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I m p r e s s u m Published by Beyond Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. G. Kathlyn, L4 Daisy Magu, Male Republic of Maldives Managing Editor David Kotthoff

Dear friends and colleagues,


Welcome to the 18th edition of Hospitality Maldives.

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Last week something surprising happened, something I’d like to share with you. One

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evening I was at Male’ International Airport to catch a flight to Colombo. Only with a cabin trolley and plenty of time in hand, I strolled towards the first of several passport and ticket check points at the entrance to the departure hall. The entire airport seemed

Contributors Aaron Kamanga Adaaran Resorts Anantara Maldives Bill Caraway Bert Van Walbeek Carlson Hotels Worldwide Daydots Doug Kennedy Dr. Rick Johnson Hulhule Island Hotel Jayson Pearl John R. Hendrie Kelley Robertson Kristie A. Grzywinsky Marcia Conner Mark Hamister Nalin Amendra Neil Salerno Qatar Airways Roberta Nedry Ron Kaufman Will Maguire

procedures after what had been a long and stressful day at the office.

editor’s note

fairly deserted, which lifted my hopes for a speedy run through check-in and emigration

When I approached the entrance to the departure hall, I walked straight towards the

only officer on duty that moment, a middle-aged Maldivian man. The moment he saw me coming, he put on a pleasant smile and greeted me with a friendly ‘Good evening Sir.

How are you today?’ (which itself would already deserve mentioning). I handed him my passport and ticket, latter of which he used to check my departure flight. He then had a

close look at my passport, confirmed that I was who I pretended to be, looked up, handed

me my travel documents and said ‘Thank you very much Mr. David and have a pleasant flight. Hope to see you again soon.’

I was stunned. Never before, at what must be well over 50 flights in or out of Maldives,

had anyone ever been that sincerely courteous, leave alone use my name. And that

coming from a gentleman who most likely has no background in hospitality or formal education in a service related field, my first thought was ‘this guy belongs into a resort, he’s a natural’!

On second thought, I realized how well this 20-second incident truly reflects everything Cover Photo: Anantara Resorts Maldives Throughout history, salt has been such as important element of life that it has been the subject of many stories, fables and folktales. Some cultures even ascribe magical powers to it. This story of a man who holds the unusual position of salt sommelier at Anantara Resort Maldives’ Fuddan Restaurant is one that shouldn’t be taken with a pinch of salt though… read more on page 42.

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. Beyond Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. or any of its associates cannot be held responsible for the misuse of the information and intellectual property provided in this magazine. Opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the writers and not necessarily endorsed by the publisher.

we work for day in and day out. The moment I left the officer to proceed for check-in, my

long day was forgotten and I myself had subconsciously put a smile on my face. And if I still remember this comparatively unimportant moment a week later, imagine with which sort of feelings and memories a tourist will fly home after receiving the same treatment

for a whole week or two. While pumping millions of dollars into ever new resort concepts,

bigger rooms and modern facilities, we should never forget what the most fundamental aspect of our industry really is: being hospitable! I hope you will all enjoy this issue of our magazine and look forward to receiving your feedback and comments as always. Happy reading!

Yours in hospitality,

David Kotthoff

Last Words 68

Ten Basic Tips to Maximize Success 66

Handle Upset Customers 64

How to Sell to Anyone 62

Whos Got the Monkey Now? 58

The 10 Most Stupid Questions 56

What the heck is Hotel Web Site SEO, anyway? 52

What is ‘Legendary Service’? 50

The Visitor Experience is Impacted Before They Get to Your Door - The 48 Value of Customer Service

The Art of the Question! 44

My Anantara - Salts of the Earth 42

Food Safety Training Can Help You Stay Out of Dangerous Water 40

10 Elements Of Effective Leadership 34

30 Dress for interview success:

26 Hospitality Bites

24 Training on External e-mail Communication

22 Never Give Up and Other Lessons Hotelier Mark Hamister Learned Before Age 18

21 How to Make Your Customers Forget about Price

18 I want to Speak to a Supervisor

14 What is Your Motivation Style?

12 The Training Train!

08 A Chilling Thought: Ice: The Food You Need to Think About

03 Editor’s Note


A Chilling Ice: The Food You Need to Think About If you’re likemost operators, you spend your days educating your team on safe food handling, keeping your restaurant sparkling clean and sanitized, proactively searching for health inspection issues and helping ensure that your staff works effectively in a safe environment. With all of this, there is not much time to think about ice. Unfortunately, you’ll need to add ice to this list of things to think about. Consider Ice A Food The majority of the foodservice industry knows, but for those of you who don’t: ice is a very important food, a staple if you will. It’s found everywhere you eat and drink. The misconception that many foodservice individuals have is that cold temperatures mean bacteria are not present. This is completely false. Instead it essentially preserves the bacteria until conditions are more favorable for rapid growth.While the cold temperature does slow bacteria reproduction, once ice begins to melt and conditions for reproduction improve, bacteria populations can explode. At this point, the potential of cross-contamination dangers can and will put your company’s brand at risk.

Think Risks



It’s a proven fact that ice is susceptible to the same cross-contamination risks as any other food. Think for a moment about the flow of ice from the ice tote to the patron’s glass. At what point can ice become contaminated: bare hand contact, dirty utensils, contaminated containers? Deadly pathogens can be carried by contaminated ice. In fact, ice has been found to contain a wide variety of pathogens, from Salmonella and E. coli to Hepatitis A. Some top restaurant operators have studied ice transport closely. By micro testing, these operators have determined that to be really safe, you should treat ice totes like you treat dishes and tableware. Implement A Plan By implementing an ice handling safety plan, you not only help prevent dangerous crosscontamination, but you may also divert other daily challenges you may face. The fact is a good system, with its practices and tools, will help keep your ice supply safe for your guests. A system should include using dedi-

cated, ice-only scoops and totes as standard operating procedure. This will go a long way to help ensure your patrons are not exposed to dangerous bacteria.And with today’s open kitchen concepts, customers are paying more attention to how their food and ice is handled. When patrons notice employees touching ice right after handlingmoney, it naturally leads them to ask what other food safety practices this restaurant is neglecting. Keep Your Inspectors Happy More and more health inspectors and food safety audit firms are treating ice as a “ready to eat” food. Since there should be no bare hand contact with ice, traditional ice scoops and totes weren’t designed to prevent contact. For this reason, inspectors have mandated that some restaurant employees must wash their hands and then put on gloves when switching from touching money to handling ice. If your staff had to follow a similar procedure, can you imagine the ramifications to your service times and bottom line? Fortunately, there are ice scoops designed with hand guards that prevent contact with ice while preparing beverages. There are also ice totes designed to prevent the hand contact areas on the bottom fromtouching the floor, to make stocking ice more sanitary.

Thought It’s a proven fact that ice is susceptible to the same cross-contamination risks as any other food. Train Your Employees

Invest in Quality Products

Handle With Care

Besides having dedicated ice-only products, the most effective way to prevent ice contamination is to train employees to never handle ice with their hands. Instill in your employees the importance of cleaning and sanitizing ice totes regularly. Make sure they understand the dangers they prevent by storing buckets in the recommended off-the-ground and upsidedown position. This preferred storage position can help prevent dust, flies and other contaminants from falling into the totes. Dedicating ice-only utensils will help ensure the equipment used to scoop and transport ice will not be contaminated with germs. For example, by providing caddies for ice scoops it gives the staff a visual reminder as where to store them safely and between use.

Most food safety ice scoops and totes are constructed with durable transparent polycarbonate material – the same material used in football helmets and motorcycle windshields! As the toughest plastic available, it won’t chip, crack or rust and holds up to years of high volume use. Scoop holders with removable bottoms make cleaning easier and totes with sealed grab handles help prevent bacteria from hiding in hard-to-clean areas.

Since ice is a food, it should be handled and protected from dangerous germs just like every other product in your kitchen. Employees are powerful allies in the fight against foodborne illnesses. Because they are in the trenches every day, employeesmust be educated on the issues and taught proper procedures. The nature of ice makes it easy to forget that it, like all food, can be the culprit behind a foodborne illness outbreak. So as you work on your food safety plans take a moment to think about your ice – and how safe ice handling can help keep your customers safe and your operation thriving.

Also, remember, ice machines need to be cleaned and sanitized often. Mold and slime can build-up in the machine allowing bacteria to grow which will then contaminate the ice you’ve worked so hard to keep clean. Put all this together and you reduce replacement costs and allow for faster and easier cleaning and sanitation.

Jayson Pearl is the Director of Marketing for San Jamar, overseeing food safety product innovation. This article reprinted with permission by Daydots 2008.

A day with Nashid... Mr. Nashid, You are a very popular musician in Mal-

trio line up, which really goes well. And playing for

How important do you think is portability when it

dives with international achievements, since how

a bigger venue I would sort of need more than one

comes to Maldives and far spread resort islands?

many years have you been involved in this profes-

system so that way it has the advantage like if you

Nashid: It is a must. I think every band, especially

sion as a musician?

have sufficient number of L1 then you may be able

a trio or even a duo or all the small bands you know

Nashid: I first started playing professionally way

to produce and monitor the same thing in a big-

performing in small venues would go for an L1. It’s

back in 1980. So it’s about 27 years now.

ger audience. But I haven’t tried that. I have tried

easy and convenient for them to pack and unpack

only with 2 systems in Bandos. Overall, so far it has

and move it to places, whether it involves putting it

That’s a very long time.

been good, the end product is nice, and production

into places like a seaplane, speed launch, dhoni or

What are your key strengths as a musician? Or

quality is excellent. It really has that sound qual-

even the boot of your car.

which areas do you concentrate on in your band?

ity- actual naturalness of the voices and the instru-

Nashid: In the Band from the time we started I

ment, and it has a great advantage of having the

Do you recommend resorts to own a L1 as a part of

have been during almost everything .But mainly I

self monitoring system.

their investment on guest entertainment? Why? Nashid: Actually it’s a good idea to keep just one

am the lead guitarist and the singer in the band. But I do concentrate on other parts as well just to

What is the impact of L1 on your performance as

L1 in the resort just in case you have musicians

keep the whole thing going.

against the standard sound system that you have

coming and they don’t have to bring their speakers.

been using?

The resort can provide a good sound system that

How did you know about Bose L1?


they can just plug-in and play.

Nashid: Bose L1, that’s when I visited your show-

system, a standard sound system would have sepa-

room. I was actually looking for a compact sound

rate monitors which means you may not be hear-

Because, they often do keep organizing evenings

system and then someone told me that a new sys-

ing the same thing what the audience would be

where in there is a night with musicians.

tem is now available from Bose. So I went to your

hearing. When playing with the L1, I have noticed

Nashid: Lots of resorts do have entertainment pro-

showroom and found that L1 is very slim and quite

that my singing and playing and everything are just

grams. Most of the resorts don’t have a good sound


heard so distinct in the mix that I can really correct

system. And most of the resorts now don’t go for

myself and it has done a really good job for me.

big bands they go for just trios or a duo. To have a

What are the key benefits of L1 as compared to the

All the little errors that you make would normally

sound system would be an advantage. So the resort

sound system that you have been using earlier?

never be heard through a standard monitoring sys-

can have good quality sound all the time.

Nashid: With L1 I have an advantage especially

tem. Bose L1 is so clear that a musician would hear

when I am doing smaller gigs like a trio or a duo.

exactly what he is doing; all the little errors can be

Do you recommend fellow musicians to own a L1?

L1 is designed to be kept behind the musicians so

corrected during the performance so every perfor-


when we play we can hear our self. So we can hear

mance is like an experience.

Nashid: For all the small bands I would say yes. I

As I was telling you about monitoring

am not in a position to still say for the big bands to

what the audience is hearing. That has a great advantage actually .When we play we don’t need to

So it helps you to overcome any errors.

go for an L1 because I myself have not really expe-

have a separate monitoring system. So that’s quite

Mr. Nashid, you have been associated with Bose L1

rienced that at the moment. I would say that when

an advantage compared to other systems.

in Maldives for quite some time now. You have per-

I have performed using five or six L1’s.

formed using the L1 at many resorts. How has the

But yes for the soloist and for duo band and trios, for

So basically you are trying to highlight that you can

response been from the audience?

small venues, I would definitely recommend a L1.

actually hear what your audience hears.

