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ISSUE #1 / NOVEMBER 2005

HOSPITALITY THE MAGAZINE FOR THE HOTEL, TRAVEL AND TOURISM INDUSTRY IN THE MALDIVES

Hiring Employees Think Strawberries Training Outside the Box The heart of Leadership 10 Purchasing Tips How to be a great boss Travel Events 2005/06


LILY INTERNATIONAL

PTE.LTD


EDITOR’S NOTE

IMPRESSUM Publisher This magazine is created and published by: Silversea Investment Group Pvt. Ltd. H. Meheli Ge (2nd floor) Kurangi Goalhi Male Republic of Maldives Editor-in-Chief: Ahmed Saleem Editor: David Kotthoff An online version of this magazine is available at: www.hospitality-maldives.com Contact Information Please send your feedback, questions and comments to: info@hospitality-maldives.com Also please notify us at this email if you would prefer not to receive further issues of this magazine. For information about the content of this magazine please contact David Kotthoff at: david@hospitality-maldives.com For advertising rates please write us at: ads@hospitality-maldives.com Print Loamaafaanu Print Cover Photograph Natalie Gooding Articles All articles are property of their respective authors / owners and have been provided with the great support of the following individuals and institutions: James Covart Tony Eldred Jeffrey J. Fox Cheryl Griggs Maren L. Hickton Ron Kaufman James Lavenson Chris Longstreet, CHA Jack Mauro MKG Consulting Carole Nicolaides Harry Nobles Alvah Parker Kirby D. Payne, CHA Nancy P. Redford Beka Ruse Robin S. Sharma Susie Ross www.amanet.org www.ehotelier.com www.hrzone.com www.restaurantreport.com www.winemessenger.com www.worldtravelawards.com

Dear friends and colleagues, With the publication of this magazine a long personal dream of mine has finally come true and it is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the first edition of “Hospitality Maldives” - the magazine for the hotel, travel and tourism industry in the Maldives. Today’s times are fast and knowledge is as valuable as ever; unfortunately not everybody has immediate access to modern means of communication or the financial backup to purchase educational reading material. Therefore I am glad that we are able to provide this monthly compendium of articles and essays of reknown industry personalities and institutions free of charge to everybody. And it is therefore, that this magazine is intended to serve as a resource of information and knowledge rather than entertaining literature. I hope that you will enjoy the writings contained in this first issue of our magazine as much as I do and would very much appreciate to receive your feedback, comments and suggestions either by email to david@hospitality-maldives.com or by regular mail to our postal address. Further I would like encourage you to send me the latest news from your resort / company as well as your own essays or photos, for us to be able to “maldivianize” the coming issues of this magazine. Yours in hospitality, David Kotthoff

Disclaimer No parts of this magazine or its content (photographs, articles or parts thereof, design, layout) may be reproduced without the consent of the respective owner. Silversea Investment Group Pvt. Ltd. or any of its associates cannot be held responsible for the mis-use of the information and intellectual property provided in this magazine.

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

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CONTENTS

In this Issue...

Tony Eldred: A Critical Look at Chef Training page 58

The Wine Messenger: How Champagne is Made page 26

8

FOOD & BEVERAGE

My name is Jack, and I’ll be your Servant for the Evening!

Jack Mauro

9

FOOD & BEVERAGE

The Way of the Future

Tony Eldred

10

TRAINING

Training - Outside the Box.

Susie Ross

12

HUMAN RESOURCES

Hiring Employees - it’s not just Luck.

HRzone.com

16

SERVICE

10 Ways to handle a Customer Complaint

Alvah Parker

17

FINANCE

25 Finance Tips

AMAnet.org

18

NEWS

International Hospitality News

Ehotelier.com

20

SALES & MARKETING

Taking Care of Travel Agents and Their Referrals

Kirby D. Payne, CHA

22

SERVICE

Upselling vs. Over-selling

Maren L. Hickton

23

HUMAN RESOURCES

The Heart of Leadership

Robin S. Sharma

26

FOOD & BEVERAGE

How Champagne is Made

WineMessenger.com

28

SALES & MARKETING

Travel Events 2005/06

David Kotthoff

30

SERVICE

If you ask the question ... listen to the answer!

Tony Eldred

30

SERVICE

Bell Staff Mistakes - and How to Correct Them

Harry Nobles

4

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005


James Lavenson: Think Strawberries! page 36

Jack Mauro: My name is Jack, and I’ll be your servant for the evening page 8

33

MISCELLANEOUS

I paid for Bill Gates’ holiday

Tony Eldred

34

SALES & MARKETING

Hard Times bring Opportunity

Tony Eldred

36

SALES & MARKETING

Think Strawberries!

James Lavenson

40

HUMAN RESOURCES

How to Become a Great Boss

Jeffrey J. Fox

41

TRAINING

10 Ways to Maximize the Impact of Training

Ron Kaufman

44

INTERNET

SPAM - Where it came from, and how to escape it.

Beka Ruse

46

TRAINING

How Training reduces Management Fears

Chris Longstreet, CHA

48

FOOD & BEVERAGE

Eggs Without Shells

David Kotthoff

49

SERVICE

10 Do’s and Don’ts for Email Customer Service

Nancy P. Redford

50

RANKING

2005 World Ranking

MKG Consulting

52

HUMAN RESOURCES

Poor Employee Performance could be Your Fault

Carole Nicolaides

54

FINANCE

Purchasing - Ten Tips to Improve your Bottom Line

James Covart

56

AWARDS

World Travel Awards 2005 - The Nominees

World Travel Awards

58

FOOD & BEVERAGE

A Critical Look at Chef Training

Tony Eldred

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

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Photograph by George Fischer

CONTENTS


FOOD & BEVERAGE

My Name is Jack ...and I'll be Your Servant For the Evening.

S

erving has given me a fine, if erratic, livelihood for quite while. It has paid my bills, brought me into contact with a great many people, taken me to cities I might otherwise never have seen, and given me much to ponder. I have spent considerable ink in examining how we servers do what we do. There is a widespread sentiment in the restaurant business that finding good waiters is a more treacherous affair than ever it was, and I've agreed. I've criticized on paper what I curse in life, tried to train well those whom I was given to train, developed an almost supernatural eye for the nonserver applying for the position, blamed management (always a pleasure), and even taken a hard look at my own shortcomings in the field. Now I take a moment to look beyond the wait station to the guest. This is complex, but easy, and easy only because I can do it in the cozy knowledge that we can change nothing here at all. We adapt to accommodate the guest, because that is the business. But just as the personable customer is the same most everywhere he goes, the less than ideal guest will remain precisely what he is. Seemingly insurmountable problems in the field aside, all that is wrong with the guest is here to stay. I sat at a table, twenty-four years ago, having coffee with a waitress named Joreen. It was our break time; she was making the new, very eager-to-please busboy that I was feel welcome. We talked about incidental things, then about our restaurant itself. And she said, with no bitterness in her voice or in her being, that, after three months in the business, I would lose whatever respect I'd ever had for people. She was wrong. Six weeks did it. Yes, I'm teasing. Joreen was a smart woman, though, and was articulating volumes in that simple and cynical sentence. People don't need to do very much when they come into a restaurant. They needn't smile if they'd rather not. They are under no obligation to be happy, either at being there or, indeed, in being alive. There is no one in the place they ought to impress, or should want to impress. They scarcely need to dress nicely any longer. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that there's only one thing they really must do, and that is behave in a well-mannered way. As, presumably, they would in any other public forum. Very often, they don't. And this is a very curious thing. What comprises 'well-mannered' is not arduous to achieve, and may be better defined by examining what it is not. It is not arrogance. Buying a meal is a fairly common activity, and a less aristocratic gesture than giving a park to the city, yet so many purchasing a dinner carry themselves with haughtiness, they do not exhibit to other merchants they patronize. The man who would never dream of barking a rude command to a

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by Jack Mauro

bank teller is heard snapping at a server for failing to know what onions in a salad do to his digestion. And good manners are emphatically not evident in the guest who sees the comfortable restaurant chair as the seat in which he can snugly fit all that day's grievances with the world. More unconscious association? I suspect so. How else to explain rudeness rarely seen in other markets? Actually, there is another explanation, and it's a pet theory of mine. (Its merits may not overwhelm you, but we see nice things in our own pets that others sometimes miss.) Basically, the American middle class of this century's earlier decades lived in a way we do not. I refer here to one particular: domestic help. Even throughout the 1950's, it was an ordinary thing that suburban households have a servant of some kind, usually of the housekeeper variety. Nothing fancy, mind you - merely a woman to help with the cooking, the cleaning, the kids. Even city apartment dwellers shared such help; the girl who gave her Wednesday mornings to one, her Friday afternoons to another. As this vanished, so too faded a minor social skill: the ability to direct service in a natural, non-condescending way. Several generations are now grown to adulthood with no awareness of the right approach to those hired to do for them. It's a technique without artifice, a very specific human touch, and it's needed to ask something of even the most primitive and temporary personal assistance. It's ironic, as most of the public is employed in variations on the same theme, that this small ability is lost when it comes to asking for food and drink. There you have it - my version of the servant problem. I sometimes think it ought to be known as the master problem. We who wait on tables are the last and only form of servant most people will ever know. Would that the masters and mistresses who briefly employ us understood better the essential element of courtesy in these contacts. Yes, my respect for humanity has been altered by the many dealings with the public inherent in my job. Yet my one wish (at work, anyway) has remained the same, unchanged since that long ago lesson over coffee. Restaurant guests should realize that I don't expect or want them to love me, bully me, be interested in me, frighten me or be frightened by me; but that, if they are simply civil, simply polite, I will do everything I can for them. That is a reflex within me, and I believe it lies in all true servers. Jack Mauro is a self-described lifer in the hospitality field. He owns no restaurants, but possesses a very old set of Eliot, anger, and some really nice crystal he got as a gift. This article is reproduced with the friendly support of www.restaurantreport.com!


FOOD & BEVERAGE

The way of the future If you’re looking for a boost to your kitchen’s bottom line you might like to carefully consider the option to restructure. by Tony Eldred

I

'm starting to see an interesting change in the structure of some commercial kitchens as economic pressures force business owners to become more innovative. In the quest to contain wage costs more and more business owners are choosing to structure their kitchens without the use of qualified cooks or an expensive Chef. We used to only see this in the lower levels of the industry but now I'm starting to see it happening among the ranks of the higher profile restaurants. Before you jump to any conclusions about the wisdom of this, I'd better explain the full picture. It's not that these businesses are doing without the skills of qualified Chefs. They still need them, but not necessarily on a full time salary. As one business owner said to me: 'What do I need a qualified Chef on permanent staff for? Our normal day to day food production can be handled by well trained unqualified staff once the menu, costed recipes and food presentation standards have been defined. I get a top consulting Chef to come in two or three times a year for a couple of weeks to develop my menu and teach my kitchen staff. It works well and saves me a lot of money.’ This attitude all stems from a basic bit of mathematics and a willingness to think outside the square. You have to sell a hell of a lot of meals to cover the cost of a $80,000 Chef's salary. It's quite common for us to find the Chef in a hospitality business getting a higher salary than the General Manager (or indeed the owner). This tends to put them on the endangered species list in the minds of a number of the industry's decision makers. I can't really blame the business owners and managers for taking this attitude. If your business was only producing marginal profitability I bet you'd be reviewing all your major expenses with a view to reducing them wherever possible. A target this big should not be ignored.

guidelines, document its recipe, make it look good, set-up supply lines where necessary, act rationally and sell yourself, you may be able to carve out rewarding career as a 'Consultant Chef'. I can foresee the day where a lot of Chefs will work freelance like building tradespeople do now. This offers benefits to both parties in the transaction. For the business owner it means jobs are quoted and payment is made for a predetermined result. For the Chef it means a much higher potential income without the requirement to work the killer hours and unsociable shifts. More interestingly to me it offers the potential to provide a career step beyond the Head Chef or Executive Chef role, while still staying in the cooking profession. If you look at the choices for a Chef today, it's not too clear where you go after you reach your late thirties cooking is such hard yakka that its now a young person's game. If you want to get off the tools what are your options? You could start your own business, but this has a huge failure rate attached to it. You could teach in one of the colleges or work as a sales rep, but this may not be your style. The emergence of a self employed specialist role for these people to move on to would be a good thing. It has always disturbed me that we lose such a lot of expertise when people leave the cooking profession at a relatively young age. While the kind of kitchen system I'm talking about here has been in existence for a long time in the formula chain restaurants, it is now reaching much higher into the more rarefied levels of the industry. To be honest I was doubtful that a system of 'contract creativity' would ever be appropriate for the top end of our industry until I saw a well known two hat restaurant in Melbourne using the kind of compromise I described earlier (no name chef, food designed by consultants). The food is very good while the wage percentage in the kitchen is quite low. I couldn't help but think that this was the way of the future because it solved so may problems in one neat solution.

Some clever restaurateurs have adopted a compromise. They still have some qualified cooks to handle the food production, but no expensive or high profile Chef at the helm, just a kitchen manager or supervisor to keep things organised and maintain quality. It makes sense to bring-in the expertise when you need and can afford it and dispense with it when it is not necessary.

So, if you're looking for a boost to your bottom line you might like to carefully consider the option to restructure your kitchen. If you assume you need an expensive full time Chef and you don't really, you're going to cost yourself a lot of money. As I like to ask to my clients: 'Are you running a business, or an art gallery?

It's not all bad news for Chefs either. What this change really does is open-up a new and highly lucrative career path for those who have entrepreneurial flair and more than just basic cooking skills. If you can create good food within strict cost

Tony Eldred is the Managing Director of hospitality management consultants Eldred Hospitality Pty. Ltd. For more information visit www.edltrain.com.au or email Tony directly at teldred@eldtrain.com.au!

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

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TRAINING

TRAINING

...outside the box. by Susie Ross

Hiring an outside trainer doesn’t mean you are incapable or don’t know enough about your own business to run it; it simply proves a fact that you do not have enough hours in the day or week to accomplish everything you would like to. Practice makes permanent, not perfect.

R

estaurant owners wouldn’t be owners if they didn’t know everything about every position in the business. While that is certainly true, owners /managers are not always able to make sure that training is being handled in the way that is the most productive and profitable.

In fact, I don’t know of an owner or a manager who can spend more than 10 minutes per day with an individual and expect to accomplish an effective change in attitude and check average. I have been told by more than one restaurant owner that a problem with offering training for wait staff, hosts and buspeople is that owners don't want to believe that their staff may need more training beyond what they have received in standard, in-house training. Managers hold weekly or monthly staff meetings in which they remind staff to really push those sides and appetizers. Try to get check averages above the usual $9 per person, do your side work, pick up trash if you see it laying on the floor, be a team player, don’t run with scissors, etc. They have heard it before; they’re not going to listen this time either, because they know all of that. Growing up on a farm in the Midwest, when my father told me to go rake the hay across the road, he didn’t just tell me to take a particular tractor and go to it. He went with me to the field, went a couple of rounds with me to show me the best way to get the job done, stayed with me while I did a round and then left me to it, all the while telling me why and how this and that turn was effective. All of that probably took an hour to do. But he felt sure that I was doing the job the way it should be done and he could go about doing other fieldwork, etc. Now, I knew how to start the tractor and pull the rake across the road and into the field, but had he left me to my own methods, he would surely have lost some valuable hay. I was made aware of how I would affect my own standard of living by how well I did my job in that hay field. There was a very definite chain of events that would occur if my father hadn’t taken the time to make me aware of all I could do to make sure that hay was properly raked. Likewise, the kind of attention to detail you give your servers can be the difference between a $12 per person check average and a $13 per person check average, and even more when they really get into it. The point is your staff knows how to take

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orders and serve your guests. You wouldn’t have hired them if they didn’t. However, if your staff is made aware of how they can affect their own bank accounts by changing the way they view their careers and how they can guide guests through the dining experience, they will want to get in the habit of up-selling. If they are successful, you, of course, are going to benefit from their success, as well. Most restaurants put a manager or trainer/server in charge of training. They feel confident that it is being handled properly. No one would dispute that fact. Maybe you have books, manuals or videotapes that you encourage your staff to read or watch. That’s all fine and good, but is anyone interacting with them? Is anyone spending quality time with them and letting them practice the routines until they feel comfortable? Sure, they are learning exactly what they are being taught, and that is the menu items, where the coffee is made, where to get bread, etc. They aren’t being taught up-selling and increasing the check average. I guarantee that as soon as they are left to their own devices, they are just getting by. People come into your restaurant to eat, not to browse and look through your menu and see if you have the entrée they want to purchase. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that waiting tables is the easiest job in the world because of that reason. It’s not like buying a car. People come in because they are hungry and they need to eat. There is no choice in our survival; we must eat. They may or may not need a car. The fun part is guiding their experience and making it enjoyable so they feel like they get more than their money’s worth! They feel compelled to tip their server because he/she has displayed knowledge, charm and true customer service skills, which is really a caring attitude. Hiring an outside trainer doesn’t mean you are incapable or don’t know enough about your own business to run it; it simply proves a fact that you do not have enough hours in the day or week to accomplish everything you would like to. Practice makes permanent, not perfect. Let’s face it, no one is perfect and, try as you might, you are not going to have a perfect team. But you can come close! You will not lose control of what your staff does; you have the right to tell an outside trainer the goals you are trying to reach with your staff. Two or three hours in a fun, interactive class on a day off really isn’t too much to contribute to the improvement of a career. Make an outside trainer work for you; one certainly wouldn’t want to work against


you. Keep in mind that most people won’t tell you that they like your food but would rather not have to deal with your staff. It’s usually little things that wait staff don’t perceive as significant, or they think that your guests don’t care one way or another how they are served, just as long as they are served! Your guests tell people like me. They tell people who are in the business, but never directly. They may even tell a competitor about their experience. We live in a society where people don’t want to hurt others’ feelings, but they do so at their own detriment. They would rather tell someone else. Statistically, people tell 10-12 other people about a bad experience. They have begun to expect the usual, mundane, just take the order and leave as quickly as possible attitude. Therefore, they don’t tip any more than they feel the service is worth. It is not that folk like I have a superiority complex, we just recognize where there is room for improvement, and we have the capability and time to do something about it! You would probably love to take the time that I can offer to your staff, but let’s be realistic; where are you going to fit that in? In between meetings, interviews, inventory issues, disciplinary action, and the list goes on. Invest 15 minutes, if that is all you have, to an outside trainer like myself. Take advantage of me and tell me exactly what it is you would like to accomplish with the staff that you have. People who are offering you a service are going to be as accommodating as possible. Your staff will come back with more tools to make more money. I can’t lie to you; this takes time. It will take some cheerleading on your part. Bad habits are hard to break. It is proven that people, when breaking one habit, will replace it with another habit. Why not make it a good habit? Last but not least, if you are skeptical or you don’t want to send your people into a class without first checking it out for yourself, ask if you can attend a class and observe. I welcome the opportunity to show you first-hand what I will do with your staff. What you will find is that you know everything I cover in a class. You may know more than I cover in my class. What you don’t do because you don’t have the time is interacting and working with them the way I do. Imparting that information to your staff is much more difficult in the restaurant because there are so many distractions. Sometimes servers are intimidated by your presence. Sometimes they are intimidated by guests and don’t feel comfortable trying out new things in front of them, so they never move out of the “order-taker” mode. In my class, they get to practice with their peers, not guests, so there is really no fear of failure, no fear of losing tip money. Even if they only sell one more dessert or one more drink per check, that is, at the very least, a $3 increase per check! You do the math. How many covers do you do in a whole business day? How long will it take for that class to pay for itself ? My math says not very long. Train outside of the box and see how much more money can be made.

Susie Ross is the President of "Waiter Training" and has more than 10 years of professional experience in the restaurant industry. For more information visit www.waiter-training.com or email Susie at susie@waiter-training.com!


