could someone possibly benefit from this action?  (With the exception of the paint shop that touched that car up for me on more than one occasion).

I didn’t understand it then, and I don’t understand it any better now.

Fast forward to today – I’m out for my usual morning run, which takes me through my neighbourhood and past a new little shopping plaza with about a dozen little shops in it that opened about 6 months ago now.  In an effort to make the little plaza more inviting and attractive, the owner has installed a few park benches so people can stop and rest for a moment, and they also have about 10 large decorative ceramic plant pots along the exterior walkway, with a nice selection of seasonal plants in them – well, not anymore.  

Today when I ran by the little plaza there were only remnants of plants and plant pots, as the plant pots had been smashed into a hundred pieces, with dirt and rocks and plants and assorted pieces of the plant pots scattered for 2 blocks.  Why?

After my initial shock and disappointment, I found myself wondering as I continued my run, what would be going through the owner’s head, when he discovered what had happened.  Clearly, they could have avoided this problem if they had left the exterior walkway a barren landscape of concrete, but they chose to make the effort, at considerable expense no doubt, to try to enhance the area, to contribute to the neighbourhood.

I will be interested to see, in the coming days, whether or not the owner decides to replace the plants and decorative plant pots again, now that they know what could happen.  It’s a shame and at least to some degree it answers the question of who benefits from vandalism – no one, we all lose.

It’s also why I have always made it crystal clear to all of my employees that I will not tolerate vandalism in my hotels.  It is unacceptable.

Vandalism in hotels demonstrates a lack of respect for the owner, for the brand, for the hotel itself, and perhaps worst of all, a lack of respect to fellow employees.

I had the unfortunate circumstance once to be faced with a situation where we had an employee who was smearing human feces on the walls in the men’s employee change room.  Other employees were appalled and wanted this vandal caught as badly as I did.  They were as disgusted as I was and felt as I did, that this person had no business in our hotel, no business being a member of our “team” if he could behave this way.  Perhaps most upset was the night cleaner who came upon this situation on several occasions before the person was caught, which he was.

It took about a week to narrow things down to determine when this was happening, who was on shift at the time on the various days when it occurred, and then, once we knew that, we started scanning the security camera footage for the dates and times when we believed it had happened to see who was coming and going from the men’s change room during those times.

That was the ironic thing, for our employees’ safety, we had cameras in the back corridor leading to and from the staff change rooms, in order to ensure that no one got in from the street, etc., got down that hallway, and possibly entered one of our staff change rooms, and everyone knew we had cameras in that hallway.  That didn’t deter our vandal and the next time that he was on shift we monitored the cameras until he went into the change room, and we gave him a few minutes to incriminate himself, and sure enough, he did so.

I probably don’t need to tell you that we fired him.  Once confronted, he confessed.  Why had he done it you may be wondering?  He was upset with his manager about what he felt was a less than favourable performance review he had received.  But, had he said anything to anyone?  No, not his immediate manager, not the Director of HR, and not to me.  He decided instead to take his anger out through vandalism, and where did that get him?

It’s a shame and as I said earlier, it at least to some degree answers the question of who benefits from vandalism – no one, we all lose.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Social Media - The Wild Wild West

You can’t go to a hospitality industry meeting or get into a conversation with someone else in the hotel business these days without the topic of “social media” coming up, and specifically, the seemingly unlimited power and influence of social media.

It was in just such a luncheon meeting earlier this week that I found myself referring to the current state of social media as the wild wild west, and the more I thought about it, the more it resonated with me.  Here’s my point:

In the old west, before the law came to town, you might have an incident where Billy Bob believed that Billy Joe had done something wrong, something that deserved punishment.  Armed with nothing else but his belief that Billy Joe had done something wrong, he would go and tell everyone in town that he knew, but of course when he told the story, he told it as a point of fact – he knew that Billy Joe had done this awful thing and now it was time for him to be punished, and before long there would be a mob intent on punishing Billy Joe for his crimes – let’s hang em!

Armed with a rope and on a mission, the towns’ folk would band together and hunt down Billy Joe intent on hanging him.  And as they dragged Billy Joe off to find a good hangin’ tree, he would be pleading for his life, professing his innocence, possibly even providing a good argument for why the accusations could indeed be false, but his pleas would fall on deaf ears.