Nashid: The response from the audience has been

Nowadays, up market resorts don’t need that big

Nashid: Exactly.

good, I would say nobody has complained so far,

band sound. They need something totally relaxing

and everyone has come looking for the speakers

and you know more creative music doesn’t require

Does L1 match your expectations from a profes-

on the stage and that’s the kind of complain I have.

big volume. And working musicians today must be

sional sound system?

Where are the speakers? Normally the speakers

able to be flexible even with the repetual songs and

Nashid: Like I said I have tried L1 at different

are up in the front. But with L1, they don’t see the

should be able to play it, mould it or rearrange his

venues on different occasions for different line ups

speakers but hear very good sound. Yeah it’s good.

music. If they have a good sound system then all

in my band. Because I appear as a soloist, some-

People like it.

the problems will be solved. I think yes it would be

times as a duo, as a trio and even as an 8 piece

a good idea for small bands to own a L1.

band. So I have used L1 quite commonly for my Ok Mr. Nashid thank you for your time, and thank you for this wonderful interview.

Training Train!


Key points in providing exceptional service training experience for hotel employees

ALL ABOARD! Interviews are complete. New employees are hired. Orientations are scheduled. Training is about to begin. How does your organization view and define the training experience before it takes place or before it leaves the station? Who are your lead engines and how will they fuel the service attitudes and disposition that will be a lasting foundation for new employees? What criteria and guidelines should be used for trainers and those who teach the examples that will be translated into real results for guests? Training employees can be a whole service excellence experience before training is even implemented. Trainers are role models who not only instruct service skills but instill service attitudes. Most trainers deliver procedural information that is critical to job success and show employees exactly how to perform their jobs but how many view the training function as an opportunity to also create a service excellence experience for those same employees? How employees are treated is how they will in turn treat their guests or customers. Training, beginning from orientation, is a tremen-

dous opportunity for employers to rev up the engines for service success. Taking time to understand, define and map out what a guest experience is and how each employee plays a critical role in defining that experience for each guest is powerful. And, employees will watch how guests respond as they are going through the training. Effective role models are effective trainers, and in turn, leaders. I’ll never forget visiting a retail store in a major hospitality venue and encountering a training session in progress. I was there as a customer, getting ready to make a significant purchase, and was actually moved aside to make room for the training group. As the new trainees became a priority, I, the guest, was “in the way” of the training session. It appeared that my interest and questions were interruptive to the training session and I was moved aside. A wall was created between these “on the job” observers and a real, live guest. The trainer of the group led this charge and was the role model of guest insignificance. She was intent on showing the group how to do their jobs and through her own example, did not show appreciation for a guest, ready to make a purchase. As a

trainer, she was intent on what she needed to accomplish, with or without the guests who make the business happen. What lesson did that teach to these new team members? These new recruits may have felt temporarily important as the priority of the day but they were subconsciously learning that the guest is insignificant to the job they needed to perform. They should have been learning that the guest IS the key to the success of their job and how they manage the experience for the guest will greatly impact the results. It all starts with defining the Guest Experience. What does any hotel or hospitality organization want guests to experience when visiting their property or venue or when using their services? Once the desired guest experience is defined, management should map out how personnel in each role can positively impact that guest experience. This should be incorporated into each job description, before candidates are even considered. A service mindset and expectation should be introduced in the interview to gage a potential employee’s effectiveness in service delivery. This requires that those doing the interviews reflect that same service mindset

and understanding. Just talking about it does not do the trick. An interviewer or human resources executive must fully understand what the guest experience is all about and be able to “walk the talk” before anyone is ever hired.

Once hired, the orientation of employees will continue to set the stage of how they will eventually perform “on stage.” Disney recognizes the power and value of the orientation. They go above and beyond to inspire and excite employees about the huge opportunity they will have to please guests through their roles. The orientation team motivates new employees and creates a fantastic experience for them before they even go “on stage.” They treat new recruits like they would soon be treating guests. They instilled the spirit of the job by making each candidate feel special each step of the hiring process. By the time, employees do go to work or “on stage” in Disney language, they are so ready, so motivated, so enthusiastic and so service-oriented. Delivering anything less than exceptional service was not an option as that is how the entire training was conducted. Are those that do orientations mechanical and perfunctory in their actions or do they truly embody what new employees will be expected to deliver? Has the routine and checklist of interviewing and orientating become too mundane or too removed from the mainstream of exceptional service delivery? And, when training takes place outside office doors and allows new employees to interact with guests “on the job” as they are being trained, watch out as well. Many times when beginning a meal at a restaurant, two servers will present themselves. One is the regular and one is the trainee. Sometimes, the trainee is introduced and sometimes he or she is not. This is annoying. Guests may not

want to be the guinea pig for training. Guests may not want to listen to explanations that talk around them instead of to them. Guests may not want the experience to take longer for the sake of the apprentice.

However, if a trainee learns in advance, how to become part of the experience and minimize impact, if any, to the guest, everybody wins. The guest may actually feel like two people are a bonus rather than a hindrance. This requires the one doing the training to be more aware and proactive with the new trainee before leaving the station. Trainees should be prepped on how to interact with guests from the first point of contact, whether they are fully trained for their jobs or not. Guests can get frustrated very quickly when they are listening to trainers explain how to serve a guest right in front of them and they are that guest! Guests can feel momentarily invisible and become cargo shunted aside for the sake of training. This was my experience in the retail store mentioned earlier. And, creating a training experience is not only for new recruits. Recurring training should get the same kind of attention and feel from trainers. People who have been on the job for awhile may need a fresh perspective and enhanced “behind the scenes” experience to get remotivated and recharged. The Training Train should be prepared to make each training moment, old or new, an exceptional service moment, an opportunity to serve internal passengers with delicious food for thought.


Make sure those in a training role understand what the guest experience is all about and what the service touchpoints are that make any job successful


Recognize that the interviewing process is the beginning of a candidate’s guest experience. What takes place in the interview, orientation and training is what will take place with guests. Attitudes are established early on, based on initial role models.


Ensure trainers can relate to employees on a variety of levels and platforms. Everyone learns and absorbs information based on their past experiences. They link new information with things they can relate to and with concepts that may be familiar. Trainers can use this premise as a foundation for introducing meaningful service touchpoints that will meaningfully impact the guest experience in whatever role they have.


Keep trainers in guest eyesight. Don’t let them stay behind office doors and quietly secure candidates. Encourage them to frequently be “on stage”, “on the floor”, “in the station” and stay connected to guest issues and needs and the things that make the service difference.


Do not use guests as training ground or interrupt the flow of service delivery for training sake. Do prep trainees to be part of the experience even while learning their new jobs.


Guests are not invisible while training takes place. Make guests a priority before the training train steams ahead.


Well-trained and motivated employees are those that stay longer too. Retention and low turnover are positive and profitable service results.

Exceptional service delivery begins at the first point of contact for employees as well as guests. Make the journey a service excellence experience before it reaches the destination. Make sure each link of the track is connected for the training train. Full steam ahead for guest service!

To ensure training gets on and stays on the right track, keep the following guidelines in mind:

Roberta Nedry is President of Hospitality Excellence, Inc., consultants in guest experience management and audits, service excellence training for management and frontline employees and concierge development. To learn more about the programs her firm offers and their service expertise, visit She can also be reached at 954-739-5299 or

What is Your

Motivation Style? Motivation is the force that draws you to move toward something. It can come from a desire or a curiosity within you or can be from an external force urging you on. In either case, you make the decision to seize or to skip a chance to learn. Motivation styles vary for different situations and topics but nonetheless, you draw on them all the time, especially when you try to learn something challenging. If you can recognize your predominant motivational style you can identify the situations that best satisfy your needs. Likewise, you can’t motivate anyone else. All you can do is invite them to learn.

I’m proud when I ...

When online, I like to ...

To relax, I tend to ...

In school, I liked to ...

Take a few minutes to complete the following questionnaire assessing your preferred mot vation style. Begin by reading the words in the left-hand column. Of the three responses to the right, circle the one that best characterizes you, answering as honestly as possible with the description that applies to you now. Count the number of circled items and write your total at the bottom of each column. These questions have no right or wrong answers. Your response offers insight about how you’re motivated to learn.

Get things done. Help other people. Think things through.

I mostly think about ...

What’s next. People. Ideas.

Do whatever it takes to accom- plish relaxation. Hang out and talk with friends. Read, surf the Web to learn new things.

I like to do things ...

Now or on a schedule. When it works for everyone. When it feels right to me.

Search and retrieve. Write emails, instant message, or chat. Look around and linger.

Projects should be ...

Finished on time. Done in groups. Meaningful to me.

Ask constant questions. Make friends. Explore.

Schedules ...

Keep order. Help coordinate with people. Are a useful tool.

I like to be recognized for ...

Your secondary motivation style:


Being organized, neat,productive, efficient, and punctual. Noticing others, being kind, fair, thoughtful, and considerate. Being clever and smart, making discoveries, and solving problems.

In terms of completing things ...

I finish what I start. I like to enlist the help of others. I believe that life is a journey, not a destination.

The color with the highest total represents your primary motivation style. The color with the second-highest total is your secondary motivation style. You’re likely to be motivated most in one area, with some overlap in a second area. Your primary motivation style: ____________________________

If you’re goal-oriented, you’ll probably reach for your goals through a direct and obvious route. This might lead you to a reference book, your computer, or to call an expert whatever means is available. You usually prefer meeting inperson when it’s the most effective method and don’t find learning, itself, much fun. If you’re relationship-oriented, you take part in learning mainly for social contact. When you meet and interact with people, you learn things along the way. You may not like working independently or focusing on topics (separately from the people) because that doesn’t give you the interactivity you crave. If you’re learning-oriented, the practice of learning, itself, drives you. You search for knowledge for its own sake and may become frustrated by anything that requires you to spend more time on procedure and process than on actual learning.

(c) Marcia L. Conner, 1993-2004. All rights reserved. See the latest assessment at

There is also a fourth motivation style I that haven’t yet addressed, primarily because it’s far less common than the other three styles and because you might not think of it as a motivation style at all. That style is thrill-oriented, drawn not to any particular thing but, rather, away from anything that people perceive as tying them down, bounding them, or pulling them in any predictable direction. This isn’t to say that thrill-oriented learners can’t acquire goals, relationships, or curiosity, but if any of these feel too timeconsuming, invasive, or binding, the learner becomes restless and perhaps experiences a compulsion to go in another direction any other direction to feel free. If you’re thrill-oriented, you’re likely to beimpulsive and you want to remain impulsive; you seek out thrills and flee anything that doesn’t offer you that sensation. All of us at one time or another feel impulsive or have an urge to do something else, but we usually moderate these urges when they come, instead of always following where they lead. More information on each style, along with suggestions on how to maximize your motivation, is available in the book Learn More Now (John Wiley & Sons, 2004).

I Want to Speak to a

Supervisor! A young man working for a Big Boss made an expensive mistake his first week on the job. At the end of the week the young man cleaned out his desk and packed up his things to leave. The big boss asked, ‘And just what do you think you are doing now?’ ‘I’m leaving,’ said the young man. ‘I made such an expensive mistake, surely you don’t want me to come back here again next week.’ ‘Are you kidding?’ exclaimed the Big Boss. ‘I just spent a small fortune educating you. You’d better come back next week and show me what you learned.’ (Does this makes sense to you? If so, read on...) Have you ever asked a frontline service provider for something special and been told, ‘Sorry, company policy. The answer is NO!’ Have you ever asked to speak with the supervisor and found the answer soon changed to YES?

When this happens (and it does all over the world) how do you feel about the company? Do you respect the organization more, or less? How do you feel about the supervisor? Do you admire their use of authority, or feel pity for the frontline staff they overrule? How do you think the frontline service provider feels? (And whose rule was he following in the first place when he said, ‘The answer is NO.’?)

One: The experience customers have with your company must be positive and uplifting, or they won’t come back. If your customer must get in touch with a supervisor to get satisfaction, more flexible competitors may take your customer away. If, however, you can please your customers, inspire your customers, and make your customers feel welcome in a non-bureaucratic way, their desire to come back (and tell others) will grow.