HUMAN RESOURCES

Hiring Employees

It’s not just luck!

Setting job requirements, screening applications, conducting and evaluating interviews - hiring the right employee is a difficult process. Apply the following guidelines and start hiring for the perfect fit! by HRzone.com

T

his is basic information concerning the importance of planning and knowing what kind of employee you need before beginning the recruitment process. You will learn how to conduct a simple job analysis, establish minimum requirements, screen candidate resumes and about the importance of using tests, structured interviews and reference checks. Qualifications What kind of experience and education should be required? The answer to this question is important because it forms the basis of recruitment and signals to employees what they must do to prepare for promotion. It is essential to have a list of duties or work to ACTUALLY be performed and to define the level of responsibility related to each task or duty. Of course, the selection of duties should be fine-tuned to the future needs of the organization as seen in the organization's strategic plan. However, unless these future needs are clearly defined and specific it is best to remain with actual duties being performed. Make sure to include decisions made by the person in the course of their work, supervision responsibilities, and communication responsibilities. When you get this listing compiled then rate the importance (a ranking is good) of the tasks and the frequency (a percentage of the day, week or month is easy to work with) each is performed. Look at the top 10 to 15 most important along with any very frequent tasks, which did not get listed, in this top group of most important tasks. Next, list the knowledge, skills and abilities it takes to perform each task well. Count the number of times any knowledge; skill or ability is repeated. Make a list of these starting with those which occur most often. Also include any which are associated with the top 2 to 5 most important tasks. Then cross out any, which can be learned in a week to 6 weeks. When recruiting from outside the organization cross out those, which are specific to the organization such as knowledge of personnel policies or specific work practices. Be careful not to require anything, which would form a barrier to your considering a top-notch candidate. The remaining top 5 to 10 should be looked for during the selection process. This information forms the basis for determining the education and experience qualifications. Look at each of the 5

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to 10 knowledge, skills, and abilities in turn. Consider the desired end result, level of responsibility and criticality of performing correctly when applying the knowledge or skill and when using a given ability. To help you with this analysis, it is good to refer back to your original list of tasks. Decide the level of training and education needed to gain this knowledge, skill or ability. The highest level of training or education necessary to perform ACCEPTABLY is the educational minimum requirement. Then double check by looking again at these same skills and knowledge in congress with the 10 most important tasks, level of responsibility and criticality of performing correctly. Only this time determine the kind of work, if performed, which would cause a person to learn this skill on the job and the amount of time (amount of practice) it would take to perform the associated tasks at an ACCEPTABLE LEVEL. The highest amount of time and the highest level of experience (analyst, management, supervisor, and etc.) form the minimum experience you should require. These are the minimum qualifications needed by any new employee and should be placed in your flyer and advertisements. Keep in mind that these requirements form the bottom and that you should not accept any candidates below this level. If your recruitment is successful you can screen for greater experience and education. Knowing what the minimums are will keep you from making mistakes. An analyst who is used to this kind of decisions making working with a person who understands the nature and kind of work to be performed is best. The quality of the results depends on the careful consideration of each step, the quality of analysis and the thoroughness of the thinking involved. This is hard thought provoking work and will take some time and lots of patience. Getting a group together to brainstorm is a good approach. However, it is the most important step in the hiring process because knowing what is needed is the best way to assure the organization gets staffed appropriately. If the qualifications and selection characteristics are not appropriate then recruitment will not be written properly and selection decisions will be inappropriate. In a well run personnel function this analysis forms the basis of several personnel decisions such as pay, organizational analysis, and evaluation. Conceptually the process of conducting a job analysis is simple. However, in practice it is difficult and takes a lot of discipline and fortitude. Be patient with yourself. For a more through understanding please see hrzone's job analysis.


HUMAN RESOURCES

Choosing candidates to interview The only way to do this is to trudge through the resumes and to begin making stacks. It is easiest to start by choosing the most concrete requirement, usually education. If you have decided that a B.S. degree is necessary then start out by placing all of the resumes indicating possession of a B.S. degree in one pile. Then analyze these for the other basic requirements. If you still have too many to interview in one day or the allotted time, then begin analyzing these to see which persons have some of the more desirable abilities. (The desirable abilities can be determined by going back to your job analysis.

the reference always talk to at least two former supervisors. In other words, talk to the people who actually reviewed and saw the quality of the work performed. A second choice is an administrator or a person who has seen the results of the work performed. When conducting the reference always prepare ahead of time. Know what you really need to find out before you start. ALWAYS GET THE PERMISSION OF THE CANDIDATES BEFORE BEGINNING. (You do not want to be responsible for the person being fired or missing a promotion over your reference check questions.)

Look at the top tasks and at the abilities needed. Determine what level of experience and training is needed to perform very well.) Or another way of doing this is by choosing persons who have experience performing any of the top 3 to 5 duties. Consistency is the key to this. Always look back through the stacks to double-check your sorting. It is easy to make a mistake in this process because of the unique nature of resumes. No consideration of race, sex, or national origin is appropriate. Just be consistent and choose the best qualified.

How long did this last?

Salary

How many people was he responsible for?

Salary is a sticky matter. It can be a matter of any or all of the following:

What did these people do?

Most of the questions you need to ask will be easily generated from the minimum requirements you have previously established. For instance in the case you decided supervisory experience was important you would likely ask the following questions: Has Joe been a supervisor with your company?

Did he evaluate them? -

the going rate paid other similar positions at relevant organizations what the going rate is perceived to be the internal relationships among positions in the organization the perceived relationship among positions in the organization the cost of living the perceived cost of living and housing in your area what you have to pay to get the person you want

It is a good idea to get some understanding of what salaries are paid in your area for the same similar position. This can be difficult because some companies do not like to tell others what salary is paid. Indeed, sometimes they do not want their employees to know this information. Pick about ten companies who hire similar positions within driving distance from you (or where you would be able to recruit employees from) and do a survey. If you wish to be equal to the other organizations in your area set your salary at the mean of this distribution. If you want to be able to steal employees more easily set your salary 10% to 15% above the mean (higher is even better). Make sure to maintain the internal salary relationships. Disrupt this relationship if you must, but be careful. If you are not careful you may loose some people who are upset over the new higher pay given to this new position. Do the candidates meet the basic requirements? It is best to determine who are the most qualified candidates and who seem to fit best in the organization before verifying the basic requirements such as years of experience and education. You can require written documentation such as a college or high school transcript to verify education. However, to check years of experience and kind of experience always conduct a reference check and while conducting

Was he able to organize, plan and direct the work of this group well? If the answer to this question is yes, then ask: What work process or problems did he improve or change? At this point you need to ask follow up questions until you understand exactly how well this person was able to direct the work of others and to problem solve for a group to improve efficiency or to improve a service. Do you believe the people under this person did their best? If the answer to this question is yes, then ask: What did you observe that draws you to this conclusion. At this point you need to ask as many follow up questions as necessary to understand what the person is talking about and to understand the point of view of the person you are interviewing. Caution, understanding the frame of reference of the person you are talking to is very important. Otherwise, you will not know what the answers to your question indicate about the person that you want to hire. Tests After you have determined what you need to know about candidates, via the job analysis, then you must determine a way to evaluate the candidates, test them. Whether they know it or not, everyone uses tests. Interviews are tests because they are measuring devices. The accuracy of the test (interview) is dependent on how closely associated the test (interview questions) measure what the test is designed to measure (the important stuff you found in your job analysis) and how well the interview is conducted. Under the Uniform Guidelines everything including screening criteria and reference checks are a test of a kind. So, make sure your advertised minimum qualifications, resume screening, tests, interview questions

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

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HUMAN RESOURCES

TYPES OF INTERVIEWS UNSTRUCTURED INTERVIEWS Involves a procedure where different questions may be asked of different applicants. SITUATIONAL INTERVIEWS Candidates are interviewed about what actions they would take in various job-related situations. The job-related situations are usually identified using the critical incidents job analysis technique. The interviews are then scored using a scoring guide constructed by job experts. BEHAVIOR DESCRIPTION INTERVIEWS Candidates are asked what actions they have taken in prior job situations that are similar to situations they may encounter on the job. The interviews are then scored using a scoring guide constructed by job experts. COMPREHENSIVE STRUCTURED INTERVIEW Candidates are asked questions pertaining to how they would handle job-related situations, job knowledge, worker requirements, and how the candidate would perform various job simulations. Interviews tapping job knowledge offer a way to assess a candidate's current level of knowledge related to relevant implicit dimensions of job performance (i.e., "tacit knowledge" or "practical intelligence" related to a specific job position) STRUCTURED BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW This technique involves asking all interviewees standardized questions about how they handled past situations that were similar to situations they may encounter on the job. The interviewer may also ask discretionary probing questions for details of the situations, the interviewee's behavior in the situation and the outcome. The interviewee's responses are then scored with behaviorally anchored rating scales. ORAL INTERVIEW BOARD This technique entails the job candidate giving oral responses to job-related questions asked by a panel of interviewers. Each member of the panel then rates each interviewee on such dimensions as work history, motivation, creative thinking, and presentation. The scoring procedure for oral interview boards has typically been subjective; thus, it would be subject to personal biases of those individuals sitting on the board. This technique may not be feasible for jobs in which there are a large number of applicants that must be interviewed.

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HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

and anything else you use to determine who to hire are closely associated with your job analysis (the important knowledge, skills and abilities it takes to perform the job) and the job analysis is easily defended (can be shown to be a careful and fair consideration of what the job is and what the important duties of the job are). To decide whether to use a test and what questions to place in the interview look over the important knowledge, skills and abilities. List these on a sheet of paper while leaving a lot of space to write off to the side. Immediately, write performance evaluation next to personality characteristics such as integrity, tenacity, and the like because; though they are important, they are very difficult to measure (find out about in the selection process). Unless you have the help of a well-qualified industrial or organizational psychologist it is best to stay away from these. Even with professional help the interpretation of results should be approached carefully. It is best to save these for the probationary evaluation period. If you insist on finding out about these before hiring, then attempt this during your reference check when you can ask an observer, a supervisor, about the person's working habits and ability to work with others. The Interview An interview, like all selection devices, must be designed to measure important knowledge; skills and abilities as discovered in the job analysis you previously performed. A structured interview process designed to assess past behaviors and accomplishments is best. Center your questions on some welldefined important knowledge, which are needed to perform the most important duties. If you ask candidates to indicate how and in what way they perform duties that require the knowledge you want to assess, you may also be able to find out about the person's abilities. Ask all candidates the same 5 to 15 questions. Follow each of these with follow up questions designed to find out the person's level of knowledge and ability. Dwell on a few questions rather than ask a lot of questions finding out very little. You will find that you will understand the capabilities of a candidate better by finding out a lot about their experience in relation to one or two projects they worked on which are closely associated with the work you will assign. Example of interview when finding out about knowledge of skilled trades work practices when hiring a maintenance director: "Provide us with a general overview of your experience supervising trades persons. Tell us about the trades involved and what they were building or maintaining. Describe your responsibilities." "Tell us about at least two problems you solved that are related to skilled trades work?� During the answer to this question you need to ask a lot of follow up questions which will allow you to understand the problem involved, the quality of the solution, the reason for the solution, and the candidates point of view on the solution. From this you should gain a good understanding of the person’s


HUMAN RESOURCES

knowledge of skilled trades work, supervision of that work, and ability to solve problems. Make sure to take good notes so that you can verify some of this information with this person's supervisor when you make your reference check. The notes will also help you compare candidates. Of course you would have to ask additional questions to find out more information. It is a good idea to have another person help you interview so that perceptions of answers can be shared and analyzed. It is also a good idea to use a rating sheet on which you have written the knowledge and abilities you are measuring (finding out about) so that you can rate candidates and then use these sheets to help you make comparisons. The best fit Hopefully this is a difficult decision to come to. It is always nice to have several top candidates to choose from. In this case, pick the person whose abilities are most closely associated with the problems or challenges of the organization; whose skills compliment/balance the abilities in the work group; or who seem to have formed working relationships in the past, which are best for the work group at hand. (Likeability is dangerous. Always tie your decision back to the important tasks of the position.) It is best to list out the strengths and weaknesses as discovered in the selection process and to consider each objectively. If several people have interviewed the candidates, then it may be best to gather these people together to discuss the matter. Always remember to stay grounded in what you understand are the needs of the organization as discovered by the previously performed job analysis. Caution it is easy to go a stray at this point. Slow down and be as deliberate as possible.

this happens, make notes regarding what they tell you. Then attempt to assist them in the selection process by making concessions to their needs such as allowing a reader for a blind person to take a written test, allowing a signing interpreter for a deaf candidate during an interview, allowing more time to take a written examination for a person who is dyslexic (accommodations). In this situation it may be best to seek assistance but if you cannot then meet with the person and directly ask them what they need to compete with the other candidates. If you can accomplish what they ask then do so showing as much sensitivity to the situation as you can. Alert everyone involved that the selection process is for the purpose of finding who is qualified and that the idea of accommodation will be addressed after the best candidate for the job is chosen. Document the entire selection process. Reference check You should always do a reference check. You are liable for any problems, which may come along later. For example, if you hire an employee who becomes violent and who was violent previously with another employer you are liable for placing that person in the work environment. However, if you have done a through reference check then the courts have generally found that you have done your best and are not liable to a bad hiring decision. However, you are still on the hook for any workers compensation ramifications. So, make sure to keep the results of your check but not in the personnel file where the candidate can see what the references said. Never, never divulge what references say to you. If you do, then the reference will not give you a reference again and may not give the next person candid information. We must all stick together.

Discrimination The definition of discrimination and what is illegal discrimination varies somewhat from state to state. Generally, it is illegal to discriminate against anyone because of race, religious preference, sex, national origin or physical disability within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you have conducted a good job analysis and know what the salient duties of the position are and what it takes to perform them, you are in a strong position to field discrimination complaints. However, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires you to be careful with inquires you make regarding the psychical abilities of the candidates. YOU MUST WAIT until you have chosen who will be best for your position before you inquire regarding the person's physical abilities. That means: do not send them for a medical or psychological exam until you make a conditional offer of employment. The only exception to this is an inquiry regarding any help needed to compete in the selection process. Unless a well-qualified human resource person assists you, it is best to not attempt this. Just except applications and move through the process.

Make notes regarding the basic questions you asked and the answers you receive making sure to indicate whom you spoke to. Along with the questions you will ask concerning qualifications (make sure to read the section above regarding qualifications) you should ask how the person was to work with and if there were any problems. Make sure to inquire regarding their ability to follow instructions and receive comments regarding their work. Making up a simple sheet of paper containing the questions you will ask with places to write the answers will make things easier. ALLWAYS ASK: Would you hire this person again; how do you see this person in the xxx job; and would you hire this person to fill a abc position. Always find out the reasoning behind all of these answers. GOOD LUCK! This article is reproduced with the friendly support of www.hrzone.com, your guide to human rescources on the net.

Occasionally during or before the selection process a person with disabilities approaches you with a problem. When

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

15


SERVICE

10 ways to handle a

Customer Complaint by Alvah Parker

Handling a customer’s complaint can be a daunting experience and not always one will find the right words and action that is to be taken in the heat of a situation. Stay cool when the heat is on and apply the following ways to handle the complaint properly.

M

ost professionals take pride in the work they do. Dealing with complaints is often challenging and upsetting. It is very natural to try to explain or justify what was done. The suggestions I have made in this list are not easy to do in the heat of a situation. So when you hear a complaint about you or your business/practice perhaps the best strategy is to count to ten and then do some of the following:

6. Reeducate the client when necessary – How did you set client’s expectations? Were you clear about what he/she could expect? Help the client to understand the process now to guard against future misunderstandings. 7.

1. Listen – Resist the temptation to argue with the client. Instead ask questions to get to the bottom of the situation. What is the client really upset about? Show the client that you really understand the situation from the client’s perspective. 2. Don’t be defensive – This will get in the way of your listening to the client. Allow the client the time and space to be heard. If you get defensive you’ll build a wall between you and the client. Try to find ways to build a bridge so that you are aligned with the client.

Know that if one client complained there are others feeling the same way. What do you need to do to address the problem with the others? Who else might have been affected in the same way? 8. Give the client choice of possible resolutions. How can you make this right with the client? Negotiate a way that works for both of you. Sometimes just fixing the problem is sufficient. At other times the client is looking for something else. Look for an equitable resolution. 9.

3. If you agree that it was a mistake, fix it immediately or do what you can to satisfy the client and apologize. We all make mistakes at times. Check to see if there is anything in your office procedure that can help you to avoid a similar mistake again. 4. For a more complex issue research the problem before you make any decisions. Find out what actually happened. Is a system in your office not working correctly? Does it need to be fixed? Has the client misunderstood something? Give yourself time to figure out a fair resolution. 5. Look for lessons in the situation – If the situation was caused by something you or your staff control, find a way to fix it for the future. This means assessing the systems you have in place and your methods and procedures. It also may mean retraining an employee or employees.

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HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

Thank the client for helping you with your business. As painful as they can be complaints from clients often let you know exactly where you need to work to improve your practice/business. 10. Follow up with those who complained to be sure they are fully satisfied. If you have altered a system or changed a way of doing business and the client is affected by that change, follow up to be sure that the client noted the change. Alvah Parker is a Practice Advisor and Career Coach as well as publisher of Parker’s Points, an email tip list and Road to Success, an ezine. Parker’s Value Program© enables her clients to find their own way to work that is more fulfilling and profitable. Her clients are managers, business owners, sole practioners, attorneys and people in transition. Alvah is found on the web at asparker.com. She may also be reached at 1-781-598-0388. Copyright © 2005 all rights reserved. Permission is granted to reproduce in its entirety including copyright and contact information.


ACCOUNTING & FINANCE

25 FINANCE TIPS 1.

Benefit from other budgeters' experience. Ask peers about previous budgeting cycles. Find out what worked for them and what didn't. Emulate what worked, avoid the pitfalls.

2.

Consider what budget lines you want to defend as you prepare your budget.

3.

Compile all team or group budgets and reconcile differences. Also, watch for errors of omission, like for overhead items such as office equipment and supplies.

4.

5.

6. 7.

Develop contingency plans for improved business. Ask yourself and your employees the question, "If business conditions become favorable, how can we leverage the growth spurt?"

13.

Invest in cost-saving improvements. Look for ways to spend money that will ultimately save money, such as mechanization or replacement of slow machines with newer, faster ones.

14.

Use your cost variance reports to guide cost control actions.

15.

When you want costs cut, say so. Don't cloak your intention in the term "cost improvement."

16.

Stay away from unnecessary jargon to explain your budget aims to senior management.

17.

Always develop a budget and plan, even if the future is unpredictable.

18.

Don't confuse your firm's budget needs with what you want to accomplish.

Work with managers to build a development plan as it relates to financial acumen.

19.

Don't pad your budget - you'll accomplish nothing from doing it.

20.

Do not underestimate the time you will need to gather relevant information, formulate plans and make a budget a realistic planning tool.

21.

Avoid the temptation to spend all you are authorized to use; others may be able to use those funds.

22.

Be aware that technology changes will affect your costs.

23.

If you are given no direction, predict that the average raise will be the same as this year's average in allocating staff costs.

24.

Keep careful notes of the reasoning behind calculations in your budget. Weeks later, when a particular number is attacked in a review, you may not remember how you arrived at that number.

25.

Do not cut your expense projections to the bone in your first submission. Remember that the first cuts in your budget by your boss may not be the last.

Develop a standard for mat for financial p e r f o r m a n c e r e v i e w s, f o c u s i n g o n w h a t manag ers need to know to make better decisions. If some managers lag behind others in their financial knowledge, hold review sessions conducted at a slower pace where individuals are encouraged to ask even the most basic of questions.

9.

Challenge depar tments to identify the assumptions they are making, estimate the likelihood that their assumptions may be incorrect, and the impact on the financial plan if they are wrong.

11.