Why couldn’t they hear whatever Billy Joe was saying?  Two over-riding reasons:

      1.       The mob mentality that he must be guilty, everything he is accused of must be true.  Why?  Because all these people said so, and they couldn’t all be wrong – ergo it must be true.

      2.       Then there’s the classic; of course he says he’s innocent, he doesn’t want us to hang him.  He’s screaming so loud about being innocent, he must be guilty.

Guilty until proven innocent, only there was a catch, you didn’t even have the opportunity to prove your innocence.  A no win situation.

Of course, after hanging enough innocent men and with the advent of bringing law and order into these frontier towns, people came to see that there may be a need for a process in order to more accurately punish the guilty, and not the innocent.

Fast forward to today, and the circumstances are eerily similar. 

Someone, right or wrong, makes an accusation that they believe to be true, and they write and post a review, because they want others to know what they experienced.  (Indirectly, although in some cases they would dispute my accusation, they want the topic of their review punished, they may not actively think about it, but they have to know what the potential outcome could be).

Now, their review gets posted to Trip Advisor, they tweet it out, they put it on Face Book, and in the blink of an eye it goes viral – everyone is reading it, and everyone believes it to be true.  (And maybe it is, but that isn’t the point – or at least, it isn’t my point).

The hotelier in question can write a rebuttal, but let’s face it, everyone expects him or her to do so, so again, depending on how detailed the accusation, and how compelling the rebuttal, the hotel probably has a 50/50 chance of convincing people that the original accusation is without foundation, but again, the damage is done – the story is out there, and because it’s on the web, it’s potentially out there forever.

I’m not a fan of “big brother”, nor am I one to want to attempt to restrict free speech, and I wouldn’t even begin to speculate on how to regulate these comments on the internet.

So why write this at all?

Because it reinforces my point that I previously made about the need for hotels to develop a social media strategy, now.  If you want to be ahead of the curve and not a casualty, you need to develop a strategy to deal with social media, now, and then dedicate the necessary resources to effectively implement your strategy.

This is no different than crisis management and the need to have an effective crisis management plan in place before the crisis hits, not after.  Many businesses suffered the consequences when they put off the development of their crisis plan and found themselves standing in front of the media with their pants around their ankles, because they foolishly believed it couldn’t happen to them, and guess what – it did.

The power of the web is infinite.  Doesn’t that sound like something worthy of your attention? 

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Monday, February 7, 2011

People Don’t Know How to Write Anymore

It’s true, peoples’ ability to write, properly, is diminishing by the day, partly because people don’t write as much as they used to, and partly because of peoples’ reliance on technology such as spell check.

When is the last time you got a hand written thank you card?  You probably can’t remember because it has been so long.  People just don’t take the time anymore, which is one of the reasons that I make a point of sending out hand written thank you cards – because people instinctively know that it took some time and effort in order to select, write and then mail (you remember mail) a thank you card, and as a result, they are touched by the gesture.   But I digress . . .

I’m big on delegating and really empowering the people that I work with.  I believe that you have to trust people, give them support and encouragement, and let them make mistakes and on occasion, experience failure.

But along the way, I also learned that a lot of people do not know how to spell or put a sentence together in a way that makes sense, and as a result, I became known as somewhat of an unofficial editor in the last few positions that I have held.  And while I find it tedious to proof read an entire guest directory from cover to cover as an example, I am happy to do so if it means that the finished product does not contain spelling errors, and is, as a result, a more accurate reflection of our commitment to attention to detail.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t consider myself one of the great writers of all time or anything – I’m sure professionals would have a field day with my run on sentences and great love of the comma, but I also know that if I need to put together a strategic plan, a business plan, or a marketing plan as an example, I can pull together the right content to make a compelling read, one that will create the right vision and pull you in to where I want you to go.  And sure, I’ll use spell check, but what’s more important, and much more valuable, I’ll proof read my final copy several times before it goes out, and I’ll get someone else to proof read it as well, because I know that sometimes we can’t see our own errors.

I could be wrong but I think it’s got to do with pride, I take pride in everything that I do and I see everything that I do as an extension of myself, a reflection, and I don’t think that a lot of other people necessarily think that way.