One supervisor took this problem a step further and asked me the following question:

This is essential for successful business in today’s fast-changing and customer-centric world.

Dear Ron, In our business, customers who get special treatment come back later and they only want to speak with a supervisor and no one else. These customers have lots of friends and tell everybody. I am afraid everyone will want the same special treatment. In the end we would have no need for counter clerks as the supervisors would be serving all our customers! This might make the customers happy, and that is our ultimate goal, but it would be too much for our supervisors to handle. We have plenty of other work to do! How can we solve this situation?

Two: The cost of staff doing robotic work (and referring every exception to the supervisor) is simply too high to sustain. Companies that invest wisely in appropriate training will do far better than those who overspend on high levels of supervisory staff. Customers get smarter every day. So smart companies provide self-service tools for most basic needs. Well-trained frontline staff should spend their time helping new customers get acquainted and assisting repeat customers with any special situations.

Customers get smarter every day. So smart companies provide self-service tools for most basic needs. Here is my answer: Companies should empower frontline staff to do what the supervisor ultimately does, without having to check with the supervisor each and every time. This means staff must get training to know what’s right – and have authority to do what’s right.

This makes sense, and it makes money. The next time you need to go beyond the frontline staff to get what you want from a supervisor, ask yourself this question: ‘Would you rather go to another business if the staff in that organization could say “yes” to you in the first place?’

It means supervisors must trust their staff to do the right thing at the right time and not abuse the privilege. It also means frontline staff must learn the skills required – and earn the trust desired.

If so, let the first business know. And if they still won’t empower their staff, then get up and go!

Key Learning Point Give your frontline team the training and authority they need to take care of customers without constantly asking for approval. This will help you build your business, please your customers and keep your most able staff loyal and growing. Action Steps Make a complete list of everything your frontline staff cannot do for customers without getting a supervisor’s permission. (Hint: ask your frontline staff to make the list.) Now scrutinize the items one by one and do everything you can to make the list simpler and shorter. Where staff can be trained to decide for themselves, train them. Where guidelines are needed, provide them. If mistakes will be made, allow for them. Over time, everyone can learn to do what only the supervisor used to do. Empowerment is simple, really. Give good staff the authority to make a decision and tell them to use their common sense. If they bring a situation to you that they should handle themselves, turn it back to them. If they make a good decision, pat them on the back. If they make a bad decision, pat them on the back for doing something and then help everyone learn from the mistake. One more thing: Leaving things as they are is not an option for success. Your best staff will leave in frustration, your customers will leave for better service elsewhere, and you will be right where you were at the beginning, making all the decisions...alone.

This approach shifts the supervisor into the role of educator and motivator rather than controller and dominator. It’s a huge change of mindset and culture in any organization. And it’s the right thing to do for two reasons: Ron Kaufman is an internationally acclaimed educator and motivator for partnerships and quality customer service. He is author of the bestselling “UP Your Service!” and founder of “UP Your Service College”. Visit for more such Customer Service articles, subscribe to his Newsletter, or to buy his bestselling Books, Videos, Audio CDs on Customer Service from his secure Online Store. You can also watch Ron live or listen to him at

How to make your customers

forget about price A recent experience with a real estate agent gave me a fresh perspective on what it means to be an outstanding salesperson. My agent was so good at her job that she made me-and most likely her other customers as well-completely forget to ask about her commission. Here’s how she did it: This year I sold and bought a home. I chose my agent because she has sold more houses in my area than any of her peers. She has great visibility: her name is on signs throughout the surrounding neighborhoods. She is in my local Rotary Club and is well-liked. I respect the fact that she spends a generous amount of time on community activities. After I signed a contract with her, I found that it was very easy to do business together. She took care of all my problems. I needed additional work on the house to get the best value in return. We needed painting, wall repair, new carpeting, and electrical work; all of these improvements had to be completed in a short period of time. My agent not only provided the names and phone

numbers of reputable people, but she also intervened when a contractor lagged behind on the completion of the carpeting job. On top of this, she herself scheduled appointments with the electrician and plumber for the evaluation and completion of necessary repairs. Many contractors in our area work only on referral, so it would have been difficult to engage the best people without her. My agent’s assistance saved me a great deal of time, money, and worry. She was also accessible anytime I needed to speak with her. She even referred me to qualified and pleasant professionals, such as mortgage and storage companies. She never considered the limits of her job description; she simply did whatever she could to serve her client. Did I choose her based on price? Was I interested in the lowest real estate commission? Certainly not! I didn’t even ask about fees. We had two goals: to sell the house for maximum profit and to spare ourselves time and stress. Our agent was a master at both.

The experience made me re-evaluate my own sales techniques. I asked myself the following questions: • • • •

How easy is it for people to do business with me? Am I accessible when someone needs information from me? Do I have a network of professionals that can assist my clients? Do people in my community like and respect me? Absolute candor is required for this one! What makes me buy? Do I offer the same characteristics and services to my clients?

By emulating this real estate agent, we can reverse the negative connotations of the word “sales.” We can become valued and respected service providers who truly enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to help others. Once we have achieved this transformation, price is no longer the most important issue.

Bill Caraway is a Regional Director of Sales for Hamister Hospitality Group, LLC, a rapidly growing hotel and assisted living management company. For more information on Hamister Hospitality, visit . Questions and feedback can be sent to Bill at .

Never Give Up!

and Other Lessons Hotelier Mark Hamister Learned Before Age 18

In honor of The Hamister Group’s upcoming 30 year anniversary, I would like to share some didactic stories from the company’s pre-history. My passion for excellence began to develop when I was still in junior high school. Although my style and methods have matured since then, the experiences below continue to influence my professional outlook and management style. I hope that these anecdotes will provide some fun insight and encouragement to my co-workers, friends of The Hamister Group, aspiring young people, and anyone who is interested in corporate beginnings. I learned how to be a persistent pain in the rear at a very young age. When I was 15 years old I bought a used gas-powered mower and started cutting neighborhood lawns. It was always breaking down, so my dad taught me how to fix engines. I became so good at engine repair that my neighbors started hiring me to fix their mowers. I decided to expand my business by plac-

ing a very expensive advertisement in a local paper, the Kenmore Record Advertiser. It was a 4’, one-column block and it cost me $20-a huge sum of money for a teenager in 1966. But the editor refused to print it: the first word was SEX in huge, bold letters (underneath it read something like, ‘now that I have your attention, let me tell you about my engine repair service . . .’). I revisited the editor’s office 3 times during the course the next few weeks and called him just as many times, demanding to know why he declined publication. It wasn’t false advertising, since I admitted right away that I wasn’t selling sex. I asked why he was limiting my freedom of speech since he, as an editor, would not like to be the object of censorship.

enough money to buy a 1960, vintage red Corvair when I turned 16.

In the end he gave in and ran the ad exactly as I wanted it. I’m not quite sure whether I convinced him with my free speech arguments or whether he just wanted to get rid of me; but I got more than 25 customers from that single advertisement--so many that I couldn’t keep up with the work. I earned

When a representative showed up at my Buffalo home and asked my dad for a $5,000 check (before the visit they were unaware that I was under 18), we quickly figured out that they were vanity publishers. My 15 yearold ego was crushed.

During this time I was simultaneously working on my great Chef D’Oeuvre, a complete guide to outboard engine emergency repairs. ‘The Book,’ as I affectionately called it, was a 150-page, typed trouble-shooting manual, complete with professional-looking diagrams, the key specifications of the most common outboard motors, and a technical glossary. It was a tremendous undertaking for a young kid, especially in the days before the Internet. Convinced that it would make me famous, I sent it to numerous publishing houses. The only response I received was from a New York City publisher called Pageant Press.

It wasn’t a wasted effort, of course, because I learned how to organize my thoughts and communicate them to others. The experience also taught me that I had to find out as much as I could about companies before sitting down and talking with them. And boat engine service, I later found, has many similarities with health care management (my first line of business as an adult). Boaters can find themselves stranded if their engine breaks down; the lives of health care customers can be endangered if they do not receive proper care. You have to get both right the first time because what you do seriously affects your customers’ quality of life. Now, as a hotelier, I continue to understand that I have serious responsibilities: if hotels do not provide quality service, they can sabotage a critical business trip or ruin a much-needed vacation. As soon as I got the Corvair I landed a job at Smith Boys Marina on the Niagara River. I was pumping gas one Saturday afternoon when a distraught customer asked me to help him fix his engine. He had planned on spending the whole weekend on his boat, only to find that it wouldn’t start. I said that I would be happy to take a look, even though I wasn’t a

trained mechanic. The float in his carburetor was stuck-a very simple problem-so I took the carburetor lid off, freed up the float, and got the engine working again. The ecstatic look on the customer’s face has remained in my mind ever since. At an important moment I chose not to say, ‘I’m just a gas boy and that’s not in my job description.’ I encourage all of my co-workers to go the extra mile to help our customers. Sometimes very simple things can make people’s day. My next job was working in Maintenance and Repairs at JAFCO Marina. During my second year there I had my appendix out. A few weeks after surgery I was back at work, but I still wasn’t supposed to lift anything heavy. One of the other mechanics put a 50 lb. car battery on a cart and told me to wheel it out and install it in a boat. While I was on my way across the marina my boss caught sight of me and came running, asking why I was pulling such a heavy load. ‘Because it’s my job,’ I answered. He took the cart from me, hauled it to its destination, and, only after he had lifted it into place, told me that I could hook it up. He was a tough character sometimes, but he took care of his staff and put their health above his business. He taught

me that sometimes even the boss has to help employees do their job. That was my last year in high school, when I had to make applications for college. My Guidance Counselor was a very positive and enlightened individual, highly qualified to give critical advice to fragile teenagers. Among other things, she told me that: I was a screw-up who would never amount to anything; that her time was reserved for people who had a chance; and that I should forget about college and ‘learn how to dig ditches.’ She refused to help me research colleges or fill out applications. So I did it myself and was accepted to Rochester Institute of Technology, which was and is a very good school. My Guidance Counselor taught me a valuable lesson: I should never give up, no matter what the obstacles. The reality is that not every college would have accepted me. I received lots of rejections. But I also found one that would: my interviewer at Rochester told me that she was impressed by my determination to succeed. I tell all young people that they must find any honest way to achieve their dreams. Never take no for an answer.

Mark Hamister is the CEO of The Hamister Group, Inc. and The Hamister Hospitality Group, LLC, a rapidly growing hotel management company. The Hamister Group is actively seeking hotel acquisitions and management contracts in the United States. For more details, please see our web sites: www.hamisterhospitality. com and Please feel free to send comments or questions to Mark at:

Training on external e-mail communications becomes a top priority for hoteliers Not so long ago in the lodging industry, returning from a long meeting or rare day-off would mean coming back to a stack of pink message slips. Then came the age of voicemail, and the pink slips were replaced by a flashing light indicator on the phone. Now, the dozens of daily voicemails have dwindled to a few, and quickly, we struggle with more than 100 daily e-mails daily-and that’s not counting spam. It kind of makes you wish you’d have signed up for that typing class in high school doesn’t it? Perhaps other high-tech options, such as Instant Messaging, will one day slow the flood of e-mail. Until then, training your entire sales, guest contact and management staff can help maximize your organization’s efficiency and make e-mail your friend. The first step is understanding the differences between external e-mails, such as those from clients, prospects and vendors, and internal e-mails from co-workers and colleagues. Next month’s column will address internal e-mails, which is likely the majority of e-mails your staff is receiving. But first, we’ll explore the e-mails that make us money-the external e-mails.

Training tips for external e-mail • Customers have a right to prefer e-mail. An increasing number of customers prefer e-mail. Some won’t conduct business with you any other way. Despite that our industry added online booking options, a significant number of visitors prefer to click the “contact us” button and send rate inquiries and questions. Similarly, many meeting and function planners, especially those doing a highvolume of “cookie cutter” bookings, routinely send their initial inquiry or request for proposal via e-mail. It might be easier for your staff to sell via the phone, and many salespeople detest e-mail selling. But it’s not up to us-unless your property is running 100-percent occupancy every night. So, if you want this business, you have to train for it. • Vendors are customers, too. In the lodging industry, virtually anyone is a sales prospect. Vendors who live in the area have out-oftown clientele. They also have daughters that get married, sons with Bar Mitzvahs and belong to fraternal groups. Treat every external sender like a top customer, and they might become one.