Stock as few supplies as you can safely get away with, especially if supplies can be purchased and delivered quickly.

Ensure that mana ger s document their assumptions and include these in the financial information they provide. They are critical to your analysis of the numbers.

8.

10.

12.

Graph revenues by period for the past two or three years. Look for trends, patterns and unusual variations. Consider the implications for future revenue growth. Build up a backlog of cost-cutting tips over the year. Whenever you see or read something that might work in your department, jot it down or cut it out and save in the event it is needed.

Amanet.org is the official website of the American Management Association, a global not-for-profit, membership-based association that provides a full range of management development and educational services to individuals, companies and government agencies worldwide.

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

17


HOSPITALITY NEWS

International Hospitality News The latest news and information from the international world of hotels, travel and tourism! Strong Performance for Asia Pacific Travel Asia Pacific travel is on the up, according to the latest booking figures issued today by Abacus International. In August 2005, total bookings on the Abacus system increased by 19% over the corresponding period in 2004 to more than 4.41 million. As with previous months, Intra-Asia travel accounted for the majority of bookings made at more than 81%. Intra-Asia travel continued to grow steadily with bookings in August posting a 17% rise over the corresponding period last year. The surprise star performer was the Asia to Middle East route, which recorded a 107% increase over the same period in 2004. Abacus President and CEO Don Birch said, “As we said at the beginning of the year, 2005 looks to be another record year for Asia Pacific travel as regional governments place more emphasis on developing tourism infrastructure and cultivating the tourist dollar. “Despite the higher oil prices, the Asian Development Bank expects 6.6% GDP growth for regional economies this year, which I believe will translate into a travel growth rate of 6-8% across the region,” Mr Birch added Oriental Bangkok completes final Renovations The Verandah and the Oriental Health Centre at the Oriental, Bangkok have recently undergone top to toe transformations. This completes the final renovations at the hotel, which come just in time to usher in The Oriental’s 130th Anniversary celebrations in 2006. The Verandah re-opened with new menu designs, contemporary uniforms, and new culinary creations to entice diners. The restaurant interior is comprised of warm wooden floors combined with light earth toned wall paneling aimed to be soothing to the eye. The marble tables with mahogany rattan chairs provide ample seating in this airy room which seats up to 80 persons including two private dining areas which are perfect for small meetings or discussions over breakfast, lunch or dinner. The terrace patio overlooking the new small pool and the Chao Phrya River has also been extended. Five sofa sets with generous plush pillows line the patio, providing the ideal resting spot after a long day, while five private spacious cabanas with canopy awning double as day beds for relaxing by the pool. The Oriental’s renovations also include the unveiling of a new look for its Health Centre, which has been expanded and remodeled at a cost of approximately US$1million to provide the utmost in luxury for sports and health lovers alike in the midst of a tranquil and relaxing environment. The renovation includes the complete installment of state-of-the-art equipment to aid in both cardiovascular and upper and lower body exercises. Personal small screen television sets accompany each piece of modern

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HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

machinery and an all inclusive aerobics room has been installed as a part of the transformation. The squash, tennis courts and jogging track have also all been modernized and upgraded. Personal trainers and physical assessments will be available to guests who will be able to receive detailed suggestions and recommendations to enhance their health routine. Additional improvements include upgrades to the overall structure of the centre, changing rooms, service areas and reception desk to ensure a total invigorating Health Centre experience. PATA Predicts A 'More Intrepid' Chinese Traveler The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) today predicted strong growth in international travel from China (PRC) to Malaysia (36%), Korea (ROK) (30%), Lao PDR (20%), Hawaii (20%), India (19%), the Maldives (16%) and Thailand (16%) to 2007. At a PATA Travel Mart 2005 luncheon seminar, which updated delegates on the status of China (PRC)’s outbound tourism market, PATA Director-Strategic Intelligence Centre (SIC) Mr John Koldowski predicted that Chinese travellers would undertake around 32 million outbound trips in 2005, 3 million more than they took in 2004. Of all the outbound trips China (PRC) travellers took to destinations in Asia Pacific in 2004, Mr Koldowski revealed that Hong Kong SAR received 45%, while Macau SAR welcomed 35%. Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand were the next most visited Asia Pacific destinations. “China’s Special Administrative Regions continue to soak up much of what we call outbound trips from the mainland. However, this fact doesn’t reflect the opportunities available to the rest of Asia Pacific,” said Mr Koldowski. “For instance between 2000 and 2004, some 15 Asia Pacific destinations received double-digit annual arrivals growth from China (PRC).” He added: “Chinese travellers are becoming more intrepid while the number of destinations with approved destination status (currently 108) is increasing rapidly.” PATA Travel Mart delegates learned that China (PRC)’s highest-growth demographic segment for the next 20 years will be the mature householder – “working age empty nesters”. The population of this segment is projected to grow at 8.6% per annum to 2008 and 6% each year through to 2023. In economic value it is growing at more than 10% per year. Jumeirah For Jordan Saraya Aqaba is a tourism project that is destined to cover 610,000 m² of land in the Jordanian port of Aqaba by the time it is finished in 2009. Real estate development holding company Saraya Jordan will be wielding the spade and Jumeirah, the Dubai-based luxury hospitality group, has been


HOSPITALITY NEWS

lined up to manage three of the five five-star hotels and a water park that form part of the project. Wonders In Dubai The Al Futtaim Group has unveiled the latest component of its mixed-use Dubai Festival City development. Marsa Al Khor, a US$1 billion waterfront community that will be built in stages from 2007 onwards, is set to feature a 300-room boutique hotel. Save room for a little more wonderment though as you head over to Dubailand and the Falcon City of Wonders. This project, which will start to rise from the early part of next year, aims to have structures replicating the wonders of the world on its 4 million m² and have hotels among its mix of properties.

‘I believe it's a new breed of traveller that is coming here, those coming for shorter stays. But the traditional beach segment where we see people from Britain, Germany and so on, who frequent the beaches are yet to come back,' Ramunujam said. The Dec 26 tsunami, which killed some 31,000 people, has left its mark on the traditional tourist haunts along the island's coastline. Hotel owners said some of the official figures show a higher number of tourist arrivals because aid workers and journalists often enter the island as tourists. Some 52 hotels along the coast were damaged by the tsunami, which also killed more than 150 foreign tourists. Officials say only 11 hotels are yet to be rebuilt almost nine months after the disaster.

Morocco opens booze-free hotel Morocco's first dry five-star hotel has opened in Marrakesh, where its owner expressed confidence that the lack of booze would not dampen trade. Businessperson Miloud Chaabi spent some 360m dirhams (€33m, $40m) building two luxury palaces where alcohol will not be served at all. "It will have no impact on the flow of tourists," he said. Muslim groups in Morocco are fiercely opposed to the sale of alcohol. In August, the Reform and Unification Movement spoke out against summer festivals, saying they led to public drunkenness, the consumption of drugs and sexual harassment. More tourists but less business for Sri Lanka hotels (AFX) - More tourists are visiting Sri Lanka despite the tsunami that devastated coastal hotels but they are spending shorter holidays, slowing a recovery of the battered hospitality sector, officials said. The industry could suffer further if there is an outbreak of violence in the lead-up to the presidential vote on Nov 17, but officials said they expect a peaceful campaign. 'The last few elections in Sri Lanka have been relatively peaceful and we don't expect things to change,' tourism ministry secretary Prathap Ramunujam told reporters here. He cautioned that any trouble could affect the peak tourist season which starts in December. The number of nights visitors spent in hotels dropped sharply to 199,373 in the first eight months of this year, compared to 302,957 in the corresponding period last year, he said. However, the number of tourists visiting the country between January and end-August rose to 362,049, up from 324,105 in the corresponding period last year. Ramunujam said discounts offered after the tsunami had helped to attract bargain hunters from neighboring India, but overall hotel occupancy rates dropped to 44.4 pct in the first eight months of the year compared to 51.2 pct last year. While resorts did badly, hotels in the capital were comparatively better off with most of the Indian tourists staying here mainly for shopping and not venturing too far out of the city. 'Tourist arrivals are up about 11 pct for the first eight months, but its benefits are largely centered around Colombo city,' Ramunujam said. He said there had been a shift in Sri Lanka's tourism sector with more visitors arriving for shopping, rather than to soak up the sun and enjoy the palm-fringed beaches.

GOT NEWS TO TELL? WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE YOUR COMPANY’S / RESORT’S NEWS POSTED HERE IN THE FUTURE. EMAIL US AT INFO@HOSPITALITY-MALDIVES.COM AND SPREAD THE WORD!

118 Years of Raffles Magic Singapore’s landmark hotel, Raffles Hotel, celebrated its 118th anniversary on 16 September, with a plethora of exciting activities organized in line with the hotel’s tagline “At Your Service”. The morning kicked off with 118 staff members, who gathered at the hotel driveway to help distribute 118 boxes of mooncakes to members of the public. On the same day, Raffles Hotel was also “At Your Service” to the community, by donating to the Breast Cancer Foundation S$11.80 per box of mooncake sold. The hotel was “At Your Service” to hotel residents who each received a special invitation for an elegant champagne reception at the exclusive setting of the private Palm Court on the evening of 17 September. Finally, the hotel was “At Your Service” to its team of dedicated staff who were all treated to a delightful afternoon tea party. Let Raffles Hotel be “At Your Service” when you call +65 6337 1886 to make your reservations. You can also visit www.raffles.com. The news published on these pages were provided with the friendly courtesy of www.ehotelier.com - the one-stop website for hoteliers! In order to be able to “maldivianize” coming issues of this magazine, please feel free to send us your resort’s / company’s news, updates, promotions and ideas to info@hospitality-maldives.com.

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

19


SALES & MARKETING

Taking care of

Travel Agents And Their Referrals by Kirby D. Payne, CHA

ravel agents are an important source of business referrals for many hotel properties. To maximize this source, everyone should treat travel agents, and the business they refer, in the best possible manner. As a major potential source of business referrals, travel agents must receive a commensurate amount of attention from the hotels to which they refer business.

T

The three most important things to a travel agent are: 1. Ease of making reservations with confidence. 2. Client (guest) satisfaction.

General Rules General hotel procedures to remember to get the most out of this business:

For chain affiliated properties, it is important to insure that the hotels' data is accurately reflected in the various airline reservation systems used by the travel industry. Stop by a travel agency where you have contacts and ask them to show you the hotel's displays. Usually, the chain's headquarters can also provide copies.

1. Never dishonor a reservation made by a travel agent.

Pay ASAP

2. Clearly note on each reservation, registration card and folio that the guest was booked by a travel agent. This is best done by obtaining a rubber stamp, "TA," for this purpose.

Always pay travel agents as soon as possible. The goal should be paying on a daily basis. This is only possible if the hotel has someone at the hotel with the authority to write these checks and is truly only feasible if the hotel has more than 120 rooms with sufficient travel agent volume to justify the steps. The following are suggested procedures for smaller hotels paying on a weekly basis:

3. Prompt and accurate commission payment

3. If a travel agent uses your hotel regularly, be sure to tell their clients at check-in that you appreciate the fact they booked through that agency and that you think very highly of that agency. Leave a small gift or treat for them occasionally, compliments of the agency that booked them. They'll appreciate it and their thanking the agency will get the word to just the person you are really trying to please. 4. If it won't cost the hotel any revenue, upgrade the guest to a better room and advise the guest you are doing it because they used that particularly agency. 5. Keep a list (see procedures below) of reservations booked by agencies and use them to learn: • Agency productivity • Recent bookings • Frequent guests using a particular agency • Frequency of bookings by a specific agency 6. Use this information in your marketing efforts. On a periodic basis (at least quarterly) the travel agent payment files should be reviewed so that targeted marketing can be developed to further penetrate this often essential source of business.

20

While having a policy of never dishonoring a travel agent's reservation, it is also very important to make sure they can communicate with the hotel with ease and that they have a good point of contact. Ideally, this could be the Front Office supervisor in a smaller property. In a larger property, it might be both the Reservations Manager and someone in the Sales Department. These people should visit with the agents booking the hotel on a regular basis at least quarterly just for the sake of having personal contact or bonding a little. Thank you notes and other gestures are always welcome with the booking agents and agency managers.

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

1. Each day have the night auditor list the checkouts, if any, of guests booked by travel agents. The list should include: • Guest's full name, room rate paid, arrival date and departure date. •Agency name, agent's name (if available) and complete address. •Your calculation of the 10% commission due on room charges only. 2. Each Thursday, the Front Office Supervisor (or General Manager for a smaller property) should review and sign the list as authorization for your central office, General Manager, or your Accounting Department to pay the commission. The reviewer should check the list against actual folios on a frequent but irregular basis. 3. Your central office, General Manager, or your accounting department should pay the commissions as soon as the list is received on a weekly basis. Consider including a hotel brochure or some other promotional piece with the checks when they are mailed.


Adopting a "Pay Travel Agents Today" program can be well worth the effort. It is designed to address the prompt and accurate commission payment issue often complained about by travel agents across the country. However, I do not recommend that this program be adopted by a hotel with fewer than 120 rooms. 1. Each hotel should operate a separate checking account for commission payment purposes only with the following specifications. Single signature • Authorized signatures - Front Office Manager, his/her supervisor, Controller, General Manager, company president. • Checks should be marked "Not Valid For Over $50.00" (or the maximum reasonable amount for your hotel), have vouchers and be two-part forms.

Experienced. Competent. Reliable.

• The balance in the account should normally not exceed one week's average commission payments. Verify the amount with your Corporate Office. • The bank statement should be mailed directly to the Corporate Office or your accounting department if all bank reconciliations are done on the property. 2. Each night, the night auditor should list the previous day's checkouts on which a commission is due and leave the list for the Front Office Supervisor. 3. Each morning the Front Office Supervisor will pull the folios from the night audit packet and copy, then return the originals to the packet. 4. The Front Office Supervisor should prepare checks payable to the travel agents in the appropriate amount. 5. A check register should be completed and a copy of each folio should be attached to the register. The copy should be annoted with the check number and date. 6. The check should be mailed that day with the voucher portion clearly showing the guest name, dates of stay, room rate commission amount and the name of the booking agent, if available. 7. Each Friday the check registers and the supporting folios must be turned into the hotel's controller, or to the Corporate Office if your hotel is on centralized accounting, along with a check request. He/she will review the documentation and, if all is in order, will immediately reimburse the account for the amount spent with a check payable to that account. 8. The copy of the check/voucher retained by the Front Office Supervisor should be filed alphabetically by agency name in reservations or at the front desk. Adapting these ideas to your hotel will help increase travel agent business over time. If your hotel is using the central payment program offered by many hotel chains, you can still make many of these ideas work to your benefit. Kirby D. Payne, CHA is the President of HVS/American HospitalityManagement Company, a growing hotel investment, management and consulting firm which is a service division of HVS International. Payne was also 2002 chair of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA). For more information visit www.HVShm.com or contact Kirby at the firm by e-mail at KPayne@HVSInternational.com

Watersports Unlimited Pvt. Ltd.- since 1985 www.watersports-unlimited.com


SERVICE

vs. Up-selling Overselling by Maren L. Hickton

Good restaurateurs understand that if you put the needs of your customers first, the money follows. The real bottom-line goal is to form long-term relationships with consistently satisfied customers encouraging sales and repeat sales to ensure long-term growth.

A

ll restaurateurs want their wait staff to increase sales by higher guest check averages where the average check/per guest ends up higher if you use these suggestive selling techniques. The benefits to the operation are higher sales with the same number of covers and an increased bottom-line. The benefits to the servers are an often dramatic increase in tips, hence improved wait staff morale.

In some cases, there is more than one host and in that case it is up to the server to determine who is taking the lead at the table. Once determined, a skilled server carefully assesses the host to ascertain exactly how s/he wants this business transaction to take place. The server does not attempt to transact the business with the entire party without the host's approval and/or encouragement. In order to be successful:

The transaction after the guest reviews the menu and the initial order is taken goes something like this: "Today's soup is Italian Clam Soup -- 'Zuppa Di Vongole', but the Lobster Bisque is much better. The Watercress and Fresh Pear Salad is also very popular." The host is part of a party of four and two people order the more expensive soup, one orders the salad that is not the included house salad, and then the entrees arrive. The server takes note of the order and brings a bottle of wine to the table and continues "up-selling": "Two of your guests ordered the baked Mackerel and we have this wonderful 1994 fruity Pinot Noir that would be a nice red-wine accompaniment to your New Zealand Baby Lamb Loin with demi-glace and the Pasta that your wife ordered. Would you like me to bring you four glasses?" Three of the guests ask to be served wine with dinner and the server refills the glasses as the guests are talking and enjoying their dinner. The server attentively removes the plates, crumbs the table in between courses, smiles, and brings the dessert menu and spiels off the list of your pricier desserts: "Our Tiramisu is outstanding. We also have a wonderful Georgian Pecan Tart. If you would enjoy something lighter I can offer you our Fresh Raspberries with Cream or Trio of Homemade Gelato. If you would like a nice dessert wine, I have a 1998 Late Harvest Riesling that I can serve by the taste, glass or bottle." Homemade Gelato comes with dinner, but one of the guests orders the Trio of Gelato after hearing it's more appealing description, another orders the Georgian Pecan Tart, and the third orders a glass of the dessert wine. Coffee or tea is offered and included, but the server suggests cappuccino or espresso and two of the guests opt for the specialty coffees. Everyone has a wonderful dinner and the server believes s/he has done a fine job. The server presents the check to the host. The host turns as white as a ghost after looking at the check and slumps forward in their seat. "It must have been all the wine," the host says grimacing, as s/he quickly thanks the server and leaves only a 10% tip. The host never returns to your restaurant again.

1. Direct all communication to the host and pay close attention to cues. This means that if the host frowns when you initiate suggestive selling towards him/her, stop suggestive selling immediately and simply present the menus. 2. If you are asked to describe a particular item by a guest, certainly provide an accurate description, but do not blather ad infinitum with superlatives. 3. After you have have engaged the host comfortably, and it is not disruptive to your presentation, quietly suggest one or two appropriate wines (within an expected agreeable price range) to the host and then allow him/her to make the table's selection. Save describing the "wonderfully selected" wine until you present the bottle to the host in front of the party. 4. Before reciting the more expensive desserts, ask the host discreetly if s/he is interested in your "special desserts" or dessert wines. Same goes for specialty coffees. His/her body language will reveal plenty. 5. Train and monitor your servers fairly to make sure that they are not interested in self-serving hit and run transactions to increase tips. If they are, warn them. If it continues, dismiss them. Up-selling can be a win-win for everyone, but the customer must win first. Yes, it is a good idea to offer items that may not be on the menu and also guide your guests through the dining experience so that they can fully enjoy your wonderful restaurant. But short-term "overselling", putting your guests in situations where they feel put on the spot or "embarrassed" into buying more expensive menu items, or where they feel a loss of control with respect to this business transaction -- will hurt your restaurant. Good operators understand that if you put the needs of your customers first, the money follows. The real bottom-line goal is to form long-term relationships with consistently satisfied customers encouraging sales and repeat sales to ensure long-term growth.

What went wrong? Successful up-selling has to be conducted carefully by assessing your host who is your key customer and the person you are transacting business with -- or the one who is paying the check. They are often the person who books the reser vation.

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HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

Maren L. Hickton is the principal of Maren Incorporated, a Full-Service Hospitality Consulting and Marketing Firm based in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Maren writes about a variety of business challenges that independent restaurants encounter. Maren can be reached by e-mail at info@mareninc.com. .