Sure, other people take pride in what they do, but I think they also think some things are just more important than others, which in one sense is true, but as it relates to the reflection on themselves, it is not.

If you send me a report or a proposal and it is littered with spelling errors and sentences that don’t make any sense, then I assume that you didn’t think that this project was important, or certainly not as important as some other things you may have been working on.  And, if you didn’t think it was important, how compelled should I be with your findings, your argument, and how confident should I be in the calculations that you provided?

Company web sites are no exception and I frequently find errors in content, spelling, and in some cases, sentences that just stop in the middle of a point with no clear conclusion.

And don’t even get me started on cover letters.  Am I really supposed to think that you really want to work at my hotel when you couldn’t be bothered to spell my name correctly, or the name of the hotel?  And that was just in the opening paragraph – it got worse from there.

What we say is a reflection of who we are, who we really are, and what we put out there in the world for others to see is no less of a reflection of who we are and what is really important to us – perhaps more so, because what we put out there in print, especially with the implications of technology, now has the potential to be out there for a long time.

Bottom line – regardless of technology, if you are committed to walking the talk, then that should be reflected in everything that you do.

Take pride in everything that you do, and set the right example for your team members to emulate. 

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mini Bars - Major Problem

I checked into a 4.5 star hotel not long ago and was surprised to be handed a key to the mini bar along with my room keys, as part of my check-in package.

It struck me as odd, with all the advances that we have made in so many areas of the hotel business to think that there is still a place for these dinosaurs in a hotel.

Then, as I was proceeding to my room, I thought, well maybe what they have done is taken the mini bars that they already had and they have re-stocked them, to reflect the more health conscious traveller, taking advantage of the fact that they had these mini bars anyway, so why not appeal to the healthier traveller with some more up to date offerings.  No such luck.

Imagine my surprise when I popped open the mini bar door and found what I might just as easily have found 15 years ago – miniatures of scotch, gin, vodka and so on. Really?

I could not help but wonder why anyone would want to have mini bars in their hotels anymore?  (Or why they ever did for that matter).  They have never been money makers, not with all of the associated labour required to stock and re-stock them, as well as the challenge of keeping stock fresh and properly rotated.

And then there’s the issue of theft – guest and employee.

As sad as it is, there have been instances where employees have been caught drinking from mini bars and replacing their consumption with water.

And guests, who either take out a vodka or a gin, drink it and refill it with water, the oldest trick in the book, or they simply dispute that they drank anything, accusing the hotel of not having properly checked and re-stocked the bar after the last check out, which unfortunately, also happened on occasion.

In short, mini bars are just more trouble than they’re worth.

When I was a front office manager many years ago, I hated mini bars for a number of reasons.  I hated them for the extra labour we spent posting, re-posting and correcting charges, when we could have been spending that time with our guests, enhancing the service experience.  And I hated them for what they did to our impact on guests’ experiences, when we presented an otherwise happy guest with a copy of their bill to view before settlement, and they got upset about the mini bar charge on their account that they were adamant was not theirs.  We would apologize and remove the charge of course, but the damage was done – many guests thought this was some attempted cash grab and would get very upset.

And then there were the calls to dispute charges applied to guests’ accounts after they had checked out.  Holy molie was this group ever upset.  How dare we charge something to their credit card without their permission, I’ll never stay there again, and on and on.  I’m sure we must have rebated a full 80% or more of the late charges that we applied to guests credit cards, and every time we did so, we negatively impacted our guest satisfaction scores.

The fully automated systems worked better, but they were of course significantly more expensive to purchase and install, and they weren’t fool proof either.

Guests would remove a bottle or something for some reason, then put it back in the fridge and not realize that these programmable vending-type mini bars had automatically processed a charge onto their account when they first removed the bottle, not until they went to check out anyway.

Or one of my favourites, people travelling with a baby or other small children who would remove all of the contents from the mini bar, in order to use the mini bar as a fridge, and then just about have another baby on the spot, when they went to check out and saw that they had a $250.00 mini bar bill.

Given all of this, and the many other negative impacts that I have left out, why would anyone still want to have “traditional” mini bars in their hotels?

Is there really any place for the traditional mini bar in today’s hotel and the hotels of the future?  I think not.

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