• Reorganize your staff to ensure an immediate response. Users of e-mail expect a prompt reply. Your response will be labeled “tardy” after 24 hours. Some senders will be watching their in-boxes by the hour. The days of having one staff member solely be responsible for e-mail correspondence are long gone. Everyone on the team has to be integrated. • Use spell-check and grammar-check options. Despite that some think it is acceptable to include a few typos in quick responses to friends and co-workers, external e-mails should have the same standards for business writing practices as we would have had for a formal business letter in the “old days.” • Personalize your responses. With a little effort, your staff can rehumanize this cold hard medium and use it to connect better with those outside of our organization. At minimum, open e-mails with a short personal greeting such as “How are you today Mr. Kennedy” (or even “Doug,” if the previous e-mail was signed that way.) Also, e-mails should come from a specific staffer not “The Customer Service Department.”

• “Mirror and match” the sender’s e-mail writing style. Hotels historically have trained its salespeople to emulate the communications style of their inquiry callers. Similarly, if the sender uses abbreviated words like “lol” “btw” and “emoticons” such as :-) and :-(, then your staff must respond in a similar way or else risk seeming too stuffy, formal and dated. While we should never initiate its use, incorporating the new language into your reply helps you connect with the sender.

• Know when not to e-mail. Make sure your staff can identify situations when e-mail shouldn’t be used. When it’s time to tell the guest “no,” or when fielding an emotional complaint, a better reply is: “Mr. Kennedy, I’m committed to meeting your needs, and if we could talk through the rest of the details by telephone, I would be better able to do so. Is there a number at which I could call you directly? You may also reach me daily at 555-1212.”

the use of e-mail is going to increase until technology provides something better, training your staff for external e-mailing will help them capture more new business, maximize service efficiency and create positive impressions. • Be specific about what’s promised and precise about the terms. Be prepared for the guest to show up at the front desk with a printout of what your staff committed to. So rather than just saying: “We have received your request for room number 101 and have noted it on your reservation,” make sure your staff adds a friendly reminder, such as “Please keep in mind that we cannot guarantee a specific room number in advance.”

• Make it easy to get in touch with you. Be sure that everyone on your staff activates the feature on your e-mail system that puts a “return address” to include their full name, title, company, phone, fax, cell phone and Web site address. Because the use of e-mail is going to increase until technology provides something better,

training your staff for external e-mailing will help them capture more new business, maximize service efficiency and create positive impressions.

Doug Kennedy has been a fixture on the hotel industry conference and lecture circuit since 1989, having presented over 1,000 hotel/travel industry workshops, conference sessions, or keynotes. He is the former President and Co-Founder of HSA International, which he exited after 15 years to found The Douglas Kennedy Company. His consulting and training clients have represented all segments of the lodging industry from select/limited service to upscale/luxury to specialty/niche. Besides his monthly column at Hotel & Motel Management, Doug’s articles have been reprinted Internationally in 14 publications. He is the author of a number of books, manuals, and multi-media training programs including audio and video scripts, netconferences, and webcasts. Visit for more details or e-mail Doug directly at Douglas@douglaskennedy. com .

Hospitality Bites Soneva Resorts dreams come true



Soneva Resorts sponsors a year long program implemented by Care Society, Maldives, to improve the lives of disabled children in Maldives. The program aims to further improve the services offered by Care Development Center, a rehabilitation center for disabled children operated by Care, and to increase technical and human resource capacities to provide better services for the children at the Center. Under this understanding with Care Society, Maldives, Soneva’s will donate nearly US$30,000.00 for the program for the next year. Under this program special educators and teachers will be trained to offer specialized education for children with disabilities, workshops will be conducted for island communities and families on vocational and occupational methods, and the infrastructure of the Care Development Center will be changed to offer improved facilities for children. Each year Soneva Resorts carefully allocates its Social Responsibility funds to areas that need assistance and support for local communities to enhance their lives. Soneva Resorts, under these programs has helped improve health care services for several years, which include organizing eye camps, and giving free medical consultations, and donations to the disabled via many other organizations and volunteers. Soneva Resorts also donates to individuals and organizations seeking financial support for medical reasons since its inception in 1995.

Best Hotels in Individual Cities category Shangri-La Hotel, Jakarta; Makati Shangri-La, Manila; Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Taipei; Shangri-La Hotel, Beijing; Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou; Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur; Pudong Shangri-La, Shanghai; and Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore. Golden Circle was chosen as one of Asia’s Best Hotel Loyalty Programmes and Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, Cebu and its CHI, The Spa, were the first runners-up in the Asia’s Best Vacation Resort and Asia’s Best Spa categories. Asiamoney, launched in 1989, provides leading reports and analyses of the diversified financial and investment markets for capital issuers, borrowers, institutional investors and senior corporate and government monetary decision makers with business interests in the Asia Pacific countries.

Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong was voted Asia’s Best Business Hotel; Asia’s Best Facilities for Conferences and Seminars; Asia’s Best Business Centre Facilities; and the first runner-up for Asia’s Best Hotel in Individual City (Hong Kong) category. In addition, eight Shangri-La hotels were the winners of Asia’s

located in the southern part of Maldives. Raffles Resort Konottaa, Maldives, features 49 luxurious duplex villas, including 21 overthe-water duplex villas which are the first of its kind in Maldives. Villas at Raffles Resort Konottaa are either set on the white sand beach or built over the water, offering residents unfettered views of the sparkling azure sea.

Manish Jha receives corporate achievement award

Island Hideaway at Dhonakulhi awarded the ‘Runners Up’ Award for the ‘Best Independent Hotel Worldwide’ by Luxury Travel Magazine UK The resort received the award at the recently held Luxury Travel Magazine ‘Reader’s Travel Awards 2008’. Since its opening in 2005, Island Hideaway at Dhonakulhi has been very successful in comepeting with all the top-end luxury brands in Maldives and has consistently achieved accolades worldwide for delivering a unique, Maldivian luxury experience. It is today acclaimed as one of the most popular luxury resorts in the Maldives.

Conrad Hotels & Resorts unveils its new online presence Asia Pacific’s leading luxury hotel group, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, has been voted both Asia’s Best Hotel Brand for Business and Asia’s Best Hotel Brand for Vacation in the 16TH annual travel poll of Asiamoney magazine

Raffles Hotels & Resorts is set to make its debut in Maldives in April 2009, with a spectacular allvilla resort on Gaafu Dhaal atoll

After months of development and heavy investment, Conrad Hotels & Resorts has lifted the curtain on its brand new website. The slick and stylish boasts a smart design, improved functionality and greater accessibility. The site, which went live early this month, marks the second phase in an ongoing programme of enhancement which aims to revolutionise the Brand’s online presence. Technology experts have transformed the site’s design, improved its readability, given greater prominence to special offers and introduced video capacity.

Photo: Manish Jha receiving the award from Mr. William E. Heinecke, CEO of the Minor Group

At the annual Minor Awards, Manish Jha, Hotel Manager of Anantara Veli, has been awared the ‘Award of Achievement’ for his extraordinary contributions to the company in 2007. Manish joined Anantara resorts in 2006 as Assistant F&B Manager and was quickly promoted to a managerial level position overseeing all restaurants and bars for Anantara in the Maldives. In late 2007 Manish was promoted to Resort Manager for Anantara Resort Veli overseeing all operations for the island.

Hulhule Island Hotel announces new Executive Appointments

Mr. Safdar Ali Khan Food & Beverage Manager, Hulhule Island Hotel

Safdar Ali Khan has joined Hulhule Island Hotel as Food & Beverage Manager. After completing his technical education in Hotel Management, Safdar started his career with Oberoi Group of Hotels. He has worked with Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, Maldives, Mafraq Hotel at Abu Dhabi and Danat Resort - Jebel Dhanna at UAE prior to taking up this assignment.

in the 16TH annual travel poll of Asiamoney magazine. Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong was voted Asia’s Best Business Hotel; Asia’s Best Facilities for Conferences and Seminars; Asia’s Best Business Centre Facilities; and the first runner-up for Asia’s Best Hotel in Individual City (Hong Kong) category. In addition, eight Shangri-La hotels were the winners of Asia’s Best Hotels in Individual Cities category – Shangri-La Hotel, Jakarta; Makati Shangri-La, Manila; Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Taipei; Shangri-La Hotel, Beijing; Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou; Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur; Pudong Shangri-La, Shanghai; and Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore. Golden Circle was chosen as one of Asia’s Best Hotel Loyalty Programmes and ShangriLa’s Mactan Resort and Spa, Cebu and its CHI, The Spa, were the first runners-up in the Asia’s Best Vacation Resort and Asia’s Best Spa categories.

MTDC forms a Joint Venture partnership with The Ritz Carlton. Maldives Tourism Development Corporation

Mr. Muneesh Kapoor Finance Manager, Hulhule Island Hotel

Muneesh Kapoor has joined Hulhule Island Hotel as Finance Manager. Muneesh has done his MBA in Finance and has gained experience in the hospitality industry with Oberoi Group of Hotels and Hotel Imperial at India prior to joining Hulhule Island Hotel.

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts receives 17 awards from AsiaMoney Travel Poll 2008 Asia Pacific’s leading luxury hotel group, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, has been voted both Asia’s Best Hotel Brand for Business and Asia’s Best Hotel Brand for Vacation

(MTDC) has formed a Joint Venture partnership with the Ritz Carlton. Under this partnership MTDC and the Ritz Carlton will develop and manage the Ekulhivaru Island of Noon Atoll of the Republic of Maldives as a 180bed tourist resort. When opened, Ekulhivaru would be the first Ritz Carlton brand resort in the Maldives. The Ritz Carlton is one of the largest hotel chains operating in more than 23 countries with over 70 different resorts and hotels across the world. This partnership with MTDC will bring immense benefit to both companies, and would help promote the image of the Maldives as a world class holiday destination. The proposed resort will become operational in 2010.

The Maldives has emerged as the number one long-haul destination for 2007 The leading specialist tour operator Kuoni Travels long-haul report for the year 2008 revealed that the Maldives has emerged as the number one position as the favourite longhaul destination for 2007. Maldives topped as the first place in a list of 20 countries. They included Dubai, Thailand, Malaysia and Barbados. Managing Director, Kuoni Travel says ‘It’s great to see the Maldives continuing to hold its well-deserved position as the favourite long-haul destination. With the magical, eternal appeal of the true Robinson Crusoe experience the Maldivian resorts offer, from five star luxury and pampering to more simple, barefoot beach holidays, it would be some challenge to dent its lead.’ Already popular for tourists from all over the World, the Maldives attracts visitors who are in search of peace and tranquillity in an island paradise setting. With luxury and award winning hotels, resorts and spas, and probably the best snorkelling, fishing and scuba diving in the world, the Maldives offers a unique, unforgettable experience to the visitors. The Maldives attracted a record number of 675,889 visitors during 2007. The United Kingdom ranked top in 2007 among the source markets with a total arrival of 125,158 visitors, which is a growth of 15.9% compared to 2006.


for Interview Success: What You Wear is Who You Are

Dressing for success in the hospitality industry starts from the moment you arrive for your interview. The way you prepare yourself and present yourself in a hospitality interview will offer prospective employers clues to how you’ll present yourself in the hospitality industry. First impressions are often the only impressions, so you’ll want your first appearance to set the table for your performance on the job. “Your initial appearance will introduce yourself before your words do,” says Roberta Nedry, president of Hospitality Excellence, Inc., a guest experience management firm. “You have only one moment to make that first impression, from the minute you walk through the door and reach out your hand. In choosing your clothes you are making a total impression. It’s just like going to a party: what do you want to say about yourself?” Dressing for success as early as the interview is even more important in the hospitality industry than other businesses because hospitality jobs demand you constantly present

yourself to guests, whether in a restaurant, hotel, resort, spa or other people-heavy setting. So when you arrive for your interview, employers are already assessing how their guests will perceive you as an ambassador for their operation. What NOT to wear (and do) for your hospitality interview

chew breath-freshening gum. And remember, your perfume might smell good to you, but not necessarily to others, so your best policy is not to use any scent at all. Your hair and fingernails should be squeaky clean. Especially for jobs where you’ll dealing with food, such as serving or catering, longer hair should be pulled back and tidy. And consider losing the black nail polish for a more neutral shade at your interview.