HUMAN RESOURCES

The Heart of Leadership Reflections on the Rituals of

L

eadership is not about the prestige of your title but the quality of your character. Real leadership is not about position, it's about action. And great leaders spend their days helping those around them manifest their highest human potential while they work towards a vision that adds value to the world at large. As I wrote in "Leadership Wisdom from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari": "the greatest privilege of leadership is the chance to elevate lives." In the new economy, leadership will be the quality that separates the winners from the also rans. With increasing competition, only those organizations who develop leaders at every level will have the agility and effectiveness to excel in these topsy-turvy times. The organizations that rely on the outdated "top down" model of leadership will not have the speed and nimbleness to go head-to-head against competing companies where everyone understands their duty to show leadership in the way they work and live. In my leadership seminars, I show peak performers how to liberate more of their leadership potential so they see quantum improvements in their professional and personal lives. Here are 4 of the best lessons:

1. Understand that, at the end of the day, leadership is all about relationships. People will not follow you if they do not trust you. They will not invest in your products or services unless they truly feel you have their best interests in mind and sincerely care about them. Showing leadership in your work means that building high-tr ust, high-touch relationships is Job #1. To cultivate these bonds, peak performing leaders remember that the little things are the big things when it comes to building client loyalty. They keep their promises, doing what they say they will do when they say they will do it. They are punctual and respectful. And they are courteous, always remembering to say "please" and "thank you" at every reasonable opportunity. If you simply fill the needs of your clients, they will remain with you until someone who can do it better comes along. If you deeply connect with them on a human level, they just might remain with you for life. As I say in my seminars: "People will not lend you a hand until you first touch their hearts."

Wise Leaders. by Robin S. Sharma

standards. They commit themselves from the core of their beings to being true masters at the work they do. They are hungry to learn from the best. They spend time daily refining their talents and reading from great books. They take time weekly to reflect on the way they are conducting their businesses and course correct so the next week builds on the past one. 3. Stop doing what is easy and focus on doing what is right. Weak performers spend their time doing those things that are easy. They take the path of least resistance and do only what is comfortable and convenient. They never face their fears and make the tough cold call or give the big public presentation. Instead, they lead small lives, preferring to stay within a limited zone of security that never requires them to stretch their capacities. Bold leaders are far different. They have the wisdom to understand that the tougher you are on yourself, the easier life will be on you. When you have the courage and strength of character to do what your heart tells you is the right thing to do in every instance, rather than doing what is easy, you will raise the quality of your professional and personal life to a whole new level. As the nineteenth-century English writer Thomas Henry Huxley said: "Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not." Or as Theodore Roosevelt noted one hundred years ago, the highest form of success "comes not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph."

4. Smart leaders know that the time is now. If you don't act on life, life has a habit of acting on you. The days slip into weeks, the weeks slip into months and the months slip into Robin Sharma is the CEO of Sharma years. Then we wake up one day, in the twilight Leadership International, a premier of our lives, and wonder what could have been. learning services firm and one of the As I share in my speeches, on your tombstone, superstars of the speaking profession. For more information visit there will be two dates: the date of your birth www.robinsharma.com or email him at and the date of your death. You will have had wisdom@robinsharma.com! no say in the first date and no choice in the second one. But between these two dates will lie a line representing all that lies between the day you arrived and the 2. Remember that leaders strive for mastery over mediocrity. day you departed. Stop putting off living. Now is the time to move The quality of your professional and personal life ultimately comes to the next level in your career. Now is the time to upgrade your down to the quality of the choices you make every minute of every education or learn new skills that will allow you to serve your clients hour of every day. As human beings, our highest personal better. Now is the time to enrich your mind and shed the shackles of endowment is the ability to choose our response to a given event. complacency. Now is the time to go the extra mile for your We can choose to get angry with a difficult client or we can see the customers and distinguish yourself in a crowded marketplace. Now circumstance as a gift - as a wonderful opportunity to deepen the is the time to deeply connect with your family and build great relationship by dealing with the complaint in a creative, effective friendships. And now is the time to enjoy the journey of life - before manner so that the client is so delighted he tells the world about you. it becomes too late. As Elisabeth Kubler-Ross said so eloquently: "It You can choose to focus on the increasing competition, regulation is only when we know and understand that we have a limited time on and complexity of the marketplace or you can concentrate on the earth - and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up that almost limitless possibilities offered by this wired age. One of the we begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we most important choices that effective leaders make is to raise their had." HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

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FOOD & BEVERAGE

How Champagne is Made I

t is said that champagne is a wine that has no rules. It can be drunk at any time of the day or night; some even drink it out of actresses pumps. The only sale is that it should be chilled down. It is a superlative drink that almost everyone enjoys but do you know how it came to existence?

of Charles II loved it and St. Evremond spent most of his time in exile trying to organize transport of Champagne casks from Reims to England, something that was not easy since there was very little inter-nations trade in the 17th century. Besides drinking it, the British contributed to the Champagne we know today.

Geography And The Origins

Unlike France at the time, England already manufactured bottles to transport Ale. Very quickly, some English merchants tried to conserve the bubbles of the spring fermentation by enclosing them in a bottle with a cork that was attached either by string or with thin wire. That way they could sell frothy Champagne all year round. Champagne as we know it was born.

As almost everybody knows, Champagne is a province of France, north-east of Paris. The capital of Champagne is Reims and the Champagne district includes all the hills south of Reims up to the Marine River 30 kilometers south (where you find the second town of Champagne called Epernay). Despite its extremely northern situation (at the limit of where grapes will grow), the Champagne soil made of chalk and silica has been found very propitious for the Pinot Noir, the famous red varietal of Burgundy (located 70 miles further south). Grapes were already grown in Champagne during the Roman conquest and from Roman times until the beginning of the reign of Louis XIV, Champagne reds were in strong competition with Burgundy reds. The chalky terroir of Champagne gave lean reds that probably kept a little better than the more fruity Pinots of Burgundy. How The Bubbles Arrived Of course, it was by accident. In the mid 1600's, Champagne reds, which were very clear and of a rosé composition, were shipped in casks (there were no bottles then) to the court of the young King Louis XIV in Paris (not yet in Versailles since the palace was under construction). Given the cold weather of the Reims region, the grapes harvested in mid-October (to achieve optimal maturity) were stored in vats in cellars where they started their fermentation. The cold weather of approaching winter stopped the fermentation and it is only in April or early May of the following year when the temperature rose again that the fermentation process started a new and suddenly turned the inside of the casks into a frothy wine for a few weeks until the fermentation would be terminated. Meanwhile, the wine had been sold and the casks were in the cellars of the consumers. Nobody could explain at the time why this frothiness appeared in the Spring but the Champagne wines became known for this particularity. Louis XIV became quite fond of this bubbly liquid and would drink it with glee in the Spring and also during the later months when the wine was still. Since the King liked it... everybody at court liked it... and it is only because one of his favorite courtiers got disgraced that this fad was exported. The Marquis de St. Evremond, having wrought the displeasure of the Sun King, was exiled to England. He brought with him a few casks of Champagne wine just at the time when the spring fermentation was taking place. The English courtiers

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HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

We have not mentioned Dom Perignon yet! Dom Perignon as the inventor of Champagne is a myth. Pierre Perignon, a Benedictine monk of the Abbey Hautvillers, appeared much later (1685) when bottle Champagne was already in existence. His biggest contribution was to blend the juices of different vineyards to make a more complex Champagne. The French and English Courts' passion for Champagne spread to other courts of Europe and the Champenois learned to bottle the product at the production site. Bottles were shipped in large wooden cases with lots of straw between each bottle. What the producers could not control, however, was the amount of sugar imprisoned in each bottle and continuing to ferment. In some bottles, the level of pressure of carbon dioxide (the gas that makes the bubbles) would raise to 3 or 4 atmospheres and frequently the hand blown bottles would explode. For most of the 18th century, Champagne remained a royal product because it cost so much due to the high rate of self destruction (frequently up to 80%). It is only in the early 19th century that a pharmacist called François invented a tool to accurately measure the amount of residual sugar inside each bottle, thus limiting the amount of pressure that would build. The rate of breakage plummeted and Champagne became a more democratic drink. Champagne production is now a big industry since at least 200 million bottles are produced every year. Most of the process described above has been rationalized. To start with, all the vineyards of the region have been graded according to a percentage rating system. The grades vary from 80% to 100%. Only 17 vineyards out of about 400 have a 100% rating. These are the "grand crus" of Champagne reserved for the top Cuvées. Most modern Champagnes are a blend of red and white grapes. The 3 most frequent varietals are Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. The "Blancs de Blanc" Champagnes, grown mainly along the Marne Valley, are made of Chardonnay exclusively.


FOOD & BEVERAGE

At harvest time, the grapes are picked and quickly pressed. The juice of first pressing goes to make the top cuvees, while the second harder pressing will produce regular blends. Since the juice is quickly isolated from the skins (in case of Pinot Noir) it remains white. It is put in stainless steel vats for the first fermentation. It may stay there for a few months; it is a still wine. Then comes the "assemblage" which is the blending of many wines coming from various vineyards and from different vintages (for a N.V. Champagne). This will make a more complex Champagne. There is some similarity here with the perfume manufactures who blend a large number of essences to make a new and unique perfume. All the chosen ingredients selected in the "assemblage" are blended in large vats and poured in bottles. Then begins the bottle fermentation which will create the bubbles. For this, a little yeast and sugar are added in the bottle. This is a slow process that will take years. The bubbles (Carbon Dioxide) are trapped in the bottle as well as some sediments which are collected in the neck of the bottles which are stored upside down. When the Champagne is ready, the necks of the bottles are quickly frozen, the temporary cork is removed and a little block of ice containing all the sediments is pushed out of the bottle by the inside pressure. A few chops of similar Champagne are added and the definitive Champagne cork that will stay on the bottle until an inexperienced hand sends it flying into a crystal chandelier. Bottles are sent back to the cavernous cellars from one to five years to reach perfect maturity. They are then washed and "dressed" with label and the characteristic aluminum foil. The large number of operations, plus the fact that each Champagne firm has at least 5 years of inventory slowly aging in its cellars, makes this product expensive. The process described above is the natural method also called "methode champenoise". There are sparkling wines made more economically but they are not Champagne. Most inexpensive sparklings are made with white wine and with direct introduction of industrially made carbon dioxide in the bottle. Usually it is characterized by big bubbles when the bottle is opened and frequently it is accompanied by a headache the next morning. Such sparklings rarely age more than a few months. But there are also manufacturers who use the méthode champenoise and who make excellent sparklings which cannot be called Champagne since they are not made in that region. California, Australia and South Africa in particular make a product close to Champagne in terms of quality (but not much cheaper if they use the same natural method). In fact, quite a few are made by the international arm of traditional Champagne companies. The weakness of all New World top quality sparklings is that they often come from areas where relatively few vineyards are used to make such a type of wine. The possibilities for blending to make a more complex product are more limited. In this regard, top Champagnes, which can have as many as 30 or 40 ingredient wines of different origins and ages, are still ahead of all others. Contrary to other sparkling wines. Champagne can age for 10 or 15 years.

The Various Types Of Champagnes Offered By Most Houses The large Champagne houses usually offer four types of Champagnes: * Non Vintage (NV) The least expensive, made usually with fairly young wines but blended in such a way to offer through the years, a consistent House Style. Non vintage Champagnes can usually be obtained as Brut (very dry) or demi-sec (sweet), all the other superior levels of Champagne are always "Brut" only. * Vintage A good quality Champagne only made and offered in the good years. Aged longer in cellars until it reaches a certain full body. * Rosé Always a premium Champagne made from top vineyards and usually blended with a small quantity of still red wine or made by "Saignée" when the white juice is allowed to stay with the skins for a while to gain color, fruit and body. * Prestige Cuvèes The best made only with 1° Cru or Grand Cru grapes. Only the first pressing of such grapes are used (Tete de Cuvée). The bubbles are very fine and the taste is ethereal. Prestige Champagne usually has a vintage. The Champagne Growers It is fascinating that only about 25 Champagne brands are known around the world while there are more than 4,100 Champagne producers. Of course, some are very small and sell only locally, but there are also some mid-size forms that make superlative Champagnes and that should be better known. It takes a very large advertising budget to launch a Champagne brand (once again quite similar to perfumes) and only the houses that have developed a large export business throughout the last 100 years can afford it. The better known brand Champagnes are usually quite good, particularly their top cuvées, but they all suffer from their own success. Since the demand for their wines greatly exceeds the capacity of their own vineyards, they rely on thousands of small growers to sell these grapes. They are not in control of their production, particularly for their basic Champagnes. The top French restaurants (those that have 2 or 3 stars in Michelin Guide) often promote small producers that can offer really superlative Champagnes to their clientele of gourmets. Such Champagnes are rarely found in the USA. The Wine Messenger took the risk to import one of these gems (Cuvée Divine, Top Cuvée from Leclerc-Briant, rated 92 by Wine Spectator higher rating than Dom Perignon). “Here's to Champagne, the drink divine that makes us forget our troubles; It's made of a dollar's worth of wine and three dollars' worth of bubbles".

The Wine Messenger features a unique and exclusive selection of artisanal wines from around the world. Please visit www.winemessenger.com!

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

27


SALES & MARKETING

TRAVEL 2005

JANUARY ’06

NOVEMBER ‘05 Catering, Restaurant & Hotel Exhibition Salzburg, Austria http://www.reedtravelexhibitions.com

01

Int’l. Fair for Holidays, Travel and Leisure Vienna, Austria http://www.ferien-messe.at

14-17

World Travel Market London, United Kingdom http://www.wtmlondon.com

13-15

The Holiday and Travel Show Manchester Manchester, United Kingdom http://www.johnfishexhibitions.co.uk

20-24

Horeca Expo Gent, Belgium http://www.horecaexpo.be

13-21

Asian Tourism Forum 2006 Yangon, Myanmar http://www.atf2006.com.sg

23-26

Tour Business Minsk, Belarus http://www.greenexpo.by

25-29

FITUR 2006, International Tourism Trade Fair Madrid, Spain http://www.fitur.ifema.es

25-27

International Travel Market Cologne Cologne, Germany http://www.koelnmesse.de

31-02

Oman Travel Market Muscat, Oman http://www.oite.com

DECEMBER ‘05 01-03

Food & Hotel Vietnam Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam http://www.foodnhotelvietnam.com

03-05

03-06

05-08

05-07

10-12

28

Photograph by Caroline von Tuempling

05-09

FEBRUARY ‘06 01-05

International Hotel & Entertainment Equipment Fair Nicosia, Cyprus http://www.tusi.org

India Intl. Travel Mart - Pune Pune / Maharashtra, India http://www.iitmindia.com

05

Holiday World eXperience Cork, Ireland http://www.holidayworldshow.com

Salon de la Piscine Spa & Sauna Paris, France http://www.reedtravelexhibitions.com

09

Moscow International Summer Workshop Moscow, Russia http://www.moscowworkshop.com

International Luxury Travel Market Cannes, France http://www.iltm.net

09-11

Food, Hotel & Tourism Bali Bali, Indonesia http://www.pamerindo.com

Horeca Kuwait Kuwait Regency Palace, Kuwait http://www.hospitalityservices.com.lb

09-11

2nd Int’l. Meetings Industry Conference Athens, Greece http://heliotopos.conferences.gr

India Intl. Travel Mart - Hyderabad Hyderabad, India http://www.iitmindia.com

21-23

International Confex 2006 London, United Kingdom http://www.international-confex.com

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005


SALES & MARKETING

EVENTS / 2006

MAY ‘06

MARCH ‘06 British Travel Trade Fair (BTTF) Birmingham, United Kingdom http://www.britishtraveltradefair.com

02-05

Arabian Travel Market Dubai, United Arab Emirates http://www.arabiantravelmarket.com

03-08

Internorga Hamburg, Germany http://www.internorga.de

07-10

International Travel & Tourism Exhibition Kuwait City, Kuwait http://www.kif.net

08-12

Internationale Tourismus Boerse (ITB) Berlin, Germany http://www.itb-berlin.de

14-18

Food & Hotel Arabia Jeddah, Saudi Arabia http://www.acexpos.com

22-25

Moscow Int’l. Travel & Tourism Exhibition Moscow, Russia http://www.mitt.ru.com

30-01

29

Ukraine Int’l. Travel & Tourism Exhibition Kiev, Ukraine http://www.uitt-kiev.com

IMEX 2006- Long-distance Inspiration: The Worldwide Exhibition for Incentive Travel, Meetings and Events Frankfurt, Germany http://www.imex-frankfurt.com

APRIL ‘06

Photograph by Caroline von Tuempling

01-02

JUNE ‘06

02-05

HOREXPO Lisbon, Portugal http://www.reediberia.com

01-04

HOTELMAQ Porto, Portugal http://www.hotelmaq.exponor.pt

19-21

BITM 2006 Outbound China Beijing, China http://www.bittm.org

06-07

Asia Pacific Incentives & Meeting Expo Melbourne, Australia http://www.aime.com.au

22-Oct World Leisure Expo 2006 Hangzhou, China http://www.worldleisure.org

12-15

Diyafa 2006 Doha, Qatar http://www.ifpexpo.com

23-27

55th PATA Annual Conference Pattaya, Thailand http://www.pata.org

15-18

ITE HK Hong Kong, China http://www.itehk.com

25-28

Food & Hotel Asia Suntec City, Singapore http://www.foodnhotelasia.com

25-30

Recreation & Leisure Fair (RALF) Jeddah, Saudi Arabia http://www.acexpos.com

25-28

Hospitality Style Asia Singapore Expo, Singapore http://www.hospitalitystyleasia.com

28-30

Guangzhou Int’l. Supplies & Facilities Expo Guangzhou, China http://www.

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

29


SERVICE

If you ask the question...

Bell StaffandMistakes how to correct them.

by Tony Eldred

by Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs

listen to the answer!

I

’ve been doing the odd spot of dining out lately, mostly around the better budget-priced restaurants around my area. I like to find those places who can do it well for a reasonable cost. I look for adequate d e c o r , good service, good food and most importantly, a pleasant atmosphere. If they can do all of this for a reasonable price and still make a decent profit they have my professional admiration. I think they are managing well. The problem with frequenting budget restaurants is that when you strike a good one you then have a yardstick to measure all other restaurants against. All too often more ‘up-market’ establishments suffer in the comparison. This can be the catalyst for an interesting moment when the maitre’d in one of these up-market places glides up to your table and asks, ‘Did you enjoy your meal this evening, Sir?’ I usually tell the truth. The reaction can be bizarre, to say the least. It seems that an increasing number of restaurateurs are insisting on their staff asking this question at the end of a meal, but not laying down any procedures or guidelines to appropriate reaction if the answer indicates that a customer is dissatisfied. Take two recent examples, for instance . . . During a recent holiday, I was staying with some friends at one of our premier ski resorts. We were in the ‘fine dining room’ (they had two very average restaurants); the place was Fawlty Towers without the humour. One of my friends ordered ‘prime beef ’ and received a cremated forequarter chop surrounded by an unappetising mulch of nondescript vegetables — for $34.50! Shortly after, the maitre’d popped the question, and we politely told him. His reaction was interesting to say the least. He said, ‘Yeah, I agree. The management here doesn’t care. They know that you’ll be gone in a couple of days and a new bunch will arrive to take your place.’ I wondered why he bothered to ask. The second example was in an up-market suburban hotel; one of the new operations that is based on food service rather than beverage sales. Again, the meal was an expensive disaster followed by the automatic question. This time my girlfriend answered — carefully and politely, I might add, she is a softly-spoken English girl who does not like to upset people. The manageress became extremely defensive and proceeded to blame the apprentice in the kitchen for the food. She then told us that she was not running a restaurant but a hotel bistro which was full most of the time. Customer service was not important. They were not looking for repeat trade (???). When the bill arrived, the words ‘Thank You’ had been struck out with a diagonal pen slash. I always thought that you should inquire as to a customer’s enjoyment of a meal in order to rectify any dissatisfaction before they leave the establishment. The words of Tom Peters (‘A Passion for Excellence’) seem appropriate... ‘If you listen to your customers and treat them with common courtesy and decency, you can have the lion’s share of the market. BECAUSE YOU’LL BE ALONE!’