Roberta Nedry breaks down her favorite hospitality fashion crimes into three basic types: Stinky Stan is a man or woman who suffers from body odor or bad breath or wears excessive perfume or cologne. Personal hygiene is part of your attire and an important part of the first impression you make at an interview.

Jewelled up Jill will stand out, but not in a good way, at a hospitality interview. Some hotels, says Nedry, even have jewelry standards governing the size of the earrings and the number of rings you can wear. When in doubt for your interview, leave the jewelry at home.

“Some people don’t realize their perfume is overwhelming or they have a strong body odor,” she says. If you perspire heavily, wear something like a cotton t-shirt or sweat guards to absorb and prevent stains. If you drink coffee before your interview, don’t forget to brush your teeth, use breath mints or

Says Nedry, “When working at a hotel, for instance, you want to reflect the hotel. Lots of jewelry is just inappropriate.” The same goes for excessive makeup that’s overly bright and calls attention to your appearance rather than your performance. This applies, too, to visible body piercing. You’re better to leave

The rules of fashion have certainly loosened, and you probably no longer need to “suit up” for a hospitality interview, but one rule has not changed: you’ll always want to look professional and clean to make the right impression from the start. the studs at home and cover the tattoos… anything that might make guests in a hospitality setting feel uncomfortable. Sloppy Sam shows up for the hospitality interview with scuffed or worn out shoes, shirt untucked, buttons undone or missing. It takes only a few minutes to see to these final details before your interview. Tips to dress for interview success •

When you’re first called for an interview, find out if there’s a written or even unwritten dress code or standards of appearance for the hospitality job.

Create a dress-for-success checklist ahead of time. On the day of your interview, prepare for contingencies, for instance by keeping a little sewing kit with you just in case. If you really want the job, do your research. Go to the place of employment and sit where you might be working. If it’s a front desk clerk job, sit in the lobby and study the employees, check out their appearance at various times of day. Is there a difference in dress during time shifts? Does the uniform change? Look at their clothes, hair, makeup and jewelry. If you’re interviewing for a hotel job, find out if the dress is the same throughout the chain or if dress code

differs from city to city. Try to replicate the “uniform” of the position at the interview. Dressing the part will help an employer visualize you in the hospitality position. Dress comfortably but as your best self, says Nedry. Choose your colors carefully. Neutral tones work well, but black and white also present a professional appearance.

The rules of fashion have certainly loosened, and you probably no longer need to “suit up” for a hospitality interview, but one rule has not changed: you’ll always want to look professional and clean to make the right impression from the start.

Roberta Nedry is President of Hospitality Excellence, Inc., consultants in guest experience management and audits, service excellence training for management and frontline employees and concierge development. To learn more about the programs her firm offers and their service expertise, visit She can also be reached at 954-739-5299 or

and beverage amenities on arrival. Apart from all the basic amenities, the Super Deluxe rooms a cozy balcony and the turn down service with a good night drink to make the stay more enjoyable.

New Guest Facilities at Hulhule Island Hotel Hulhule Island Hotel, located on the International airport island is a modern and exotic hotel catering to the diversified needs of guests. Set in a heavenly ambiance of turquoise blue waters, Hulhule Island Hotel is a perfect place for the guests on leisure as well as on business. It is a happening place to be in; as well it is a tranquil haven at various locations within the hotel. Being the only hotel located just 5-minutes drive away from the International airport and 10-minutes boat ride away from the capital Malé, Hulhule Island Hotel opens the door to a world of exemplary service. In pursuit of continuous improvement and to serve the more discerning travelers even better, Hulhule Island Hotel’s new Deluxe wing opened doors to the guests. It comprises of 51 Deluxe and Super deluxe rooms which have finer style, design theme and finishing. The corporate re-branding of Hulhule Island Hotel has provided a competitive edge and a better positioning in the market. The new corporate branding signifies the new look of Hulhule Island Hotel i.e. more dynamic, vibrant, fresher, modern and contemporary, symbolising the hotel’s aspirations and the renewed vigour of the entire Team. On the re-branding of Hulhule Island Hotel, Mr. Utkarsh Faujdar - General Manager commented, “We have recognized the need to raise the standards even further for the comfort of tourists visiting Maldives. It dem-

onstrates the efforts of Hulhule Island Hotel to support and grow the aviation and tourism industry in Maldives.” Each of the hotel’s well appointed 136 guest-rooms have been done up very tastefully with a vibrant décor and having a breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean. All the comfortable air-conditioned guest-rooms feature satellite television, direct dialing facilities, a personalized digital safe, mini-bar, hair-drier, iron and iron board, tea-coffee making facility and round the clock In-room dining. The finer categories of rooms boast of an attached balcony, bath tubs with Jacuzzi, flat-screen television with DVD Player, branded bathroom amenities and personalized digital safe with laptop charging facility.

The following facilities have been added for the guests at Hulhule Island Hotel: The 3 luxurious Super Deluxe with Jacuzzi rooms have king beds for the comfort of guests with a lovely view of the magnificent Indian Ocean from the balcony. The guests feel welcomed by the special food and beverage amenities. Apart from all the basic amenities, the Super Deluxe with Jacuzzi rooms also have the turn down service with a good night drink to make the stay more comfortable. The incredibly designed 12 Super Deluxe rooms, all with king beds include the food

The elegantly designed 36 Deluxe rooms comprise of 18 with king size beds and 18 with twin beds. The Deluxe rooms have a balcony to appreciate the magnificent view of the Indian Ocean. Uduvilaa Meaning the ‘sky amongst clouds’ is an exclusive rooftop restaurant located on the fourth storey where the guests savour an elaborate delectable International cuisine, along with the spectacularly panoramic view of the azure skies, the aqua waters, the harbour and the brightly lit up sky line of the capital Malé. The extensive food menu and the wide-ranging wine list are on offer for the guests while the team at Uduvilaa ensures that dining is worth an experience. Sunset Deck Aptly named, the Sunset Deck offers the guests an opportunity to cherish the most exotic sunset view on the Indian Ocean with everlasting memories etched in mind. The surrounding islands further enhance the experience of viewing the unique skyline of the capital Malé and the spectacularly panoramic view of the azure skies and the aqua waters. The guests can enjoy the beverages of their liking under the open skies along with the choicest selection of snacks before shifting into Uduvilaa for the awesome dining experience. The Beach area at Hulhule Island Hotel ensures that the guests are in touch with the sun, sand and ocean to continue to have a feel of Maldives. The guests can indulge in having a dip in the water, snorkel and relax under the sun. The beach volleyball adds further to the excitement. Mr. Utkarsh Faujdar, General Manager commented, ‘It will be the endeavor of the entire team to take the hospitality of Hulhule Island Hotel to even greater heights with the completion of this exciting project’.

SINGAPORE – Carlson Hotels Worldwide – Asia Pacific, one of the world’s largest privately-owned hotel companies, will manage its first Radisson hotel in the Maldives in early 2010. The 250-room hotel will be located on the island of Hulhumale, north to the capital Male. Radisson Hotel Maldives Hulhumale, owned by public-listed local conglomerate State Trading Organisation PLC, will be designed as

an urban resort primarily for the conference and meetings market, as well as for transient guests arriving and leaving the island. It will also be connected by land to the international airport and seaplane terminal. “This new development aligns with our expansion strategy to grow in key business and leisure destinations in the region. It will be the second hotel under development in the Maldives that will be managed by our group.

We are also opening a luxury Regent resort in the Maldives later this year,” said Martin Rinck, President and Managing Director, CarlsonHotels Worldwide – Asia Pacific. Radisson Hotel Maldives Hulhumale will have an all day dining restaurant with views of the ocean, a retail outlet and a private jetty. It will also have extensive ballroom and banqueting facilities, capitalizing on the growing Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhi-

Carlson Hotels Worldwide Asia Pacific to bring Radisson brand to the Maldives in 2010

bitions (MICE) market. “The events market is growing steadily due to strong economic performance in the region, with a special high demand for meetings and incentive facilities in resort locations. This will be the only international hotel in the vicinity of Male with specially designed conference services,” added Rinck. The hotel will also offer a business centre and health club including a gym and spa as well as a swimming pool and easy access to beach facilities. “This partnership with Carlson is a crafted solution that is closely aligned with our aspirations for a contemporary, iconic, international hotel that fully maximizes the value of this important location, while remaining sensitive and responsive to its environment,” said Ahmed Mohamed, Chief Executive Officer, State Trade Organisation PLC. “It will also be a major asset going forward in promoting Maldives as a credible meetings and business tourism destination.” Carlson Hotels Worldwide – Asia Pacific has the vision

of being the most admired hotel company in the region, with the goal to successfully open and operate hotels with strategic partners in key gateway cities and resort locations in Asia Pacific. Singapore-based Carlson Hotels Worldwide Asia Pacific is the regional headquarters for Carlson Hotels Worldwide in the Asia-Pacific region and is supported by reservations, sales and development offices in Tokyo, Shanghai, New Delhi and Sydney. Carlson Hotels Worldwide, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, includes five hotel brands: Regent Hotels & Resorts, one of the most respected brands in the luxury segment of the hotel industry; Radisson Hotels & Resorts®, one of the world’s leading upscale, full-service hotel brands; Park Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, positioned in the mid-scale segment of the full-service hotel category and known for its great value and customer-focused service culture; Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM, one of the fastest growing, mid-scale hotel

brands; and Park Inn®, a growing global brand offering a fresh and stylish guest experience.Carlson Hotels Worldwide is one of the major operating groups of Carlson, a global leader in the marketing, travel and hospitality industries. Other names in the Carlson family of brands and services are: T.G.I. Friday’s® restaurants, Regent Seven Seas Cruises®, Carlson Wagonlit Travel®, and Carlson Marketing Worldwide®, the largest relationship marketing services company in the United States. Radisson® Hotels & Resorts -- One of the world’s leading, full-service hotel companies, Radisson Hotels & Resorts currently encompasses 400 properties in 64 countries. Radisson is focused on being the hotel of choice by understanding the independent mindset and changing needs of today’s frequent travellers. Showcase Radisson hotels and resorts are located in many of the world’s primary travel destinations serving both business and leisure customers with a distinctive “Yes, I Can” service culture. Radisson Hotels & Resorts:

10 Elements Of Effective


Everything rises and falls on leadership. The reason why some families and Corporations seem to have it all while others struggle along is a result of good leadership and bad leadership respectively. Many Successful people acknowledge the importance of good Leadership practices and the impact they can exert on the people they lead and the organization as a whole.

Leadership skills are a very vital component in any entity. It can be defined as leading or influencing others. In other words, where there is a leader there is a follower. I would like to mention here that, we are all leaders in one way or another. We are influenced by other people and we also have people in our circle of colleagues that we influence. We might also be an older or younger sibling and we influence those under us.

So it is very important that we influence the people we lead in a positive way so that they may influence others in a similar manner. At the end of the day we may live in harmony and lead productive lives. So, what are the 10 elements of effective leadership?

The greatness of a leader is not determined by the power he possesses but his ability to empower others. Many leaders want to be feared and revered but a leader who will win the peoples’ heart is one who is keen on empowering them.

2. They posses a positive attitude.

7. They are optimists

Attitude can be defined as the way you habitually think and react to life’s situations or circumstances. Attitude is everything and can do wonders in your life. Attitude is what makes one person succeed and another fails. The difference between successful people and people that are less successful is because the successful ones have a lot of attitude and the other minimal or non existent. Effective Leaders have a great deal of positive attitude.

Optimism is one of the qualities of an effective leader. He needs to have a positive outlook towards life. To an Optimistic Leader white is black and bad is good. He always has something to learn from every bad situation. 8. They do not take issues personally.

They are not shaken by circumstances or mishaps as they do not dwell on negatives. They always look on the bright side of life and they see something good in any misfortune. They are in control of their lives. “When you control your attitude you control your life.”

9. They build the people they lead.

3. They believe in themselves. They have a firm belief in themselves and they value and regard themselves highly. They believe that they can conquer anything. If you are a leader and do not believe in yourself, how do you convince another person to believe in you? 4. Change is their way of life In order to grow and develop, effective leaders put themselves in situations that are going to make them change and mature and keep on growing. They are not scared or intimidated by change and in many circumstances, they initiate change. They act rather than react.

When disciplining a subordinate, a leader does not get personal or do it in front of others but rather finds an appropriate time and place to have a friendly chat with them.

The greatness of a leader is not determined by the power he possesses but his ability to empower others. Many leaders want to be feared and revered but a leader who will win the peoples’ heart is one who is keen on empowering them. He wants to build his people to become better employees, citizens and colleagues. 10. They love and respect the people they lead. Without love and respect, a leader cannot be effective and all efforts to control or influence the followers may be in vain. Love and respect when given out are the exactly what you receive in return. You do not receive disrespect when that you give out respect. So what you give is what you get.

5. They plan ahead Effective Leaders know where they are going. They have their goals and destiny in defined long before they motivate others to follow. They have a plan for their lives and are not free styling. They have the future in perspective and are clear where they are going before they lead others. 6. They build relationships with quality people. 1. They appreciate who they are One of the mistakes a leader can make is try to act like someone else. A leader understands that he or she is a unique and original individual and can not imitate another person. A leader has to learn from other leaders before him but never should he think he is a Malcolm X, Martin Luther King or Winston Churchill etc.

A leader influences people and is influenced by others. It is in this view, therefore, that a leader ought to network with people who are going to nurture and motivate him. These are people who will tell him what he has to hear not what he wants to hear. These people often put him in the hot seat and he will learn from their counsel.

Aaron Kamanga: Motivational Speaker, Life Coach,Management Consultant, Trainer and Facilitator:

Pan Seared Lobster N’ Prawn Wrap on Smoked Salmon Risotto and Roasted Sweet Pepper with Classic Tomato Reduction Nalin Amendra Executive Chef Chaaya Lagoon Hakuraa Huraa John Keells Maldivian Resorts



Olive Oil


Fresh Basil


Fresh Dill


Sweet Bell pepper (Red, Yel

low, Green)


Lobster Fillet (Whole)


White Onion


Jumbo Prawns (two Nos.)




Parmesan Cheese Powder


Sea Salt


White Wine


Chicken Stock


Crushed Peppercorn


Unsalted Butter


Unsalted Butter


Smoked Salmon Dices


Single Cream

Balsamic vinegar


Risotto Rice


Blanched & peeled Tomato


French mustard

Cooking Method

Classic Tomato Reduction:

Presentation Style-1:

Smoked Salmon Risotto: Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the

Place a 5cm diameter ring on the plate (Square

Heat the olive oil in a heavy based pan, add the

chopped onion for five minutes until softened.

plate) and put risotto rice in to the ring 4cm high

white onion and sweat for two minutes until soft-

Add garlic and cook for two minutes. Pour in the

and remove the ring.

ened. Add the risotto rice, mix well with olive oil.

blanched, peeled and chopped tomato, reduce the

Arrange roasted bell pepper on the plate.

Add the chicken stock, a little at a time, stirring

heat and simmer 30 minutes until thickened and

Place lobster & prawn wrap on top of roasted bell

constantly until all the liquid has been absorbed by

add fresh basil. Season with salt and mill pepper


the rice, cook until the rice is tender. Add butter,

and add one tsp. of balsamic vinegar to add the

Pour classic tomato reduction by the side.

remove from the heat, and add white wine and


Garnish with parmesan crisp.

and seasoning to taste.

Pan Seared Lobster N’ Prawn Wrap:

Presentation Style-2:

Roasted Sweet Bell Pepper:

Clean and devein the lobster and peel the prawns

Place a 5cm diameter ring on the plate (longer

by leaving the tail of the prawn, marinate with sea

shaped plate) and put risotto rice in to the ring 2cm

Cut the colored whole bell pepper lengthwise in to

salt, mill pepper, French mustard and white wine.

high and remove the ring.

four, marinate with olive oil, rosemary, onion, garlic,

Place two pawns on inner side of the lobster fillet,

Cut across from the center of lobster and prawn

salt and pepper. Place it on baking tray and bake

Tail side should be about 2cm out of the fillet on

wrap in to two, and place, on top of the smoked

it in the oven for 10 minutes until it gets roasted.

both sides. Tightly roll out the fillet and tight it with

salmon risotto, Prawn tail side standing up. Repeat

Take out from the oven and remove the outer skin

a string or bamboo stick.

the same procedure for the other half. Roasted bell

of the roasted bell pepper.

Heat the olive oil in frying pan and sear the lobster

pepper place in between the two standings.

tail until it gets cooked.

Pour classic tomato reduction by the side.

cream. Finally, stir through the smoked salmon, dill

Garnish with parmesan crisps. Parmesan Crisp: Spread out very thing layer of Powdered parmesan cheese on a buttered baking tray place it under the salamander for few minutes until it gets crispy, Take out of the salamander and just cut it in to long triangles.

Food Safety Training

Can Help You Stay Out of Dangerous Water Imagine it: The sky is an endless blue, the sea is calm and you are floating on top of the water without a care in the world. Suddenly, the sky darkens, the waves begin to get choppy and a stormblows in.Now imagine something like this happening to your operation. Profits are high, employees are happy and you are maintaining your business, thinking that all is well. But then a customer calls with a complaint and the health inspector shows up with questions – a foodborne illness is linked to your operation. What could you have done to help prevent this from happening? Whether a foodborne illness incident jars you into action or you’re simply being proactive and taking preventive measures, a common first step to help ensure that your operation serves safe food is proper food safety trai ing. An untrained manager is like a person

treading water in the middle of the ocean he or she may not realize that a storm could be brewing and action is needed before danger appears.

retail operations have a positive effect on the control of certain foodborne illness risk factors. And the risk factor on which managers have the most impact is personal hygiene.

Food safety training introduces you to the basic principles you need to know to help ensure your operation serves safe food. Training also instills in you a general awareness of the food safety risks faced by your operation. Once you’re aware of these risks you can begin to seek ways to control them. Studies conducted by the Food and Drug Administration have shown that the presence of a manager who is knowledgeable about food safety can have a significant impact in helping eliminate factors that cause foodborne illnesses. In particular, trained managers in full- and quick-service restaurants as well as in the meat, poultry and produce departments in

However, while training is a good first step, it’s only the beginning. It’s like throwing a life preserver to the manager who has been treading water for a long time and is growing tired. It definitely will help keep him afloat but he is obviously still in dangerous water. Your commitment to food safety must not end when you complete your food safety training. Therfore, you will need to take additional steps to help prevent further problems. After your training, the next step is to implement the information you learned – just like climbing out of the water onto a raft. Four simple steps can help turn your knowledge into sound food safety practices:

• • • •

Perform an assessment of the food safety practices in your operation. Prioritize the identified gaps in these practices. Develop a process to address those gaps. Reassess your operation’s food safety practices regularly.

Assess Food Safety Practices The first step is to perform an assessment of your current food safety practices. Use a checklist like the one shown to the right. Your assessment should focus on those areas that will have the most impact on helping prevent foodborne illnesses. These areas include time and temperature control, crosscontamination prevention, personal hygiene practices and proper cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces & tools. A self-assessment is an excellent way to immediately apply what you learned in your food safety training, and it gives you an opportunity to take a fresh look at the practices, equipment, utilities and other factors in your operation. You can then determine if they are adequate for keeping food safe. Prioritize Gaps When you’re done with your assessment, you will have identified a list of gaps – food safety practices and procedures that need to be addressed.While it would be wonderful to jump right in and fix all the identified gaps, that simply is not practical. Therefore, your next step is to prioritize them. You may want to list them according to topic – for example, if there are many gaps in one area, such as food rotation labeling, you may want to address that area first. Or, you might prioritize by time: Do the easy tasks first and save the ones that require more time and effort for later. Regardless of how you prioritize them, it’s important that you understand why or how each gap occurred (was it due to a lack of knowledge or a lack of funding?) so that an appropriate solution can be found Develop a Process Now that you know which gaps to tackle and why they occurred, a third step would be to develop a process to address them. This may include developing or revising procedures,

bringing equipment up to regulatory standards, identifying new suppliers that meet your food safety needs or providing training for employees. Keep in mind that it’s important for the solution to be specific to the gap and permanent, rather than a temporary fix. Reassess Regularly Finally, since your food safety practices are crucial to keeping food safe, you must review them on a regular basis to make sure they are adequate. You may want to develop your own operation-specific checklist and make sure to establish a timeframe for performing reassessments later on.

ing goals, teaching tools that you will need, specific training points to be covered and the amount of time you will need to spend on each teaching point. As you develop the training plan, remember people learn differently. To accommodate these differences, be sure to vary the ways in which you present information. Different training methods are listed to the left. While training your employees, be sure to follow a logical sequence, tie new knowledge to past knowledge, present information using the “zoom” principle –give the big picture, then “zoom in” on the detail and present information in small chunks so that effective learning can take place.

An untrained manager is like a person treading water in the middle of the ocean. He or she may not realize that a storm could be brewing and action is needed before danger appears. Train Your Employees To move you and your operation further from dangerous water, train your employees in food safety. It’s your responsibility to take the knowledge you learned in your food safety raining back to your employees. However, the time, tools and resources available are often lacking. You may be faced with an ocean of concerns to overcome, such as employee literacy issues, cultural hurdles and staff turnover. Despite these obstacles, research has shown that food safety training increases employee confidence, helps maintain food quality, contributes to customer retention and sales, enhances the prestige and reputation of the operation and helps to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks. Begin developing your training by creating a list of food safety topics and tasks that you want your employees to be able to perform. These tasks will become the learning goals of your training session. The tasks you identify should focus on areas that have the most impact on food safety in your establishment. The next step is to design a training plan which is a very specific list of things that will take place during the employee training session. Keep in mind when developing a training plan, you should list specific learn-

It is very important that your training allows employees opportunities to practice tasks immediately after they have been taught. When you’ve completed the initial training of employees, follow up ater a period of time to be sure they continue to fo low the procedures you outlined and to see if they are performing their food safety tasks correctly. Sink or Swim? Helping ensure the safety of food served in your operation requires several steps on your part. In order to stop treading water, begin by taking food safety training. That at least provides a life preserver for you to grab. But remember, this training is only the first step to creating total food safety in your operation. You then need to implement what you learned by developing sound food safety practices. These procedures are the raft that keeps you afloat but only for so long. To get you out of the water and onto dry land, implement employee training. It’s sink or swim. Helping prevent foodborne illnesses is up to you.With the right tools and a plan of action, you can get out of the dangerous water and reach safety.

Kristie Grzywinski is Director, Science and Regulatory Relations at the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. In over nine years she has provided technical expertise on topics such as food safety, food microbiology and the restaurant and foodservice industry’s many regulatory requirements. Grzywinski contributes to the development of the Foundation’s ServSafe® program, the industry’s leading food safety education program and helps advance partnerships among industry and regulatory groups to promote food safety training and education in the restaurant and foodservice industry. This article reprinted with permission by Daydots 2008.