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HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

D

uring my many years of inspecting and evaluating hundreds of hotels and restaurants and dealing with thousands of employees, I sometimes think I have experienced every possible example of service delivery. I hope I am wrong because that might lessen my enthusiastic anticipation at visiting and shopping the next property. Over the years I have acquired some pet peeves about service and some mistakes that employees make when providing these services. I have also developed some simple remedies to correct most of these infractions. Some examples that come to mind have to do with bellmen. For some reason, I find it very annoying when a bellman uses my luggage to prop open the guestroom door. The more prestigious the property, and the better the bellman’s other services, the more I am put off by this small point. Am I the only guest with this reaction? I think not. I have suggested a simple, effective, and inexpensive solution to several clients; many of whom have adopted my suggestion. A small wooden or rubber wedge does the job very well. Each bellman carries a wedge and thus avoids the need to employ the guests’ luggage in what I consider an unprofessional manner. Another of my quirks involves my garment bag.. I have devised a “bellman test” that I use consistently. I always place my garment bag in the trunk, fully extended, and with the hook plainly visible. The bellman or doorman who folds the bag flunks; those who handle it properly pass. The way the bag is handled in the room can also be part of the test. Proper handling at the door and hanging the bag on the luggage cart can be totally negated by the failure to hang my bag in the closet. I also dislike having a suitcase placed on the luggage rack with the handle facing the wall; the handle should always face outward. Is this too demanding? Is it too picky? I think not, particularly at a highly rated full service hotel that takes pride in delivering the highest level of service. All these flaws can be avoided, or at least reduced in frequency by proper training, on the spot correction, and constant follow up. As always, I welcome your feedback. I would be particularly interested to hear about any similar service mistakes you have encountered.

Harry Nobles is a world-renowned hospitality consultant, former head of the AAA Hotel Ratings Program and owner of "Harry Nobles Hospitality Consulting". Cheryl Griggs is a world renowned interior designer with world class 5 star luxury hotels experience. For more information visit www.optimumrating.com or email Harry & Cheryl at info@optimumrating!

Tony Eldred is the Managing Director of hospitality management consultants Eldred Hospitality Pty. Ltd. For more information visit www.edltrain.com.au or email Tony directly at teldred@eldtrain.com.au!


Still looking for the road to success?

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES 2005 31 Advertising spaces available. Email us at ads@hospitaliy-maldives.com or visit www.hospitality-maldives.com forNOVEMBER more information!


MISCELLANEOUS

I paid for

Bill Gates’ Holiday Development of computers has taken place at a breath-taking speed in recent years, an end is not in sight yet. Tony Eldred reflects on his very personal encounters with the miracle machine, from the very beginnings to the latest high-tech. oy are things happening fast out there in technology land. I’ve just been on a buying spree to equip my business to produce interactive training courses on CD. The equipment and software that is currently available is mind boggling. As I was configuring the stuff that I bought, I pondered the last ten years with mixed emotions.

B

When I started my business in 1987, I went out and bought one of the first personal computer models available — it makes me laugh just to think about it now. The bloody thing cost me a bundle — nearly $10,000 all up, and all that got me was a primitive word processor and a rudimentary dot printer. In an attempt to save money I bought the system from a little Asian computer supplier down the road. They presented me with half a dozen boxes and told me the instructions were inside. They were right, they were inside, but they were written in fractured ‘Chinglish’, and I hadn’t used a computer before. I plugged it in, switched it on and not a lot happened. It just sat there with ‘C:>’ sitting in the top left hand corner of the screen. When I opened it up to see if I could spot the problem there wasn’t much inside; a circuit board, a couple of silver boxes and some wiring. I felt cheated. After about a week of rage and despair, I worked out that the machine had no software in it. A mate helped me load a word processor and told me it was ‘intuitive’ to use (if you ever hear this term in conjunction with computers, bear in mind that it is similar in concept to the real estate industry’s use of the term ‘unusual’). After reading a couple of hundred manuals my intuition finally kicked-in and I was able to type a business letter. Producing the envelope is another lengthy story in itself. Anyway, I persisted — call me obsessive if you like — and the computer became a valuable business tool. I went from word processing to database to spreadsheet and on from there. It was bizarre; no sooner had I learned to use a piece of software than the manufacturers would introduce a new version with all the latest bells and whistles. It’s called vertical marketing and it works beautifully. I paid for Bill Gates’ annual holidays in instalments. Just when I thought I had it all licked, along came the affordable laser printer. Wonderful . . . another five grand; never mind the cost, throw the cat another canary. I had to have it — if you wanted an edge on your competition it was just the thing. It even allowed me to produce documents that looked like they’d been professionally typeset and printed.

This led to the inevitable and highly expensive (no! don’t tell me they planned it?) foray to purchase desktop publishing software — just so that I could use the laser printer to its capacity and publish slick documents full of graphics and eye catching grey tones. Have you ever used a desktop publishing program? User friendly is not the term that springs to mind. You’d think I’d learn, wouldn’t you? Not this little black duck. I had to have a color printer next. Everybody bought laser printers and I started to feel like the world was catching up. More money. This time they’d introduced a new twist — the financial double whammy. The printer cost a packet and . . .wait for it — the ink and special paper worked out to $2 a page! What a clever thing to do. My first journey to replenish stocks cost me $750. By this time I was on my third computer system. They seem to last two years before they become obsolete and you have to buy one that will run the latest software. The heart rending thing to note is that when the time comes to upgrade your old computer, the one that cost you $5,000 two years ago can now be bought for $1,200. The new one costs you $5,500 (but it’s two hundred times faster, which allows the newest software which is three hundred times more complicated to run at two thirds the speed you are used to). I was considering all this while I was loading the latest Internet software on to ‘computer system number four’. What has all this angst and expense done for me? Well, in spite of the traumas I’ve suffered, I now have virtually all the world’s information at my fingertips; I can type a search request for any subject and up comes the information I’m seeking for the cost of a local phone call; I can combine text, graphics, images, sound and video on to a CD; I can keep massive customer databases and find something in seconds; I can produce a plethora of administrative documents quickly and easily; I can produce all my audio visual training aids; I can send email instantly and very cheaply, locally or to any other part of the world; and as a bonus, I have a mentally challenging hobby. Fair enough, you might say, but you’re running a consulting business, not a restaurant or a hotel. So what? All businesses need to market themselves, do accounting, communicate with the outside world and keep abreast with the latest developments. Do I think it’s all worth it? You betcha it is.

Tony Eldred is the Managing Director of hospitality management consultants Eldred Hospitality Pty. Ltd. For more information visit www.edltrain.com.au or email Tony directly at teldred@eldtrain.com.au!

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Hard times

bring opportunity Every business goes through rough times once in a while, but only few find the unique business opportunities that those times bring. This article was written back in the year 1990, in the middle of a severe recession, its message is universal. by Tony Eldred

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he current uncertain economic circumstances are polarizing the business community into two distinct groups — there are those who are suffering a potentially terminal downturn in trade and are adopting a pessimistic and somewhat resigned attitude to their troubles; and there are those who see that even though things are not good in traditional markets, opportunities exist which can be exploited. Two particular opportunities come immediately to mind. The first is the chance to grab business that has traditionally belonged to others because of long standing customer loyalty. Bad times bring out the pragmatic and sometimes ruthless side of most people. When money is tight loyalty goes out the window. Business managers who are faced with cash flow problems critically examine all their expenses to see if there are any potential gains in either quality, service or value to be had. It is unfortunate that it is easy to take a long standing customer for granted and not deliver the same degree of performance as you would if you were trying to win a new one. Take food supply contracts as a perfect example; how often in this industry do you see premium produce trotted out for the first few weeks, then a slow deterioration in quality from then on?

they have recently wrested important new customers from old adversaries. In one case, a client had being trying to win a particular supply contract for four years — with a spectacular lack of success in spite of many approaches. He got desperate and tried again, and was quite surprised at the different response. Today is a whole new ball game; past assumptions are not valid at the moment. The second opportunity comes with your own staff. They are likely to be well aware of such influential matters as rising unemployment and business failures, and be ready to re-negotiate old values. Good times tend to make people intractable. If they think the boss is doing all right they consider their performance to be adequate. When times are obviously bad staff tend to opt for the security of the job they currently hold, and are often prepared to give more in circumstances where they were previously intractable. I have found that staff are quick to grasp the ramifications of the laws of supply and demand in a shrinking market. They can appreciate that if there are substantially more available seats than customers, somebody has to lose. They can also appreciate that the loser will usually be the one who gives the poorest value for money.

Better quality, service and productivity can be achieved more easily now than Tony Eldred is the Managing Director of hospitality in my working memory. I guess it is the management consultants Eldred Hospitality Pty. Ltd. For more information visit www.edltrain.com.au or difference between being seen to be email Tony directly at teldred@eldtrain.com.au! greedy by demanding more in the good The same occurs with service based times, or battling for survival by businesses. I know from my own demanding more in the bad times. Talk to your people, ask for their ideas, seek their help. Go out experience that I tend to get the worst service from the and grab all the new business you can find. If your marketing businesses where I am good friends with the owner and am isn’t working — DO SOMETHING ELSE! Bad times sort regarded as part of the furniture. the true leaders from the pretenders; the pretenders go out of business. Some of my clients have commented on the ease with which


SALES & MARKETING

Think Strawberries! by James Lavenson

...and you think strawberries are for eating! James Lavenson’s legendary speech of 1973 has turned into a true classic and must-read article for hoteliers over the past years, reason enough for us to print it once again.

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I'm sure those hotel men in the audience know that there is no one who knows more about how to run a hotel than a guest. But about five years ago, I fell out of this corporate balcony and had to put my efforts in the restaurants where my mouth had been and into the guest rooms, and night clubs and theater, into which I had been putting my two cents.

James Lavenson owned a marketing and advertising company before being invited to become a senior management executive with Sonesta International Hotels. He was given responsibility for the company's hotel and food interests and some non hospitality businesses, including the famous Mad Magazine and Hartman Luggage. For the last three years of that period he was president and chief executive officer of the chain's 'flagship', the famous Plaza Hotel in New York City.

In my ten years of kibitzing about the way things were run at the Plaza, the only really technical skills that I had developed was removing that little strip of paper without tearing it that says, 'Sanitized for your protection'. When the Plaza Hotel staff learned that I had spent my life as a salesman; that I was not a hotel figure; that I had never been to a hotel school ≈ I wasn't even the son of a waiter ≈ they went into shock.

he following are excerpts from a speech first delivered as the keynote of the AMERICAN MARKETING ASSOCIATION annual meeting in New York City in 1973. It was published the Saturday Evening Post in 1974, October issue.

Unprofitable in the year before his assumption of the hotel's direction, the Plaza was profitable each year of Lavenson's tenure until it was sold in February 1975 to Western International Hotels.

Paul Sonnebaum who was then president of Sonesta Hotels, didn't help their apprehensions much when he introduced me to my staff with the following explanation:

The Speech:

‘The Plaza has been losing money for the past five years and we have had the best management in the business. So we have decided to try the worst'.

"Across the street from the Plaza Hotel in New York is a movie theatre, and they were lucky enough to be one of the early ones to get to the movie, 'Jaws' don't know if that happened in Chicago, but in New York it was a complete sell out. I wanted to get to see it. I bought a ticket and went in, and I couldn't find an empty seat. As a matter of fact, the only thing I did see was one man lying prostrate across five seats. So I went and got the usher and said, 'You get that guy to sit up so I can sit down'. So the usher went down and rapped the man on the feet and said 'Sir, would you mind sitting up so that this man can sit down?' And the most terrible groan came out of this prostate ≈ prostate? ≈ no, prostrate figure. He just went 'Ohhhh.' And they couldn't get him to move, he just groaned. So finally they got the manager, and the manager came down ≈ shone a flashlight in the man's face and said,'Sit up. You are occupying five seats. You only paid for one, and this man wants to sit down.' The man went, 'Ohhhhhh.' The manager leaned close to his face and said,'Sir, how did you get here? Where did you come from?' And he said (in a hoarse voice), 'The balcony'. Well, that explains how I got in the hotel business, because for ten years I was a corporate director and marketing consultant for Sonesta International Hotels, and I had my office in a little building next door to the hotel, and I went there every day for lunch, and I often stayed overnight, and I became in ten years a professional guest.

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I don't know if you have ever heard the definition of the kind of hotel managers there are. If you have ever observed a manager close at hand, you will know there is one who walks through the lobby spotting cigarette butts, and the first time doesn't see them. The second kind of manager walks through, sees the cigarette butts and calls the porter and asks him to pick them up. And then there's the third kind of hotel manager who walks through the lobby, sees a cigarette butt on the carpet and picks it up. I am the fourth kind. I walk through the lobby and I see a cigarette butt on the carpet, and I pick it up myself, and I smoke it. Well, that was actually all I knew anything about when I became president, and I didn't really know how to start on the job, so I just began wandering around the hotel looking for cigarette butts. One day early in my career there I got a little idea what I was up against with professional staff when, in walking through the lobby, I heard the phone ring at the bell captain's desk, and no one was answering it. So to give a demonstration to my staff that there was no job too demeaning for me I went over and I picked up the phone and said, 'Bell captain's desk. May I help you?' The voice came on the other end. 'Pass it on, Lavenson's in the Lobby.' Now frankly I think that the hotel business is one of the most backward in the world. It's an antique. There has been


SALES & MARKETING

practically no change in the attitude of room clerks at hotels since Joseph and Mary arrived at that inn in Bethlehem and that clerk told them that he'd lost their reservation. One of the executives in a new organization read a speech I gave about a year after I had been at the Plaza and the speech was called, 'Think Strawberries'. Maybe, he thought it was some magic formula for buying strawberries out of season. Some of you may have seen it since the Saturday Evening Post reproduced it in their October issue. And if you did read it, you know it wasn't about buying strawberries, or even growing strawberries. The speech was about selling strawberries. At the Plaza Hotel, 'Think Strawberries' has become the code words for salesmanship. Actually, a team approach to what I consider to be the most exciting profession in the world ≈ selling But hotel salesmanship is salesmanship at its worst. So it is with full knowledge that I was taking the risk of inducing cardiac arrest on the hotel guests if they heard one of our staff say a shocking thing like 'Good morning, Sir or 'Please' or 'Thank you for coming' or 'Please come back' ≈ I decided to try to turn the 1400 Plaza employees into genuine hosts and hostesses who, after all, had invited guests to our house. Secretly, I knew I didn't mean hosts and hostesses; I meant sales-people. But before the staff was able to recognise my voice over the phone, a few calls to the various departments in the hotel showed me how far I had to go. 'What's the difference between your $85 suite and your $125 suite?' I asked the reservationist over the telephone. The answer ≈ you guessed it. 'Forty dollars.’ ‘What's the entertainment in your Persian Room tonight?' I asked the bell captain. 'Some singer' was his answer. 'A man, or a woman?', I wanted to know. 'I'm not sure, ' he said. It made me wonder if I'd even be safe going there. Why was it, I thought, that a staff of a hotel doesn't act like a family of hosts to the guests who have been invited, after all, to stay at their house? And it didn't take long after becoming a member of that family myself to find out one of the basic problems. Our 1400 family members didn't even know each other. With a large staff working over 18 floors, a thousand guest rooms, six restaurants, a nightclub, a theatre, three levels of sub-basement including the kitchen, a carpentry shop, a plumbing shop, an electrical shop, and a full commercial laundry, how would they ever know all the people working there ≈ who were the guests? ≈ who was just a burglar smiling his way through the hotel while he ripped us off ? I can assure you that in the beginning if he smiled and said 'Hello', he was a crook. He certainly wasn't one of us. Even the old time Plaza employees who might recognize a face after a couple of years would have no idea of the name connected to that face. It struck me, that if our people who worked with each other every day couldn't call each other by name, smile at each other's familiar face, say good morning to each other, how on earth could they be expected to say astonishing things like 'Good morning, Mr Jones' to a guest? A short time after my arrival there, the prestigious Plaza staff were subjected to uncouth blasphemy. The Plaza name tag was born, and it became part of the staffs uniform. And the first name tag appeared on my own lapel, on the lapel of God Himself. And it's been on the lapel of every other staff member ever since. Every one ≈ every one, from dishwasher to general manager

at the Plaza Hotel, wears his name in large letters where every other employee, and of course, every guest, can see it. Believe it or not, Plaza people began saying hello to each other by name when they passed in the hall, or in the offices. At first, of course, our regular guests at the Plaza thought we had lost our cool and we were taking some kind of gigantic convention there. But now the guests are also able to call the bellmen, and the maids, and the room clerks, and the manager, by name. And we began to build an atmosphere of welcome with the most precious commodity in the world ≈ our names ≈ and our guests' names. A number of years ago I met a man named Dr Earnest Dikter. Maybe you know him. He was the head of a thing called the Institute for Motivational Research. And he loved to talk about service in the restaurants, and the lack of it. He had a theory that I just think is nuts. Dikter believed that when you go into a fine restaurant, you are hungrier for recognition than you are for food. Now just think about that. It's true. If a maitre d' says to me, 'I have your table ready, Mr Lavenson', I positively float over to my chair. And after a greeting like that, the chef can burn my rare steak for all I care. When someone calls you by name, and you don't know his or hers, another funny thing happens. A feeling of discomfort comes over you. If he calls you by your name twice, and you know you're not world famous, you have to find out his name. And this phenomenon we saw happening with the Plaza staff name tags. When a guest calls a waiter by name ≈ because it's there to be read ≈ the waiter wants to call the guest by name. Hopefully it will drive the waiter nuts if he doesn't find out the guest's name. The waiter will ask the maitre d'. And if the maitre d' doesn't know, he can see if they know at the front desk. Why this urgent sense of mission? What makes calling a guest by name so important? I am now about to tell you a secret which is known only in the hotel industry. The secret is calling a guest by name ≈ it is a big payoff ≈ it is called, and you can write this down if you want, a tip. At first there was resistance, particularly on the part of the executive staff to wearing name tags. I was suspected of being what the old-time hotel managers liked, being incognito when wandering around the hotel. It avoids hearing complaints and, of course, if you don't hear complaints, there are none. Right? Don't ever ≈ ever ≈ walk up to a guest and ask, 'Is everything all right?' In the first place, he may die of shock before he answers. We only had one staff member at the Plaza, only one out of 1400, who refused to wear a name tag. Not only was it beneath his dignity, but for 16 years he had always worn a little rosebud in his lapel. That was his trademark, he said, and everyone knew him by it. And he said he would resign before he would wear a name tag. His resignation was accepted along with that of the rosebud. And just between you and me, there were times when I regretted wearing a name tag myself, especially on a Plaza elevator where guests can become a little impatient. You see, the Plaza elevators were built at the same time as the hotel, 1907, and they are hydraulic. They are not electric. And a trip on a Plaza elevator is roughly the equivalent of a commute from Earth to the Moon. With my name tag on my lapel, all passengers held me personally responsible just as they do the pilot of a plane in a two

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hour holding pattern over the airport. I soon learned I couldn't hide, so I took the offensive, and feeling like a perfect idiot I smiled at everybody and said, 'Good Morning' to complete strangers, and this was in New York. Those guests who didn't go into shock smiled back. One man, with whom I had ridden all the way to the 18th floor, really caught the spirit. He answered my 'Good morning', when we got on in the lobby, with a smiling 'Good afternoon ' when we reached the top floor. About 500, almost a third of the staff of the Plaza, are Hispanic. I don't know if you know what that means in Chicago. That means they speak Spanish. That means they understand Spanish. It also means that they don't understand English, and they don't read English. But all our communications to the employees were in English. The employee house magazine, with all those profound management messages, and my picture, were in English. It seems to me that to say we had a language barrier at the Plaza would be an understatement. Before we could talk about strawberries, we first had to learn Spanish and put our house magazine in both English and Spanish. We started lessons in Spanish for our supervisors, and lessons in English for the staff. It was interesting to me to note that the staff learned English faster than our supervisors learned Spanish. With 1400 staff members all labeled with their name tags, and understanding why in both Spanish and English, with all of them saying 'Good morning', and smiling at each other, we were ready to make salespeople out of them. There was just one more obstacle we had to overcome before we suggested that they start selling: asking for the order. They had no idea what the product was that they were supposed to be selling. Not only didn't they know who was playing in the Persian Room and they didn't know that the Plaza had movies, full-length feature films without commercials, on closed circuit TV in the guest rooms. As a matter of fact, most of them didn't know what a Plaza room looked like unless they happened to be a maid, or a bellman who checked in guests. The reason that registration thought that $40 was the difference between the two suites was because he had never been in one. Of product knowledge, our future salespeople had none, and we had our work cut out for us. Today, if you ask a Plaza bellman who is playing in the Persian Room, he will tell you, Jack Jones. He will tell you it's Jack Jones because he has seen Jack Jones and heard Jack Jones, because in the contract of every performer there is a clause requiring that performer to first play to the staff in the Employees' Cafeteria, so that all the staff can see him, hear him and meet him. The Plaza staff now sees the star first, before the guests. And if you ask a room clerk or a telephone operator what is on TV closed circuit movie in the guest rooms, they will tell you because they have seen the movies on the TV sets which run the movie continuously in the Staff Cafeteria. Today, all the room clerks go through a week of orientation which includes spending a night with their husband, or their wife, or (laughter) ≈ just like a guest. They stay in a room in the Plaza. The orientation week includes a week of touring all the guest rooms, a meal in the restaurants, and the reservation room clerk gets a chance to actually look out the window of the suite and see the difference between an $85 and a $125 suite, because the $125 suite overlooks beautiful Central Park, and the $85 suite looks up the fanny of the A-Bomb building. The Plaza had a sales staff of three men, professionals. They were so professional that they never left

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the hotel. They were good men, but they were really sales servicemen who took orders that came over the transom. Nobody at the Plaza ever left the palace, crossed the moat at Fifth Avenue, and went looking for business. No one was knocking on doors. No one was asking for the order. The Plaza, as you may know, is a dignified institution. It was so dignified that it was considered demeaning to admit that we needed the business, no matter how much money we were losing. And if you didn't ask us, we wouldn't ask you. So there! We weren't ringing our doorbell or anybody else's. You had to ring ours. And this attitude seemed to be a philosophy shared by the entire organization, a potentially large sales staff of waiters, room clerks, bellmen, cashiers, doormen, maids, about 600 guest-contact employees. If you wanted a second drink in the Plaza's famous Oak Bar, you got it with a simple technique ≈ tripping the waiter, and then pinning him to the floor. You had to ask him. You'd think, wouldn't you, that it would be easy to change that pattern of Oak Room waiters. After all, they make additional tips on additional drinks. Simple sales training. Right? Right? I had our general manager for the Oak Room ≈ the maitre d' learn my new policy. It was inspirational. When the guest's glass is down to one-third full, the waiter is to come up to the table and ask the guest if he'd like a second drink. Complicated, but workable. Couldn't miss, I thought. About a month after establishing this revolutionary policy I joined the general manager in Oak Bar for a drink. I noticed at the next table there were four men all with empty glasses. No waiter was near them. After watching for fifteen minutes my ulcer gave out and I asked the general manager what happened to my second-drink program? And the manager called over the maitre d' and asked what happened to the second-drink program. And the maitre d' called over to the captain, pointed out the other table and said, 'Whatever happened to Lavenson's second drink program?' And the captain called over the waiter, and he broke out into a wreath of smiles as he explained that the men at the next table had already had their second drink. If you asked for a room reservation at the Plaza it was very simple. You were quoted the minimum rate. If you wanted a suite, you had to ask for it. If once there you wanted to stay at the hotel an extra night, it was simple ≈ beg. You were never invited, and sometimes I think there's simple pact among hotel men, it's actually a secret oath that you swear to when you graduate from hotel school, and it goes like this: 'I promise I will never ask for the order.’ When you are faced with as old and ingrained a tradition as that, halfway counter measures don't work. So we started a programme of all our guest contact people, along with all of our salespeople, using a new secret oath ≈ everybody sells. And we meant everybody ≈ maids, cashiers, waiters, bellmen, assistant manager, general manager, and me ≈ everybody! We talked to the maids about suggesting room service, to the doormen about suggesting our restaurants, not the one at the Pierre, to our cashiers about suggesting return reservations to the parting guests. And we talked to the waiters about strawberries. Now I don't know how it is in Chicago, but in New York the waiter at the Plaza makes anywhere from $12,000 to $20,000 a year. The difference between those figures, of course, is tips. I spent 18 years


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in the advertising agency business, and I thought I was fast computing 15 per cent. I am a moron compared to a waiter. Our suggestion for selling strawberries fell on very responsive ears when we described that part of our Everybody Sells Programme to the waiters in our Oyster Bar Restaurant. We had a smart controller, and he figured out that if ≈ with just the same number of customers already patronizing the Oyster Bar ≈ the waiters would ask every customer if he'd like the second drink, wine or beer, with his meal, and then dessert ≈ given only one out of four takers ≈ we would increase the Oyster Bar Restaurant sales by $364,000 a year. The waiters were well ahead of this lecture. They had already figured out that was $50,000 more in tips, and since there are 10 waiters in the Oyster Bar, I, with the aid of a pocket calculator, could figure out that that meant five grand more in tips per waiter. And it was at this point that I had my toughest decision to make since I'd been in the job, which was whether to stay on as president, or become a waiter in the Oyster Bar. But while the waiters appreciated this automatic raise in theory, they were very quick to point out the negative: 'Nobody eats dessert any more, ' they said, 'everybody is on a diet. If we served our specially, the Plaza chocolate cheesecake to everybody in the restaurant, we'd be out of business because they'd all be dead in a week.' 'So sell them strawberries,' we said, 'but sell them!' Then we wheeled out our answer to the gasoline shortage. It is called a dessert cart. It has wheels. And we widened the aisles between the table so that the waiters could wheel the cart right up to each table at dessert time without being asked. And not daunted by the diet protestations of the average guest, the waiter goes into raptures about the bowl of fresh strawberries on the top of the cart. There is even a bowl of whipped cream for the slightly wicked. And by the time the waiter finishes extolling the virtues of luscious strawberries, flown in that morning from California or Florida ≈ or wherever he thinks strawberries come from ≈ you, the guest, not only have an abdominal orgasm, but one out of two of you orders them. We showed the waiters every week what happened with strawberry sales. The month I left the Plaza they doubled again, and so had the sales, incidentally, of second martinis. And believe me, when you have a customer for a second martini, you have a sitting duck for a strawberry sale, and that is with whipped cream. The Plaza waiters now ask for the order. They no longer stare at your waistline and say, 'You don't look like you need dessert'. Think Strawberries' is becoming the Plaza's sales password. The reservationist thinks strawberries and suggests that perhaps you would like a suite overlooking Central Park rather than a twin-bedded room. Bellmen are thinking strawberries. Each bellman has return reservation forms with his own name imprinted on them as the addressee, and he asks you, in checking you out and into your cab, can he make a return reservation for you? The room service operators were thinking strawberries. They ask you if you'd like to watch the closed circuit TV film in your room as long as you're going to be there. No trouble, 'We put three bucks on your bill and you never notice it compared with the price of the sandwich'. Our telephone operators think strawberries. When you leave a wake up call, they suggest a Flying Tray Breakfast sent up to your room. 'You want the light breakfast, no ≈ ham and eggs; how about strawberries?’

We figured we added about 400 salesmen to the three-man sales staff we had before. Additional salesmen, at no extra expense, didn't exactly thrill my Board of Directors. But I will tell you what did tickle their fancy. The Plaza sales volume my last year there went from $27 million to a nice round $30 million. And our controller was seen giggling in his cage where we kept him, since our profits were double the year before's. I'll tell you what pleased me most. The Plaza sold $250,000 worth of strawberries in the last six months alone - $250,000 worth of strawberries! We created the Order of the Strawberry Patch. It's a little strawberry insignia worn on the employee's name tag, and any staff member, except those, naturally, in the Sale Department, who gives the sales manager at the Plaza a lead, just a lead, for rooms, or banquet business, gets to wear the little strawberry patch. He has joined the sales staff. And if that lead is converted into a sale, a savings bond is given to the person who suggested it.

Did you ever wonder why others make the big bucks?

Let me tell you what happened with that strawberry patch programme. There's a captain in the Oak Room ≈ his name is Curt, and he likes savings bonds. He also has a wild imagination, and he imagined that if a Plaza salesman would call on his wife's friend's daughter, who was getting married, the wedding could be booked at the Plaza. Obviously he was insane ≈ the Oak Room captain's wife's friend's daughter, who lived in Brooklyn, with a wedding at the famous Plaza. The Plaza salesman was persuaded to call the lady in Brooklyn. At first he didn't want to go. But he was given a powerful incentive like keeping his job. And, of course, you can guess the result, or, can you? Would you believe a $12,000 wedding? And that's not all. Just before I left the Plaza, Curt told me that his wife's friend's daughter had a sister, not yet married.

Your advertising should be here!

I believe I mentioned there's a laundry in the Plaza. Thirty ladies work in that laundry, three levels below the street. When they are working, these ladies don't exactly remind you of fashion models. They wear short white socks and sneakers, no make-up, and I suspect, although I have never been able to prove it, that three of them chew tobacco. You can imagine the skepticism which greeted one of those ladies when she asked if she could earn a strawberry patch for a lead on a luncheon of her church group. How many members? Only 500! At least 500 showed up for lunch at the Plaza dressed to the heavens and paying cash. That laundry lady is papering her walls with savings bonds. An Oak Room captain, and a laundry lady, like hundreds of other Plaza staff members, they wear the strawberry patch on their name tag. Everybody sells, and that includes me. I made sales calls with the Plaza salesmen, and I have only one regret. I got so worked up myself over the strawberry program that I was indiscriminate about whom I called on. And one day I called on Western International Hotels, and sold them the whole place. And lest I forget what I have been preaching. The Plaza staff awarded me this (indicating a strawberry patch on his tee shirt), the biggest strawberry patch of all. They told me if I wore it, I would never go hungry, and they must have been right, because I just had a free lunch.”

This article has been reprinted with the permission of Mr. James Lavenson’s family and the great support of Mr. Tony Eldred.

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HUMAN RESOURCES

How to become

A Great Boss If the boss is always late, punctuality becomes a minor obligation. If the boss is always in meetings, everybody is always in meetings. If the boss calls on customers, customers become important. Companies do what the boss does, so better be a good one! by Jeffrey J. Fox (1) Mr. Hart The great boss stirs the people. The great boss elevates, applauds, and lauds the employees. The great boss makes people believe in themselves and feel special, selected, anointed. The great boss makes people feel good.

6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Train the people. Listen to the people. Remove frustration and barriers that fetter the people. Inspect progress. Say "Thank you" publicly and privately. (3) Companies Do What the Boss Does

Great bosses are memorable. In sixty seconds, this boss created a memory to last over sixty years. The employee was twentyfour. It was his first real job. He was in the fifth week. That morning there was a knock on the six- foot-tall glass wall that framed his "office." "Excuse me, Mr. Godfrey, my name is Ralph Hart," said a courtly, exquisitely dressed man in his sixties. "Do you have a minute?" "Of course," answered the young employee, who recognized the name, but not the face, of the company's legendary Chairman-of-the-Board. "Thank you," said Mr. Hart. "Mr. Godfrey, may I tell you a few things about your company?" To the employee's nod, Mr. Hart continued: "Mr. Godfrey, your company is a firstclass company. We have first-class products. We have first-class customers. We have first-class advertising. In fact, sometimes we even fly first-class because the airlines are some of our first-class customers.� Extending his hand to the new employee, Mr. Hart paused, and with eyes riveted on Godfrey, he concluded: "And Mr. Godfrey, we only hire first-class people. Welcome to Heublein.� If you believe that able and motivated people are the key to an enterprise's success, then Mr. Hart just taught you a lot. If you don't believe able and motivated people are the key to an enterprise's success, then stop reading and give this book to someone else. (2) The Great Boss Simple Success Formula 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

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Only hire top-notch, excellent people. Put the right people in the right job. Weed out the wrong people. Tell the people what needs to be done. Tell the people why it is needed. Leave the job up to the people you've chosen to do it.

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

People take their cues from the boss. The boss sets the tone and the standards. The boss sets the example. Over time, the department, the office, the store, the workshop, the factory, the company begin to do what the boss does. If the boss is always late, punctuality becomes a minor obligation. If the boss is always in meetings, everybody is always in meetings. If the boss calls on customers, customers become important. If the boss blows off customer appointments, the sales force makes fewer sales calls. If the boss is polite, rude people don't last. If the boss accepts mediocrity, mediocrity is what she gets. If the boss is innovative and inventive, the company looks for opportunities. If the boss does everyone's job, the employees will let him. If the boss gives everyone in the organization a World Series ring, then everyone wants to win the World Series. If the boss leads a charge, the good and able employees will be a step behind. Great bosses understand this phenomenon. Great bosses position the organization to succeed, not with policies, but with posture and presence. If the great boss wants a policy of traveling on Sunday or practice before presentations, he or she travels on Sunday and practices presentations. If the boss doesn't want little snowstorms to make people late to the office, he gets in early the day of the storm and makes the coffee . . . and serves coffee to the stragglers as they arrive. Some bosses lead purposefully, others innately. Whether intentional or not, the great boss shapes the organization. Because the company does what the boss does, the boss better perform, or the company won't. Jeffrey J. Fox is the bestselling author of How to Become a Rainmaker and How to Become CEO and the founder of Fox & Co., a premier marketing consulting company in Chester, CT, USA. Prior to starting Fox & Co., he was VP Marketing and Corporate VP of Loctite Corporation. A frequent speaker to large organizations and groups of senior executives, he is a graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, CT, and has an MBA from Harvard Business School. Please visit Jeffrey J. Fox's website at: www.foxandcompany.com!


TRAINING

10 ways to maximize the

Impact of Training So you have decided to give your staff yet another training session? Good idea, but are you sure that your training really sticks? Apply the following 10 steps when training people and maximize the impact your training really has. by Ron Kaufman

T

raining your staff is an essential investment in today's changing and competitive environment. But just sending staff to attend training programs is not enough. You can maximize the impact of your investment by following these key guidelines for management and staff interaction "before", "during" and "after" the training program. Before the Training Program (1)

During the Training Program (6) If the course is more than one day long, have participants brief their managers as the course progresses. This can take the form of a short face-to-face meeting, a telephone call at the end of the day, or a summary fax written and sent overnight. Participants should identify what material was covered during the day, what new learning occurred, and what value they see in applying this learning back at work. (7)

Review with staff why they were selected for the program and discuss anticipated benefits for the organization. This shifts their perspective from purely personal, "I am going to attend a training", to personal and organizational, "The organization is making an investment so I can attend a training. The purpose of this investment is to help me upgrade my skills so that our organization becomes even more competitive and productive.�

Discuss any ambiguities or uncertainties that arise. Help participants identify examples of learning points in application on the job. Help formulate clarifying questions for participants to bring back to the course instructor on the following day. (8) If there are interim assignments to complete, engage others who are not attending the course in discussions and deliberations. This brings the learning experience back into the office, building internal an support network for during and after the training.

(2) Ask participants to talk about how they might benefit from the program. Where do they see opportunities for improvement in their own skills and/or behavior?

After the Training Program

(3)

(9)

Discuss and obtain agreement from your staff on their punctuality, attendance and participation in the training program. (4) Redistribute participants' workload during their absence so they do not return to a mountain of pending matters. This helps participants keep their minds focused on the course.

Ron Kaufman is an internationally acclaimed innovator and motivator for partnerships and quality service. He is the author of the bestselling "UP Your Service!" books and the FREE monthly newsletter, "UP Your Service!"ÂŽ For more information and a sample monthly newsletter, visit http://www.RonKaufman.com

Meet with course participants to review: * What were the most valuable learnings from this program? * What will you do differently now at work? In which situations? * When will you begin or try this new approach? * What suggestions do you have to improve or customize the course? * Who else should attend this particular training program?

(10) (5) If sending more than one participant, create a "buddy system" before they go. Buddy teams can ensure that both participants get maximum value and understanding from the training.

Discuss organizational improvement based upon the participants' new learning. Be willing to implement new suggestions on a trial basis with participants involved in tracking and implementation. (c) Ron Kaufman. Reprinted with permission.

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E L A S R FO

Advertising spaces available. Email us at ads@hospitaliy-maldives.com or visit www.hospitality-maldives.com for more information!


E L A S R FO

Advertising spaces available. Email us at ads@hospitaliy-maldives.com or visit www.hospitality-maldives.com for more information!


INTERNET

SPAM

Where it came from, and how to escape it! by Beka Ruse

SPAM has conquered the modern email world. Almost nobody is immune to it and most of us spend considerable time each day to figure out which emails are rubbish and which ones are not. Learn about where SPAM came from, and how to get rid of it most effectively.

I

n 1936, long before the rise of the personal computer, Hormel Foods created SPAM. In 2002, the company will produce it's six billionth can of the processed food product. But that mark was passed long ago in the world of Internet spam.

them? Unfortunately for many unsuspecting netizens not too hard. Many spammers also guess at "standard" addresses, like "suppor t@yourdomain.com", " i n f o @ yo u r d o m a i n . c o m " , a n d "billing@yourdomain.com."

Who Cooked This!? (How did it all start?)

Web Spiders -

The modern meaning of the word "spam" has nothing to do with spiced ham. In the early 1990's, a skit by British comedy group Monty Python led to the word's common usage. "The SPAM Skit" follows a couple struggling to order dinner from a menu consisting entirely of Hormel's canned ham.

Today's most insidious list-gathering tools are web spiders. All of the major search engines spider the web, saving information about each page. Spammers use tools that also spider the web, but save any e-mail address they come across. Your personal web page lists your e-mail address? Prepare for an onslaught!

Repetition is key to the skit's hilarity. The actors cram the word "SPAM" into the 2.5 minute skit more than 104 times! This flood prompted Usenet readers to call unwanted newsgroup postings "spam." The name stuck. Spammers soon focused on e-mail, and the terminology moved with them. Today, the word has come out of technical obscurity. Now, "spam" is the common term for "Unsolicited Commercial EMail", or "UCE."

ISP's offer vastly popular chat rooms where users are known only by their screen names. Of course, spammers know that your screen name is the first part of your e-mail address. Why waste time guessing e-mail addresses when a few hours of lurking in a chat room can net a list of actively-used addresses?

Why Does Bad Spam Happen to Good People?

The Poor Man's Bad Marketing Idea -

Chances are, you've been spammed before. Somehow, your e-mail address has found it's way into the hands of a spammer, and your inbox is suffering the consequences. How does this happen? There are several possibilities.

It didn't work for the phone companies, and it won't work for e-mail marketers. But, some spammers still keep their own friends-and-family-style e-mail lists. Compiled from the addresses of other known spammers, and people or businesses that the owner has come across in the past, these lists are still illegitimate. Why? Only you can give someone permission to send you e-mail. A friend-of-afriend's permission won't cut it.

Backstabbing Businesses Businesses often keep lists of their customers' e-mail addresses. This is a completely legitimate practice and, usually, nothing bad comes of it. Sometimes though, the temptation to make a quick buck is too great, and these lists are sold or rented to outside advertisers. The result? A lot of unsolicited e-mail, and a serious breach of trust. Random Address Generation Computer programs called random address generators simply "guess" e-mail addresses. Over 100 million hotmail addresses exist - how hard could it be to guess some of

44

Chat Room Harvesting -

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

Stop The Flood to Your Inbox Already drowning in spam? Try using your e-mail client's filters many provide a way to block specific e-mail addresses. Each time you're spammed, block the sender's address. Spammers skip from address to address, and you may be on many lists, but this method will at least slow the flow. Also, use more than one e-mail address, and keep one "clean." Many netizens find that this technique turns the spam flood into a trickle.