My Anantara -

The Salt of the Earth

Throughout history, salt has been such as important element of life that it has been the subject of many stories, fables and folktales. Some cultures even ascribe magical powers to it. This story of a man who holds the unusual position of salt sommelier at Anantara Resort Maldives’ Fuddan Restaurant is one that shouldn’t be taken with a pinch of salt though… “My name is Nasrulla Thoha. I am from Maldives. When I joined Fuddan Restaurant at Anantara, it was the first time I saw so many types of salt. Each one had something special about it. As I learned and discovered more, I wanted our guests to also taste these salts to pair them perfectly with the fine cuisine from our menu. So I took up the challenge of becoming a salt sommelier! That marked

the start of my passion for salt. It has been a journey – through fascinating flavors – that has taught me all about the faraway places where these salts come from… Guests are normally amazed to learn about the different kinds of salt, and listen very attentively to my explanations. Most of them have never heard of these salts. I really enjoy sharing my knowledge, and try to make their meals memorable and enjoyable. My favorite is smoked salish salt from Washington. It goes well with most of the grilled food served in the restaurant, especially red meats. The smoked flavor of alder wood makes it quite unique. Because of its origins, many guests associate it with President Bush, and would ask for ‘Bush Salt’ during the rest of their stay. Another personal favorite is smoked salt

from Bali, which enhances the taste of our local tuna very well, prepared with coconut and kaffir lime. Each of the salts has a very interesting story, and is different in the way they complement the subtle flavors of dishes. Pink Peruvian salt, for example, is not a sea salt as most people assume, but a natural spring salt found in the lakes of the Andes mountains in Peru. It has a strong flavor and is excellent for seasoning. Many chefs like using this salt as it adds considerably to the flavor of the food. Being a salt sommelier is a wonderful opportunity for me to meet and interact with guests coming to the restaurant, and to learn about their likes and dislikes.

From the feedback we receive I know that many people remember me and their discovery of salt long after they’ve returned home. My work is not a very common trade or service offered in many restaurants. It sets us apart here at Anantara, and makes what I do unique. Salt has opened my eyes to new experiences, and sharing that with others has given me a special purpose. I’m so proud of that and I could never look at salt in the same way again…”

FUDDAN SALTS Cyprus Black Lava flake salt Cyprus Black Lava flake salt is simply Mediterranean flake salt mixed with activated charcoal. The beautiful color is not the only benefit that the charcoal adds. It also gives it a unique taste and acts as a natural detoxifier.

Hawaiian Sea Salt Alaea Sea Salt is a traditional Hawaiian table salt used to season and preserve. A natural mineral called “Alaea” (volcanic baked red clay) is added to enrich the salt with iron oxide. This natural additive is what gives the salt its distinctive pink color. The clay imparts a subtle flavor that is said to be mellower than regular sea salt. Uses: It is the traditional and authentic seasoning for native Hawaiian dishes such as Kalua Pig, Poke and Hawaiian Jerky. Also is good on prime rib and pork loin. Hawaiian Sea Salt comes in fine and coarse grain.

Bolivian Rose salt Bolivian Rose salt is hand harvested from the Andes Mountain range in Bolivia. Ancient sea salt deposits were covered with volcanic lava creating this high mineral salt and protecting it from pollution. The light rose & orange color of Bolivian Rose makes it gorgeous when presented in a clear salt shaker or mill.

Himalayan Pink Salt Himalayan Pink Salt is pure, hand-mined salt found naturally deep inside the pristine Himalayan Mountains.The high mineral crystals range in color from sheer white to varying shades of pink to deep reds which indicates

a beneficial amount of 84 trace elements & iron. The clean crystals are “Gourmet Food Grade” and the highest quality Himalayan salt available.

New Zealand - Pacific Natural Sea Salt New Zealand - Pacific Natural Sea Salt is harvested from the deep clear waters of the great southern oceans that sweep through Cook Strait between New Zealand’s North and South Islands and into the solar salt field. These waters are evaporated using the natural process of sun and wind. At the end of each summer Pacific Natural Sea Salt is gathered so as to maintain the balance of minerals present in salt harvested from the sea. There are no chemical additives or processing aids used in Marlborough Flaky & Pacific Natural Sea Salt production and there is just one ingredient - seawater. The process fits in with organic principles and is Certified Organic by Bio-Gro New Zealand.

Salish Smoked Salt Salish Smoked Salt is organic Pacific Sea salt that is cool smoked over red alder wood. No artificial coloring or flavoring is added. Salish gives food a delicious smoke flavor both on and off the BBQ. Try on Salmon, red meat, creamy pasta dishes & baked potatoes!

Kala Namak Kala Namak is also known as Indian Black Salt. It has an unforgettable smell, similar to egg yolks. It is used extensively in Indian cuisine. This salt has become popular with vegan chefs for adding natural egg flavor to their dishes. Pink in color with a powdery texture.

Sel Gris Sel Gris Fine and Coarse organic sea salts are completely natural and unrefined. These salts are harvested using traditional Celtic methods. High in minerals and nutrients, the French salts are known to be among the best tasting salts. Coarse grain is ideal for cooking and baking. The fine grain is the perfect upgrade from ordinary table salt.

Bali - Coconut and Lime smoked sea salt Starts with tropical salt harvested from the Bali Sea. The beautiful geometric crystal that grinds easily and absorbs lots of flavor. Indigenous coconut and kaffir lime leaves are used to create a smoky salt with a bite of citrus. Try Bali - Coconut and Lime salt on halibut or prawns!

Hiwa Kai - Hawaiian Sea Salt Hiwa Kai - Hawaiian Sea Salt has a stunning black color and silky texture. Solar evaporated Pacific sea salt is combined with activated charcoal. This compliments the natural salt flavor and adds numerous health benefits to the salt.

Peruvian Pink salt comes from a natural spring located 10,000 feet high in the Mountains in Peru. The warm spring water seeps into terraced salt ponds. This salt has been hand-harvested for over 2,000 years. The crystals have high moisture content and a light pink color. Peruvian Pink salt has a strong flavor and is a great seasoning salt.

Marlborough Flakey sea salt Has uniquely frothy, three dimensional crystal unlike any other salt we have encountered. It is harvested from the clear waters of the great southern oceans. Currents sweep up the East Coast of New Zealand and into the Solar Salt field located right at the top of the South Island. These waters are evaporated using the natural process of the sun and wind. At the end of each summer the salt is carefully gathered so as to maintain the balance of minerals naturally present in salt harvested from the sea. Marlborough Flaky sea salt acquires its impossibly complex and light crystal structure by being very slowly evaporated in an open pan, allowing the formation of very light sea salt flakes.

For all media enquiry please contact: Harris Sakul Kurdthip– Senior Cluster Public Relations Manager, Email:


Art of the

Question Sales is not easy especially when the economy is struggling.... Maybe just this little reminder may make a difference during these tough times when they are out trying to increase sales and gain market share.

Any successful sales strategy starts with the ability to understand the “Art of the Question”. It is imperative that you understand the customer’s needs and find their pain. That not only means asking lots of questions but it means asking the right kind of questions and then listening very carefully. If you become skilled at the “Art of Questioning”, you will be amazed at the information you can uncover.

not in the answer but in the ability to ask the right questions.

Rule #4. Encourage interaction so you can listen more.

Rule #2. Check your relationship status and customer interest.

When you ask questions, you encourage the buyer to talk. This makes the buyer like you better-and helps you learn more about them personally and about their business. It’s especially helpful to get the buyer to talk when you realize you have said something they didn’t agree with or understand.

Ask questions that uncover the customer’s attention level. Determine if they understand your value propositions. For example, ask whether they agree that your business relationship can help them increase profitability.

Key Rules for the “Art of the Question”

Rule #1. Gain information. Don’t assume anything when you are building relationship equity with a customer. Ask question after question until you completely understand your customer. The real value is

Rule #5. Share information. Rule #3. Determine buyer makeup. Ask questions to find out where the buyer is “coming from,” if he is experienced, knows exactly what his needs are and understands how your products can be beneficial.

Sometimes you may want to provide information that will help your customer understand your products, your company and the value you provide. For example, you could ask, “Did you know that our product line is rated number one by Purchasing Magazine?”

Rule #6. Ask what they think. Questions that ask for someone’s opinion not only provide knowledge, but also indicate that you are interested in what that person has to say. For example, ask, “If you could make a preseason buy with X terms, how much impact would that have on your growth and net profit.

Rule #7. Staying Focused. Key questions asked when the conversation seems to wander can get you back on track toward meeting your goals. Asking personal questions about a prospect to find a starting point is fine, but eventually you need to discuss the real reasons for meeting. Asking questions like “Can we get back to that issue you mentioned regarding your service problems? This will refocus attention on the important issues.

about his problems, his company, his goals and even his personal beliefs and family and you let him talk for forty-five minute, chances are he is going to think you are one of the best salesmen that ever called on him. How can he not think that when you just spent forty-five minutes listening to him tell you about his issues, his challenges, his problems, his company and even his family?”

Choose Your Questions Wisely Do you remember some of your basic sales training when it comes to the types of questions to ask? As you recall, there are two basic types of questions. They are closed end questions and open end questions. The individual situation and type of information you are trying to get often dictates which type of question to use. However, during the initial relationship process, open ended questions should dominate.

ting them to reveal much more about their objectives, needs, current situation and personality profile. Examples include questions like:

Can you explain to me exactly how your business generates new accounts? How do you determine which business segments are going to get priority on resource allocations? Can you tell me about the last time you missed productivity targets and how you got things back on track It’s a Cake Walk These are simple rules about a simple concept and yet it is amazing how many sales people, even experienced sales people forget to apply them.

Rule #8. It’s not about you. Simply put, questions that make the customer feel important go a long way to strengthening your relationship. If the customer has mentioned any type of difficulty such as shortages, personnel issues or product quality issues from other suppliers don’t start puking all over them with a sales pitch. Ask them if they are having a rough day, a rough week. Ask if there is anything you can do to help. I once asked a customer what it would take to do business with him and he told me I needed to give him the product free. That led to further discussion and a consignment program that turned him into our largest account. Questions can be Powerful Asking the right question at the right time can be very powerful. Timing of questions and the types of questions are directly proportional to your relationship with the customer. Initial questions should all focus on developing your relationship equity with the customer. One of my very first mentors once said to me; “Rick, if you call on a customer and talk for forty-five minutes telling him all about your products, your company and preach about features and benefits and he talks for fifteen minutes, when you leave he probably isn’t going to think you are a very good sales person no matter how good your presentation was. On the other hand, if you talk to him for fifteen minutes asking the right questions

Asking the right question at the right time can be very powerful. Timing of questions and the types of questions are directly proportional to your relationship with the customer. Closed Ended Questions Closed ended are restrictive questions that can be answered very quickly with a simple yes or no or a very limited response. This type of question is useful for obtaining a specific bit of information, data or validation. They are often used in the closing process as well. Examples include questions like:

Sales is not easy especially when the economy is struggling. So ….. print these eight simple rules out and have your sales force keep them close at hand. Maybe just this little reminder may make a difference during these tough times when they are out trying to increase sales and gain market share.

Do you want me to order six or eight widgets for delivery next Tuesday? Do you prefer our next appointment to be on Monday or Thursday? Open Ended Questions Open-ended questions do not lead the customer and they do not require a simple answer. Open ended questions seek to gain a better understanding of the customer by get-

Check out Rick’s new CD series and workbook “Unlocking the Secrets to Amazing Sales” @ It is a must addition for your sales training initiatives. Order today and get a bonus copy of Rick’s book “Turning Lone Wolves into Lead Wolves ----56 ideas to maximize sales.

Qatar Airways Announces Summer 2008 Expansion Capacity Increases Across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Indian Subcontinent, Far East And North America Berlin, GERMANY – Qatar Airways today unveiled its summer 2008 expansion programme with capacity increases to numerous destinations across its global network and the launch of its fourth destination in China – the southern industrial port city of Guangzhou. A dozen cities will see more flights added to existing frequencies to offer passengers greater choice. Guangzhou becomes Qatar Airways’ first route launch of the year on March 31 and the airline is preparing for its third US destination – Houston beginning on November 10. From London Heathrow and Milan in Europe, to Johannesburg and Lagos in Africa, to Seoul and Islamabad in Asia, together with further expansion on the New York (Newark) route, Qatar Airways has a busy year ahead. Expansion highlights include an extra daily flight to London Heathrow taking capacity to Britain’s busiest airport up to four flights a day; Beirut rising to double daily flights; and both Johannesburg and Seoul going up to daily. Between Qatar and Germany, Qatar Airways operates 24 flights a week – 10 to Frankfurt and daily to both Berlin and Munich. The airline looks forward to opening up further destinations in Germany over the next few years as part of its growth strategy to widen its presence in the German market. Addressing media at a press conference on the opening day of ITB – the world’s biggest travel fair taking place in Berlin this week – Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the airline was gearing up for yet another exciting year of expansion. “Qatar Airways is committed to a growth strategy that will see our fleet of 62 aircraft increase to 70 by the end of the year and almost double to 110 planes by 2013,” he said. “Our global reach of 81 destinations will extend to more than 100 cities by the turn of

the decade and coinciding with the opening of the New Doha International Airport. “As we take delivery of more aircraft, we are able to consolidate our position by increasing frequency on existing routes and introducing new routes to give passengers greater choice.”

first Boeing 777LR aircraft will be deployed when we launch Doha – Houston services on November 10. “The Doha – Houston route will be one of the world’s longest flights of around 17 hours. We look forward to offering our customers with the ultimate levels of comfort and service with our brand new Boeing 777-200LRs on the route.”