INTERNET

Use one address for only spam-safe activities like e-mailing your friends, or signing on with trustworthy businesses. Never use your clean address on the web! Get a free address to use on the web and in chat rooms. If nothing else helps, consider changing screen names, or opening an entirely new e-mail account. When you do, you'll start with a clean, spam-free slate. This time, protect your e-mail address! Stay Off Spammed Lists in the Future Want to surf the web without getting sucked into the spam-flood? Prevention is your best policy. Don't use an easy-to-guess e-mail address. Keep your address clean by not using it for spam-centric activities. Don't post it on any web pages, and don't use it in chat rooms or newsgroups. Before giving your clean e-mail address to a business, check the company out. Are sections of its user agreement dedicated to anti-spam rules? Does a privacy policy explain exactly what will be done with your address? The most considerate companies also post an anti-spam policy written in plain English, so you can be absolutely sure of what you're getting into. Think You're Not a Spammer? Be Sure.

QUICK SPAM FACTS #1 According to Message Labs Ltd. 73% of all emails sent worldwide during 2004 were spam. #2 The Radicati Group estimates that spam cost business a rough 41.6 billion dollars in 2004. #3 The Gartner Group calculated that a company with 10,000 employees loses an average of 13,000,000 dollars worth of productivity each year because of spam. #4

Many a first-time marketer has inadvertently spammed his audience. The first several hundred complaints and some nasty phone messages usually stop him in his tracks. But by then, the spammer may be faced with cleanup bills from his ISP, and a bad reputation that it's not easy to overcome.

AOL, the world’s no.1 internet provides, handles more than 20 billion pieces of spam each month.

The best way to avoid this situation is to have a clear understanding of what spam is: If anyone who receives your mass e-mails did not specifically ask to hear from you, then you are spamming them.

95% of all computer viruses are sent via email.

Stick with your gut. Don't buy a million addresses for $10, no matter how much the seller swears by them! If something sounds fishy, just say no. You'll save yourself a lot in the end. The Final Blow The online world is turning the tide on spam. In the end, people will stop sending spam because it stops working. Do your part: never buy from a spammer. When your business seeks out technology companies with which to work, only choose those with a staunch anti-spam stance. Spam has a long history in both the food and e-mail sectors. This year, Hormel Foods opened a real-world museum dedicated to SPAM. While the museum does feature the Monty Python SPAM Skit, there's no word yet on an unsolicited commercial e-mail exhibit. But, if all upstanding netizens work together, Hormel's ham in a can will far outlive the Internet plague that is UCE.

#5

#6 The number of spam emails is growing by an average 63% per year (Ferris Research). #7 The average email user will receive 3,700 unwanted emails per day in 2007 (Jupiter Research). #8 In 2003, junk email outpaced legitimate corporate mail according to MX Logic. #9 1 in 63 spam emails contains a virus. #10

Beka Ruse fights spam as the Business Development Manager at AWeber Communications. Ad tracking, live stats, and a strict anti-spam policy: Automated E-Mail Follow Up From AWeber. www.aweber.com/lsp.htm

The love bug virus alone cost the US economy an estimated 8.7 billion dollars worth of damage. #11 Over 60% of all spam emails originate in the United States, making it the by far largest spam generator. China is 2nd!

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TRAINING

How Training reduces

Management Fears by Chris Longstreet, CHA

Training can reduce turnover, Training can help you control costs, Training can improve services, Training can increase sales - but how? s a manager of a hospitality operation, what are your greatest fears or worries on a daily basis? Is it turnover and not having enough people to operate your establishment effectively? Is it cost management and the balance of expenses needed to run your property? Is it service and what appears to be a decline around the industry in service standards and expectations? Or, is it sales and revenue generation and how to meet and exceed budgets and forecasts?

A

There are many fears that managers and leaders face on a daily basis. There is, however, one solution that is common to each of the following questions: > How can you reduce turnover? > How can you control costs more effectively? > How can you improve service? > How can you increase sales? The answer is not new. The answer is not revolutionary. The answer is: TRAINING! How Can You Reduce Turnover? TRAINING! Training requires the communication of information and the development of skills. When employees are comfortable and confident in their jobs, and they can perform at or above standards consistently, they will stay longer on the job.

performing their duties correctly and efficiently. They will know what supplies to use, when to use them, and how to make fewer mistakes. When procedures are followed, costs are minimized as waste is reduced. For example, a line cook in a restaurant must know what ingredients to use and how much of it to use. If not trained properly, the excessive waste will occur - either too much of one ingredient will be used or the menu item will be made poorly and discarded by the server, or possibly returned by the guest. In both cases, waste has occurred. In both cases, effective training would have prevented the waste and costs would not have increased. In housekeeping, the same principles apply. If a housekeeper is not trained properly on how to clean a room, it will take longer to clean the rooms and fewer rooms will be cleaned. More labor dollars will be expended to clean the rooms. Or, if not trained properly, the cleaning solutions may be mixed improperly resulting in more chemicals being purchased. Effective training allows for rooms to be cleaned to standard, an adequate number of rooms to be cleaned per room attendant, and the correct amount of supplies to be used in the process. Whether it is labor expense or supplies, training can help control costs effectively. How Can You Improve Service?

Numerous studies show how much it costs to replace an employee. There are separation costs (administrative functions related to termination, severance pay, and increased unemployment compensation), vacancy costs (overtime pay for other employees completing the tasks of a vacant position), and replacement costs (recruiting, management time for interviews for example). By training our employees effectively, they will be employed for longer periods of time. This equates to lower human resource costs, management freedom to deal with other issues and operational concerns, and improved employee morale. How Can You Control Costs More Effectively? TRAINING! Effective training means employees are

46

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

TRAINING! When employees know how to perform their duties correctly, service standards can be achieved and exceeded. Employees can be trained on how to greet guests, serve guests, solve problems for guests, and interact with guests. Every employee in your organization may come into contact with guests and should be trained to handle an interaction appropriately. Great guest service requires training. Employees need to know proper service procedures so consistent experiences are provided to all guests. Employees must be trained not to discriminate between guests for any reasons. Do you have a standard greeting for those who answer the phone? Are employees empowered to know how to solve problems? Do they know and understand the steps in solving a guest complaint? Most service problems that occur in restaurants or hotels could be avoided through proper training.


How Can You Increase Sales? TRAINING! Every employee should be a part of your marketing effort. In the SHM/Innovision training program “Four Walls Marketing,” we show how every employee, from the front desk to housekeeping and engineering, contributes to the marketing and sales effort of a hotel. Front desk employees and reservation agents need to be trained on how to effectively upsell a room. By doing so, a greater ADR can be achieved. Servers need to be trained on suggestive selling techniques by encouraging patrons to order more profitable menu items. By selling appetizers, desserts, and even additional beverages, average checks will increase resulting in more money for the server and the restaurant. If your organization is larger, cross-selling other revenue centers is a must! Does your restaurant have a gift shop or store where guests can purchase items? Are guests encouraged and invited to take something home? In a hotel, are employees trained in how to sell the property’s revenue centers: restaurants, bars, activity centers, and services. When guests leave your property, so does their potential for spending money with your organization. Training clearly can increase sales and improve profits for any organization.

25 TRAINING TIPS 1. Be Prepared, know your material and have a plan for the lesson. 2. Don't be afraid to say you don't know. 3. Try to have more short sessions; especially at first. 4. Try to do mornings. People are more alert. 5. Use lots of variety: Role play, discussion, ask good questions, videos, tours or active activities. 6. Be tough! Make Rules! Create Expectations! 7. Make notes as you go to add to your repertoire. You will probably do this again. 8. Be aware of what learners already know; don't go into detail on existing knowledge. 9. Use study questions for review. Do not use them as course content.

Reduce Your Fears 10. Really watch the clock; set the pace; maintain the pace.

How can you solve your problems? How can you reduce your management fears? The answer is TRAINING!

11. Begin with a review. Work with the group for content. Use personal experiences. Make information relevant.

Questions for your consideration:

12. During group training, keep the group together.

1. Figure out how much it is costing your organization when you lose an employee. Do this as a team. Calculate the cost of turnover for your organization.

13. Protect your time. Be available but don't get taken advantage of.

2. Determine, with the assistance of your team, the greatest areas of waste or potential waste. Analyze each expense and then check to see if employees are properly trained in how to use the item or process. Consider supplies, energy and utilities, and operating procedures. Every saving is profit! 3. Review each step of the guest cycle for your organization. For each moment of truth (each moment of guest contact), do employees know how to act? Do housekeepers acknowledge guests as they pass? Does the bussing staff understand their role in guest service and interaction? Are all employees trained in what to say and how to say it? 4. Suggestive selling, upselling, and cross-selling are great ways to improve profits. Examine your opportunities for each and train employees on how to become great revenue generators. Don’t let the money leave when the guest leaves.

14. Be prepared for problems. Over prepare (i.e. have two videos) 15. Be prepared for dealing with language problems or literacy. Be aware and give extra attention. 16. Dealing with diversity in the class is a challenge. 17. Ask the class. Okay to single out. Sometimes need to coax the quiet. 18. Dealing with diversity in the class is a challenge. 19. The attitude and application section is difficult. May need to rely on supervisors for input. 20. Really emphasize style of communication. The way we talk and write says a lot about attitude. 21. Need to solicit support from other supervisors. Sell the program to other staff. 22. Be prepared for learners to start complaining about things to their supervisors. New information opens eyes!

Chris Longstreet is President and CEO of the Society for Hospitality Management. He also serves as a visiting instructor for the Hospitality & Tourism Management Program at Grand Valley State University. For more information, visit the SHM website at www.hospitalitysociety.org or contact Chris at clongstreet@hospitalitysociety.org!

23. Ethics: Find out who influenced them to get into this field; makes a great discussion. 24. You need to address the issue of power. If it is a motive or if it simply exists; get it into the open. 25. Use the internet for resources.

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FOOD & BEVERAGE

Eggs without shells I

n recent years, creative inventions and ideas have come up at a speed that one could lose count, all with the aim of making our lives easier and less complicated. Of course this trend doesn't stop at our private homes, the most useful and practical ideas become industrialized and are used on a big scale.

improved viscosity when frozen. Such blending with other ingredients takes place prior to pasteurizing. The mixture is then homogenized to produce a creamy well-mixed egg product. This also prevents the separation of egg components during storage. The egg mixture is then pasteurized, using the latest plate heat exchanger.

The latest innovative product to have reached the Maldivian islands is 'Egg Station', pasteurized liquid eggs packed in hygienic Pure-Pak® cartons, ready for immediate use at home or in any commercial kitchen. 'Egg Station', produced by Masterbaker Marketing Company in Dubai and distributed by Lily F&B Suppliers in the Maldives, is available in a choice of three formats: whole eggs, egg yolks or egg whites.

Current European legislation requires liquid whole eggs to be pasteurized at 64.4° C for a minimum of 90 seconds. Masterbaker's Egg Station is pasteurized at 63° C for 150 seconds instead. This time/temperature relationship effectively destroys all pathogens and reduces total bacteria counts to an extremely low level. After pasteurization the egg is rapidly cooled to below 4° C to await packaging. Double-jacketed tanks with chilled water ensure strict temperature adherence.

The first of a kind This is the first time that liquid eggs have been packaged in aseptic, gable top cartons in the region. Egg Station is currently supplying to restaurants, airlines, ship chandlers, five star hotels, premium bakeries and catering companies. Demand for pasteurized and homogenized eggs has been spurred by growing concerns over the spread of major avian influenza disease (commonly known as birds' flu) around the world. Masterbaker's new egg-processing plant is capable of producing more than 250 tons of liquid eggs per month.Fully automated technology ensures complete purification with heating and cooling processes that kill bacteria responsible for diseases such as avian flu, Salmonella (tourist bug) and E Coli.

Asceptic filling Masterbaker worked with its extensive network of suppliers to source asceptic filler from Europe and added specific features such as special nozzles in order to exactly match their needs for a highend quality machine and packaging. The result: Pure-Pak® packaging allows a two week shelf life of the product after defrosting and gives an ultralow TVC (total viable colonies) count of around 500 colonies per mg at 4° C. 99.9% of all microbes in the product are removed, yet still it retains its taste and functional properties. Clean eggs are a key to healthy food service in hotels and resorts and this becomes all the more imperative in the Maldives, where resorts are spread over several atolls and islands.

How does it work? Shell eggs are broken on automated machines at speeds ranging from 10,000 to 15,000 eggs per hour. The breaker at Masterbaker's own Dubai processing plant is the latest, in-line cracking type approved by legislation in all European countries. The cups of the breaker are “air-washed” for every single egg. The quality of the internal contents of the eggs is carefully monitored at this stage so that the final product contains no impurities. The eggs are either separated into whites and yolks or remain as liquid whole egg. The egg is then pumped through self cleaning filters which extract any shell particles and remaining chalaza (inner thick layer of the original egg) and cooled to less than 4° C. Many liquid egg products are now blended with other ingredients to produce more useful products for the baking industry, such as Whole Eggs with sugar for the cake industry, Egg Yolk with Salt or Egg Yolk with sugar for

48

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

Common shell eggs stored at room temperature (25° C) age more in a day than they would at 4° C in a week. Hence, it's obvious that shell eggs bear a huge potential for serious health disrupting microbes, especially in countries with a tropical climate, such as the Maldives. This risk even increases when shell eggs, as in most cases, are imported without refrigeration. A growing trend Although Masterbaker's product line is vast with traditional bakery offerings ranging from creams and yeast to chocolates, bread mixes and patisserie tools the company's most surprising growth is in the relatively new sector of pasteurized eggs, which already received HACCP certification from SGS and the Dubai Municipality. 'Egg Station' is now available in the Maldives, exclusively distributed by Lily F&B Suppliers (Tel.: 3332840).


SERVICE

10 Do’s and Don’ts for (email)

Customer Service by Nancy P. Redford

E

mail etiquette is the key to help calm down anxious and impatient customers. People assume that once they press the "send" button that we will get everything sorted out in an instant! Of course we all know that this is not an accurate representation of how things work. However, you should prepare yourself for the occasional hot tempered emails, regardless of whether their comments are unreasonable or not. Five Do's Of Good Customer Services

(2) Don't leave the problem unresolved or unanswered because you are offended by their tone or for any other reason whatsoever. (3) Don't neglect your customers by repeatedly delaying your response times. This will lead to negative feedback for your company and will inevitably cost you sales and damage your company’s reputation.

(1) (4) Thank them for contacting customer support in the opening sentence of your reply messages.

Don't allow a customer to bully you into doing something irrational or unethical just to please them.

(2) (5) Ask for further clarification if you are unsure of their requirements. Suggest some extra details to answer their query more effectively.

Don't lie to a customer about your product. Make sure your description and terms are clear and are easily accessible on your Sales Page, Thank You Page and receipts.

(3) Summary Address the support question within 24 hours of receiving their message to avoid unnecessary confrontation and dissatisfaction. (4) Offer further support if they require it and provide a sincere thanks for their custom. Also confirm that their message has been received and when they should expect a response.

Provide valuable information about your commitment to providing high levels of support by supplying your dedicated email address, fax, telephone number and mailing address. Place your company’s customer services details on your "Sales Letter Page" and the "Thank You Page" (after orders are paid for and completed). This helps to reassure the customer that they will be able to contact you for ongoing help and support throughout the order process and after sales.

(5) Be apologetic to their needs and offer complete support and reassurance. However if a customer is still unsatisfied with their order offer them a replacement or refund. Five Don'ts Of Customer Services (1) Don't use abrasive words in your email. Always remain calm, courteous and professional.

Once you have established a customer services support details you must ensure that all enquires are handled quickly and efficiently. If the enquiry needs more time to look up an order then send a confirmation email to let customers know that you have received their message and will get back to them in good time. Unreasonable delays in response times can irritate customers so it is important to address problems any questions within 24 hours to avoid negative feedback.

Nancy P. Redford shows you how to take online payments for any website without a costly merchant account. Stay safe on the internet by getting wise to Online Scams and Shams. Plus get some of the best business tools and resources for your home-based business at www.miriadz.com!

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RANKING

The 2005 World Ranking The 10 Largest Hotel Groups and the 20 Largest Brands. Annual Ranking of the world’s 10 largest hotel groups Hotels

Rooms

Change

Rank 2005 

Rank 2004 

Group

Country 2005

2004

2005

2004

Rooms

%

1

1

InterContinental Hotels Grp

UK

3,540

3,520

534,202

536,318

-2,116

-0.40%

2

2

Cendant

USA

6,396

6,399

520,860

518,435

2,425

0.50%

3

3

Marriott International

USA

2,600

2,655

478,000

479,882

-1,882

-0.40%

4

4

Accor

FRA

3,973

3,894

463,427

453,403

10,024

2.20%

5

5

Choice

USA

4,977

4,810

403,806

388,618

15,188

3.90%

6

6

Hilton Corp.

USA

2,259

2,142

358,408

344,618

13,790

4.00%

7

7

Best Western

USA

4,114

4,110

309,236

310,245

-1,009

-0.30%

8

8

Starwood

USA

733

774

230,667

237,934

-7,267

-3.10%

9

9

Carlson Hospitality Worldwide

USA

890

879

147,093

147,478

-385

-0.30%

10

11

Global Hyatt

USA

356

210

111,474

89,542

21,932

24.50%

Annual Ranking of the world’s 10 largest hotel brands Hotels

Rooms

Change

Rank 2005 

Rank 2004 

Brand

Chain 2005

2004

2005

2004

Rooms

%

1

1

Best Western

Best Western

4,114

4,110

309,236

310,245

-1,009

-0.30%

2

2

Holiday Inn

InterContinental

1,484

1,529

278,787

287,769

-8,982

-3.20%

3

3

Comfort Inns & Suites

Choice

2,415

2,366

182,038

177,444

4,594

2.50%

4

4

Marriott Hotels Resorts

Marriott Internat.

490

472

179,519

173,974

5,545

3.10%

5

5

Days Inn of America, Inc.

Cendant

1,872

1,892

153,701

157,995

-4,294

-2.80%

6

6

Sheraton Hotels & Resorts

Starwood

391

394

134,866

134,648

218

0.20%

7

7

Hampton Inn

Hilton Corp.

1,290

1,255

130,398

127,543

2,855

2.20%

8

9

Express by Holiday Inn

InterContinental HG

1,512

1,455

126,035

120,298

5,737

4.60%

9

8

Super Motel 8

Cendant

2,076

2,086

125,844

126,421

-577

-0.50%

10

10

Ramada Franchise Systems

Cendant

1,005

905

119,991

104,636

15,355

12.80%

11

11

Radisson Hotels Worldwide

Carlson Hospitality

434

441

100,733

103,709

-2,976

-3.00%

12

13

Quality Inns, Hotels, Suites

Choice

966

878

98,431

92,011

6,420

6.50%

13

16

Courtyard

Marriott Internat.

656

616

94,003

88,214

5,789

6.20%

14

14

Hyatt Hotels

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

213

210

93,474

89,542

3,932

4.20%

15

12

Motel 6

Accor

893

880

92,948

92,468

480

0.50%

16

15

Hilton Hotels USA

Hilton Corp.

230

230

89,256

89,012

244

0.30%

17

17

Mercure

Accor

720

726

85,352

86,239

-887

-1.00%

18

18

Hilton International

Hilton International

261

254

78,782

75,005

3,777

4.80%

19

19

Ibis

Accor

692

651

75,602

69,950

5,652

7.50%

20

20

Novotel

Accor

396

388

68,340

67,268

1,072

1.60%

Georges Panayotis is the Chief Executive Officer of the MKG Group, a worldwide operating lodging, catering and service industry consultancy firm. For more information visit www.mkg-consulting.com or write Georges at georges.panayotis@mkg-consulting.com!

50

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005


The one and only gift shop for Souvenirs, Gifts, Handicrafts all Made in Maldives by local talented artists making a living by selling their beautiful products.

gift shop Today we are faced with many challenges in a world, which is becoming more and more global. Maldives is no exception. Maintaining our cultural identity in this dynamic development process is one of these challenges. We must therefore draw upon our creative thinking to solve our problems, deriving experience from our rich cultural traditions using the most innovative technologies available to us.

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HUMAN RESOURCES

Poor EmployeecouldPerformance be Your Fault! We think that we can manage people, in reality we cannot! In order to develop motivated employees, you first need to create a successful organization and become an empowered and progressive leader. This means continually questioning your own actions and behavior. This is what places us in a better position to understand the way we perform, work and live. by Carole Nicolaides

T

oo often, I hear successful leaders say that, even though they meet their objectives and budget quotas, they continually face one major problem: poor employee performance and low interest from their people. They describe this phenomenon as a gap between performance and maximum potential. When I ask them why and how they still achieve their goals, I get almost always the same answer. "We meet our quota but at a very high price. There are a very few team members, such as myself, who do almost everything. I know my team can do better than this. I'm at a loss. While I don't expect them to shoulder the same level of responsibility as I do, I do expect them to show interest in their work and in the future of this company." All these are great questions and every manager needs to ask them from time to time. But instead of looking for the answer to a question of "Why," you'd be wiser to look for the answer to a question of "What." "What is causing this lack of motivation, performance and dedication in my employees?" You might be surprised to know that research shows 80% of the time people do not perform at their peak because of their manager. I know this may seem to hard to digest but if you want to grow a progressive team then facing facts is the first step to overcoming and moving forward. I will try to illustrate my point with a real example that happened to one of my clients. I was hired by the Group Vice President of a sales division to sit in on one of their annual strategic meetings and offer my advice at the end of the meetings. Directors and technical representatives were discussing the company's future, its existing status and especially what was next, especially after the major layoffs that occurred over past months. They were left with a very unmotivated workforce. I was listening silently and observing all participants. The tension was prevalent on almost everyone's face. They were passionate about their software product. They knew they had gained a good clientele that remained loyal to them for the past 5

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HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

years but they also knew that almost every other company of their caliber was forced to close its doors or cut its workforce in half due to the economic downturn. Something they had begun doing as well. At the same time, customer complaints started coming. The company's vision was cloudy and uncertain, and the threat of closure was looming. The Information Technology Director attested that "I know they can do better, this was not happening two years ago, they were more careful back then, anticipating software errors and responding to customer complaints immediately. All this has changed." At the end of the meeting, I was asked to sum up the most important points that I saw and what they could begin working on immediately. The main points that I gathered during the meetings were that almost every senior manager or director was complaining about their employee's performance, low involvement in taking new projects, taking responsibility for their work, apathy, lack of initiative, and low levels of attentiveness and involvement. As I was getting ready to speak up and announce my observations when I asked the leaders a question that drew silence for a few seconds. "What exactly are you trying to achieve and what do you really want your people to do to help you out?" Some of the leaders jumped in and gave me the typical business answers, "I want my people to be more proactive, care more about the business and of course be more empowered". Their answers triggered me to ask a second question "So, what are you doing exactly to breed such empowered people?" I also asked the following question "What are you really managing?" Half the room answered, "Our people", and then I went a step further. "Are you really managing, can you really manage people?" We think that we can manage people; in reality we cannot! It is so difficult to manage our own selves you can imagine how hard it is to manage other people. What you can manage, and should manage, is the context in which they work. You can influence and raise their level of involvement by being a


HUMAN RESOURCES

better leader and a role model that they will want to follow, but you cannot manage the person himself. So what exactly can you do if you are faced with these kinds of challenges? How can you increase employee performance, levels of involvement, desire for responsibility, interest, initiative, and attentiveness? When stepping up to the challenge of low employee performance, a plan is most definitely a necessity. In order to create an action plan, you must first answer some tough questions. You need to find out precisely what you dissatisfied with. Is your business as successful as you think it is? Compare your business with the competition. How much business did you gain in the last year? What are you doing to keep your customers coming back?

they know where they are headed but they believe their people can read their minds. I challenge you to reflect for a moment on how often you communicate explicitly to your staff. When was the last time you spoke to them about your passions? Have you ever mentioned a reason or explanation for your actions? Focus On Employee Behavior, Too: Employees get easily caught in the manus that the company is not nurturing them and that there is no camaraderie amongst the departments. Despite the politics that are prevalent in corporate America most of the problems arise because people are not or will not break out of their comfort zone. In order to change your world, you have to be willing to change. How can you help them see this without causing a defensive reaction? By patiently coaching them to change their mindset and behavior. Once you learn to become the coach, you can help your employees realize that they are the only ones responsible for their actions and choices.

Next, ask yourself, "What kind of manager am I"? In order to develop motivated employees, you first need to create a successful organization and become an empowered and progressive leader. This means continually questioning your own actions and behavior. This is what places us in a better position to understand the way we perform, work and live. A great starting point is to ask yourself a few more questions. What are you really trying to achieve a year from today? What are the company objectives three years from today? Simply stated, where do you see the company going within a year? Can you picture this as a journey? When will you arrive at your goal? Do you have a map at your disposal? This end destination is also your beginning point. With your new vision in mind you begin working backwards and communicating the end results you'll work toward to your employees. Your dissatisfaction about the gap between your people's performance and potential may arise from the fact that you are not creating an environment conducive to that behavior. Your control of owning each problem and love for your work may not help you to think strategically about how to provide them with the resources to be better employees. Your people need to know how to build and implement systems that will facilitate the process and how to draw and execute a realistic organizational structure. The only place they have to look toward is you - their manager. If they get no direction, no communication, no feedback‌ then they naturally become dissatisfied, lazy and uninterested. Below are the solutions to some challenges that can help you progress in creating an environment that will assist in your own growth, and that of your employees. Communicate Your Vision: This is one of the most challenging tasks for a leader. Too often leaders have visions and

Encourage Owning Your Own Problems: When your people come to you with questions and problems, what do you think they really want? Solutions? Yes, but more than that. The truth is that they want you to take ownership of their problem. They want you either to fix it or have someone else do the work that they found cumbersome or challenging. However, when employees aren't required to own their own problems, they become overly dependant on you and other team members. This leads to an expectation that all problems and challenges will be "fixed" by someone else. Rather than solving the problem for them, help them see the alternatives for solving the problem themselves. You can do this by asking great questions that will empower them to find the resources and processes that will get them where they want to go. People in general want to be great at their work. If they are not it is usually because either their managers or the company does not allow them to shine. Remember Buckingham's word from his famous bestseller "First Break All the Rules". Buckingham stated, "Employees leave not companies but leave their managers". If you want to improve your employees' performance you need to realize that their actions are directly related to how you behave. You have a great opportunity to shape the way they perform by influencing their expectations. You can influence what people expect and you can influence how people perform. If you want to change the results your employees are bringing you, you will have to change yourself first. Focus on your goals, expectations, contexts and your actions and let your people grow and be the best that they can be!

Carole Nicolaides is President and Executive Coach of Progressive Leadership Inc. who thrives on helping individuals and organizations achieve results by coaching them on how to discover and build upon their strengths and cultivate their soft-skill set. Visit www.progressiveleadership.com for more info & subscribe to her FREE ezine.

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

53


ACCOUNTING & FINANCE

Purchasing Ten Tips to Improve your Bottom Line. by James Covart

W

hat is purchasing? If you ask ten restaurant owners, you'll get ten different answers. Webster's defines purchasing as "to obtain by paying money or its equivalent." I suppose that describes purchasing in a nut shell, but as someone who makes their living purchasing food and supplies that doesn't do it for me. To me, the definition of purchasing is more intricate. The definition of purchasing needs to include development of product specifications, vendor evaluation and selection, bid solicitation, order computation (determining quantity), comparing prices, order placement, proper receiving, product evaluation, feedback and yes, payment. Now you know why I don't work for Webster's. Without any one of these elements, the definition of purchasing loses something. It works the same way in real life too. Take away a step and your purchasing program loses something. In many independent operations that I have worked with, the purchasing program consists of a yellow pad, a Rolodex of phone numbers and a chef who spends about half an hour a day calling in orders. This method may have worked years ago, but not in today's competitive environment. You can bet that the chains next door and across the street have a bunch of experts in their headquarters analyzing every item that goes into their operation. They put a lot of thought into the product specification, who brings it, how it is handled, what price they are paying for it and if there is a better or more cost effective product available. Every decision they make is a fully informed one. If you are going to be financially successful today you too need to make informed decisions. You can't afford to make decisions by default. Designing and implementing a successful purchasing program is not hard. It does however, take time. In future articles, we will take a look at each step along the way, but for now here are a few things you can do today to improve your purchasing program and start saving money: 1. Decide whether you are in business to make friends or money. It's great to have strong professional relationships with your suppliers, but this is not the best place to make friends. 2. Don't take relationships for granted. In the beginning, almost every client tells me, "I have been dealing with Joe/Jane Salesperson for years, he/she takes great care of me." This is usually a telltale phrase that indicates that the buyer is too complacent. We would all like to believe that the people we choose to do business with have our best interests in mind. The truth is, everyone has his or her own best interests in mind. This is not a fault, just human nature.

3. Ask your supplier how much an item will cost before placing an order. You will be surprised how much this will accomplish. You will be sending them the message that you care about cost. 4. Have two acceptable suppliers for each item and request bids from both. Not only will this help you in terms of price, but will also help with availability if supply becomes tight on an item. 5. Make two phone calls to your suppliers. The first call should be for pricing, and the second, a few minutes later, to place an order. This lets your suppliers know that you are checking out your options. 6. Ask for prices on more items than you expect to buy at that time. This will keep your suppliers wondering if they are losing items to another vendor with a lower price. 7. Know what your supplier or sales associate needs. With a large broadline distributor this is simple, your rep's job is to sell you as much as he or she can for the highest possible price. Most sales reps are paid on commission and his or her income is based on profit not volume. With smaller suppliers, their needs might include product volume or cash flow (read fast payment.) If you can fill the suppliers need, you are in a strong position to have your needs met. 8. Keep your supplier's costs in mind. If you can get two $600 deliveries per week instead of three $400 deliveries, this will save your supplier the cost of a delivery and enable him to charge you less. Don't kid yourself, somewhere along the line you'll pay for that special Friday night delivery! 9. Spot-check your deliveries. If it is sold by count, count it; if it is sold by weight weigh it. Any time you spend negotiating the best deal in town is wasted if you do not receive the right product at the price you agreed to. Even the honest mistakes cost you money. 10. No purchase is complete until it is paid for. "I give them all this business and now they are hassling me for a check!" No one "gives business." You do business together. Vendor financing can be very costly. Understand that the price you pay and the quality and service you receive are effected by your willingness to pay within the terms you have agreed to. Purchasing takes time but if the time is invested wisely, you will see the dividends. Money you save in purchasing tends to flow directly to the bottom line of your income statement. The biggest obstacle to a successful purchasing program is taking the first step.

Mr. James Covart is the founder and president of Hospitality Services Group, a cooperative purchasing group of independent operations located in New England, USA. Email him at jcovart@hsgpurchasing.com and visit www.hsgpurchasing.com!

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HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005


AWARDS

WORLDTheTRAVEL AWARDS 2005 Nominees The nominees are in, so let’s have a look at the ‘Indian Ocean’ category and wait to see who’s going to take home one of the prestigious World Travel Awards on November 13th 2005. Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline

Indian Ocean’s Leading Hotel

Air Seychelles Air Madagascar Air Mauritius British Airways Lufthansa South African Airways Air France

Hotel Acajou, Seychelles L’Archipel Hotel, Seychelles One&Only Le Saint Geran, Mauritius Banyan Tree Seychelles Château de Feuilles, Seychelles Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove, Seychelles One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives

Indian Ocean’s Leading Airport

Indian Ocean’s Leading Hotel Brand

Roland Garros International Airport, Reunion Island Seychelles International Airport, Seychelles Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Int’l Airport, Mauritius Male International Airport, Maldives

Hotels Constance Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts Beachcomber Hotels Kerzner International One&Only Resorts

Indian Ocean’s Leading Casino Resort Indian Ocean’s Leading Family Resort Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Beach Resort & Casino, Seychelles Berjaya Le Morne Beach Resort Hotel & Casino, Mauritius The Plantation Club Resort & Casino, Seychelles Indian Ocean’s Leading Destination Mauritius Seychelles Madagascar Maldives

Indian Ocean’s Leading Family Resort

Hilton Madagascar, Madagascar One&Only Le Touessrok, Mauritius

Voile d'Or Resort & Spa, Mauritius Soneva Fushi Resort & Spa, Maldives One&Only Le Touessrok, Terre Rouge, Mauritius Sainte Anne Resort, Seychelles Hilton Mauritius Resort & Spa, Mauritius

Indian Ocean’s Leading Car Hire

Indian Ocean’s Leading Resort

Hertz Avis Argus Car Rentals

Banyan Tree Seychelles The Oberoi, Mauritius One&Only Le Touessrok, Mauritius Soneva Fushi Resort & Spa, Maldives Taj Coral Reef Resort, Maldives Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives Coco Palm Resort & Spa, Maldives Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa La Pirogue, Mauritius

Indian Ocean’s Leading Conference Hotel

Indian Ocean’s Leading Golf Resort Lemuria Resort of Praslin, Seychelles Dinarobin Hotel Golf & Spa, Mauritius Belle Mare Plage Resort, Mauritius

56

Voile d'Or Resort & Spa, Mauritius Soneva Fushi Resort & Spa, Maldives One&Only Le Touessrok, Terre Rouge, Mauritius Sainte Anne Resort, Seychelles Hilton Mauritius Resort & Spa, Mauritius

HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005


AWARDS

Indian Ocean’s Leading Tourist & Convention Bureau

Mauritius’ Leading Golf Resort

Maldives Tourism Promotion Board Seychelles Tourism Marketing Authority Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority

One&Only Le Saint Geran Belle Mare Plage Resort Paradis Hotel & Golf Club Dinarobin Hotel Golf & Spa One&Only Le Touessrok

Madagascar’s Leading Hotel Hilton Madagascar Andilana Beach Hotel Colbert Hotel Ibis Antananarivo Maldives’ Leading Hotel One&Only Kanuhura Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Banyan Tree Maldives Coco Palm Resort & Spa Taj Coral Reef Resort Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa One&Only Reethi Rah Maldives’ Leading Resort Soneva Fushi Resort & Spa Taj Coral Reef Resort Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Lohifushi Island Resort Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa Coco Palm Resort & Spa Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa Huvafen Fushi Maldives Maldives’ Leading Spa Resort Soneva Fushi Resort & Spa Banyan Tree Maldives Coco Palm Resort & Spa Cocoa Island Huvafen Fushi Maldives Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa Mauritius’ Leading Hotel Royal Palm Hotel The Oberoi Le Prince Maurice One&Only Le Tousserok One&Only Le Saint Geran Mauritius’ Leading Resort The Oberoi Taj Exotica Resort & Spa One&Only Le Touessrok Belle Mare Plage- The Resort Paradise Cove Hotel & Spa La Pirogue The Residence Voile d'Or Resort & Spa Hilton Mauritius Resort & Spa

Mauritius’ Leading Spa Resort Hilton Mauritius Resort & Spa The Residence Legends Taj Exotica Resort & Spa One&Only Le Saint Geran The Oberoi Le Prince Maurice Mauritius’ Leading Villa Bel Air Villas Du Paradis Villa Coconut The Villa Quatre Epices Reunion Island’s Leading Hotel Hotel Le Saint-Alexis Les Villas Du Lagon Resort Hotel Coralia Saint Gilles Mercure Creolia Hotel Blue Beach Seychelles’ Leading Hotel Banyan Tree Seychelles The Plantation Club Resort & Casino Le Meridien Fisherman's Cove Château de Feuilles Lemuria Resort of Praslin Hotel Acajou Hotel L’Archipel Seychelles’ Leading Resort Lemuria Resort of Praslin Banyan Tree Seychelles Fregate Island Private Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove Sainte Anne Resort & Spa Sainte Anne Resort Seychelles’ Leading Spa Resort Banyan Tree Seychelles Belle Marge Plage Lemuria Resort of Praslin HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

57


FOOD & BEVERAGE

A Critical Look at

Chef Training by Tony Eldred

The stress of becoming the meat in a triple sandwich between the owner, staff and customer has caused a disturbing number of young cooks to rethink their careers and leave the trade. On the surface, an opportunity for young people to progress at an early age may not seem such a bad thing, but in reality the reverse can be true.

O

ur current shortage of experienced cooking staff is creating the situation where young and inexperienced cooks are being pushed into supervisory positions before they have the skills or the experience to handle these roles. Rapid expansion of the industry has caused supply and demand problems, and it has reached the point where it is now common for third and fourth year apprentices to be in charge of kitchen staff. This problem is made worse by business owners who deliberately try to save money by hiring apprentices to run their kitchens instead of fully qualified cooks.

On the surface, an opportunity for young people to progress at an early age may not seem such a bad thing, but in reality the reverse can be true. The stress of becoming the meat in a triple sandwich between the owner, staff and customer has caused a disturbing number of young cooks to rethink their careers and leave the trade. I first pondered the problems of chefs in supervisory positions when I was a Trainee Hotel Manager in the late 60's. Then, as now, chefs had a reputation for bizarre human relations behaviour, and this was personally confirmed by being on the receiving end of some serious tantrums from the kitchen. The Manager at the time dismissed my queries regarding these incidents with such broad statements as: ‘All chefs are like that’ — a sentiment I have heard repeated many times over the years. When you examine the training given to cooks during their apprenticeship there is a natural concentration on the technical skills of food preparation — after all, cooking is a craft trade. The problem is, when you take a person who has been educated to work in a creative way with inanimate objects and place them in charge of people who do not always behave predicably, open conflict and other forms of potentially destructive behaviour often result. It was with interest that during several years spent as Training Manager of the Hilton Hotel Melbourne, I noticed similar problems occurring with some of the noticed similar problems occurring with some of the Hotel’s maintenance tradesmen. When they were placed in a supervisory position after receiving only technical training, the results were

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HOSPITALITY MALDIVES NOVEMBER 2005

seldom satisfactory and the behavior was similar as that I observed within the kitchen brigade. The progression from trade through supervision to management is really a second apprenticeship. A few lucky people are natural leaders — of the rest, a fair percentage have the capacity to learn to be a good leader and the remainder should never be put in charge of other people. If you put a cook who has had no supervisory training in charge of others, there is a fair chance there they will have difficulties with staff handling. This can be frustrating in the extreme for them, and can lead to the point where their stress is relieved in a destructive manner — the infamous tantrum being a notable example. Effective leadership requires a number of skills on in addition to those present at the end of a technical apprenticeship. Demonstration of performance in the basic cooking role does not automatically make the person ready for promotion. In fact, promotion often leads to the loss of a good cook and the gain of an ineffective Chef. To learn appropriate leadership skills is not a terribly expensive or time consuming process; the education is available through outside training courses provided by independent training organisations like ours, or some hospitality colleges. To become good at them is another matter — like any skills, practice makes perfect, and proficiency can take time. The growth of our industry is opening up opportunities for a new breed of ‘managing chefs’ to continue on a career path which was not previously available. Unfortunately, many cooks will never be able to take advantage of these new positions because they do not have the skills.

Tony Eldred is the Managing Director of hospitality management consultants Eldred Hospitality Pty. Ltd. For more information visit www.edltrain.com.au or email Tony directly at teldred@eldtrain.com.au!


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Hospitality Maldives Issue 1