Al Baker explained that in line with the growth strategy, 2008 will see new routes launched to Guangzhou and Houston, together with capacity increases to a dozen cities starting from the end of March, which signals the start of the summer flying season.

The Houston service will initially be operated three-times-a-week, rising to daily services a few weeks later in December 2008.

The addition of Guangzhou strengthens Qatar Airways’ China network, where it already flies to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong with a total of 16 flights a week. Guangzhou takes the airline’s capacity into China up to 20 flights a week, rising to 21 with the addition of a fifth weekly service to Guangzhou from May 1. Guangzhou and nearby Hong Kong provide excellent twin-centre options.

Non-Stop from Doha

Highlights Of Qatar Airways’ Summer 2008 Capacity Increases:-

LondonHeathrow –

up from 21 to 28 flights a week (4 daily) from March 30

Beirut –

up from 7 to 14 flights a week (twice daily) from March 30

Bahrain –

up from 40 to 42 flights a week from March 30

Geneva –

up from 5 to 6 flights a week from May 5

With excellent connections from Europe, Middle East and Africa to and from Guangzhou, Qatar Airways is boosting its presence in one of the fastest growing economies of the world. The new services will provide a strong sporting link as Doha hosted the biggest ever Asian Games in 2006, while Guangzhou is set to host the next Asian Games sporting extravaganza in 2010.

Islamabad –

Added Al Baker: “Looking to the future, we have more than 200 outstanding orders for brand new aircraft, which include 80 of Airbus’ next generation A350s and 60 Boeing 787s. Our aircraft delivery schedules will increase to at least one a month from July 2008. And in October 2008, we will take delivery of the first of our Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft.

Milan –

“The Boeing 777-200LRs will be capable of flying up to 17 hours non-stop and Qatar Airways’ Doha hub is geographically well positioned to operate to virtually any point in the world with this new generation aircraft. Qatar Airways is pleased to announce that our

up from 2 to 4 flights a week from March 30

Istanbul –

up from 5 to 6 flights a week from March 30

Johannesburg –

up from 4 to 7 flights a week (daily) from August 1

Lagos –

up from 3 to 4 flights a week from March 31

Lahore –

up from 2 to 4 flights a week from March 30 up from 4 to 7 flights a week (daily) from May 1

New York –

up from 5 to 6 flights a week from May 5

Seoul (via Osaka) –

up from 6 to 7 flights a week (daily) from March 30

New 2008 Routes Guangzhou –

4 flights a week from March 31, rising to 5 flights beginning May 1

Houston –

3 flights a week from November 10, up to daily from Dec 2008

The value of customer service The visitor experience is impacted before they get to your door Destination Marketing Organizations are tasked to promote their area and their Hospitality Community and to encourage Visitors to travel to their specific venues. An enormous amount of time and money is expended to frame the anticipated experience for that Visitor — the web site is filled with visions of pleasure, excitement and incentives; glossy publications tout the adventure, stimulating all the senses; and, the airwaves are abuzz with the care and attention the Visitor will receive wherever they choose to stay, dine, play and shop. Customer Service and quality have become the bywords for success in any industry, yet, we in the Destination business often forget that the Visitor Experience requires all the facets of the community to be Ambassadors, not just the Hospitality enterprises.

The sum of the experience is only as good as the performance of all those components. Major hotels often miss this point. Although they might have a wonderful operation, their guests do venture into the community, and they will forget that memorable hotel stay, if they encounter rudeness, unclean facilities, poor behavior and inattention. The flavor of the Visitor Experience actually begins at the point of entry into the Destination area, which is typically by air or automobile. Flying nowadays is about as nerve wracking and enervating as ever, so the Visitor arrives in a frenzied or numbed state. They follow the human sweep from the gate through the concourse and finally past the security egress into the terminal, where they decide upon car rental, bus or cab to their ultimate destination, typically, a hotel.

Successful Destinations will be differentiated by a high level of service and quality delivery. And, the Visitor Experience will be memorable, based upon the enthusiastic participation of the entire community. This is really the first opportunity to locally establish the flavor and begin to influence the Visitor Experience. Car Rental companies are usually good Partners, dispensing information and sound directions, and most of the companies also require in depth Customer Service skills. Taxi cab drivers, however, often provide that vital First Impression to the Visitor, who, for a period of time, is held captive. Even a cab can have ambiance: cleanliness, condition of the upholstery, music, aroma. And, the driver sets the tone — how the visitor is greeted, conversation, both genial and informative, courtesy, and dispatch of the ride. The last thing you want addressed is the latest murder, malfeasance in City Hall, or the “underbelly”, which every destination does have. Many do need to be trained to accentuate the positive. This is a superb opportunity, or not, to establish the Visitor relationship, which needs to be continually fulfilled throughout the visit. Courtesy lorries to the specific hotels also provides the chance to demonstrate superb customer service — how you are greeted upon embarkation, assistance with luggage, the opportunity to point out places of interest, recitation of Destination activities, etc. Arrival to a Destination by private automobile can be smooth or disconcerting, dependent upon a strong sense of direction by the Visitor and excellent signage. Many times, though, the arrival mechanics do require assistance from a local service station or convenience store, a policeman or even the citizen.

The entire community must be brought into the Customer Service value system of the Destination, as reflected by a powerful and persuasive marketing campaign. All components of a Destination community need to be in partnership with the DMO. Several months ago, I participated in a meeting, hosted by the CVB of a major New England city. The meeting was composed of Hospitality businesses, police, media, the Mayor’s Office, arena management, parking lot owners and others, as they reviewed the upcoming month of activities and conventions for the city. The dialogue was open, anticipating problems, planning for emergencies, identifying accountabilities. It was an impressive Roundtable, directed to providing the highest level of satisfaction for their Visitors’ Experience. The CVB has embraced Quality Assurance and extensive Customer Service to elevate their Brand.

benefits can be made quite obvious for everyone, particularly if tourism is the major economic engine for a Destination locale, region or even state. Successful Destinations will be differentiated by a high level of service and quality delivery. And, the Visitor Experience will be memorable, based upon the enthusiastic participation of the entire community. Give them the skills, empower them with information, enlist their good sense and courtesy! We all are Ambassadors! This is how your Destination shall be measured, and this does begin with a strategic commitment to Customer Service.

There are powerful Customer Service programs available, deliverable by the Internet, DVD’s, CD’s, or in person. Technology improvements have made these programs accessible and inexpensive. They address not only the Hospitality Front Line positions but also the infrastructure within a community. Customer Service is not rocket science. However, a good on-going program emphasizes proper behaviors and skills, regarding our reception, how we listen, how we resolve problems and how we close the visitor “transaction”. It is a group effort, and the

John Hendrie believes that Remarkable Hospitality is the portal to the Memorable Experience. Seek solutions and sign up for their Newsletter through:

What is

Legendary Service? Many organizations use this phrase to describe and promote their service. But how many have really earned it?

If you give good service, that’s not legendary. If you go out of your way for someone, that’s not legendary either. But if you provide service unsurpassed in your field, that can be legendary service. Many years ago I lived in the northeastern United States: cold winters, lots of snow, great skiing. I bought a pair of silk long underpants by mail order from a company called L.L. Bean. The silk was smooth and comfortable, the underpants nice and warm. Then I moved, and moved again, and again. I found myself 20 years later unpacking boxes of clothing in Singapore. There were the old silk underpants. They were not much use to me now, living near the equator. And even less attractive because they had holes in the knees and were fraying at the ends. I almost threw them away, then remembered that L.L. Bean features a ‘lifetime guarantee’. I put the underpants in a plain, brown envelope and inserted a simple handwritten note: ‘Please replace these.’ I didn’t have the company’s full address. I had not ordered clothing from them for years. On the outside of the envelope I wrote: L.L. Bean, Customer Service, Maine, USA. At the post office I felt foolish mailing back such a ragged piece of clothing. It didn’t seem right to send old underpants all the way around the world by airmail. So for a dollar I sent them the slow way, by sea. Time passed and I forgot all about it. Life quickly filled with new sports, new clothing, and new underpants.

Two months later an envelope arrived from L.L. Bean. Inside was a money order for one dollar. No explanation, just a dollar. I figured they evaluated the old clothing and calculated its leftover value! I laughed and forgot about it.

Another month passed and a bigger envelope arrived. Inside was a brand new pair of silk long underpants. Same size and color as the old ones, but brand new! In time, new catalogs arrived from L.L. Bean and I bought some new clothes. I always feel safe buying from them. I know from experience their ‘lifetime guarantee’ is real. Months later I was in the United States and called to place a holiday order for some relatives. Chatting with the L.L. Bean telephone representative, I told her the story of returning my old underpants. ‘One thing still confuses me,’ I confessed. ‘What was the one dollar money order for?’

Laughing, she replied, ‘Before replacing your underpants, we refunded your postage!’ Twenty-year-old underpants, gladly replaced, including refund of the postage. That’s extraordinary. That’s truly amazing. That is Legendary Service.

Key Learning Point Using the words `legendary service’ is not enough to make it real. You must expand, imagine, innovate - and take real legendary action.

Action Steps A legend is a story people talk about with admiration and praise, recounting some great deed done in the service of others. What great deed can you do for customers that is admirable, praise-worthy and truly unsurpassed?

Ron Kaufman is an internationally acclaimed educator and motivator for partnerships and quality customer service. He is author of the bestselling “UP Your Service!” and founder of “UP Your Service College”. Visit for more such Customer Service articles, subscribe to his Newsletter, or to buy his bestselling Books, Videos, Audio CDs on Customer Service from his secure Online Store. You can also watch Ron live or listen to him at

What the heck is

Hotel Web Site SEO, anyway? I often wonder how many people truly understand the process of search engine optimization and what it means to have a search engine friendly web site. It seems to me, by the number of clients I’ve inherited in the last few years, that there are many “SEO experts” out there with a fuzzy understanding of the process. As a result, they produced many disenchanted hotel operators, who spent a fortune, only to receive poor or mediocre results. Ironically, among the many clients seeking better results from SEO, we found no success relationship to the size or popularity of the company that they hired to do the SEO work. This is troubling and only emphasizes the depth of confusion about SEO even among the so-called experts; we found many of the same errors made by SEO companies large and small. Even more disturbing, we also found no success relationship within the huge disparity of fees charged to perform SEO. This emphasizes the need for caution when selecting an SEO partner. Spending more money for SEO does not insure success. An important point to consider is that search engine technology has changed considerably in the last few years. Search engine algo-

rithms have evolved and have become more sophisticated; thereby changing acceptable working guidelines. Let’s look at how search engine optimization evolved during its short life-span. How It All Began Webmasters began optimizing sites for search engines in the mid-1990s. Initially, all a webmaster needed to do was to submit a page or URL to the various search engines which would then send a spider or searchbot to “crawl” that page, extract links to other pages, and collect information found on the page to be indexed. The process involves a search engine spider downloading a page and storing it on the search engine’s own server, where a second program, known as an indexer, extracts various information about the page, such as the words it contains and where they are located, as well as all links the page contains, which are then placed into a scheduler for crawling at a later date. Early versions of search algorithms relied solely upon webmaster-provided information such as keyword Meta tags, or index files. Meta-tags provided a guide to each page’s content. But using Meta data to index pages was found to be less than reliable because

the webmaster’s account of key words in the Meta tag were not truly relevant to the site’s actual key words which were found within the site’s content. That all changed in 1998 when Page and Brin founded Google. Internet users liked Google’s simple design, off-page factors such as PageRank, its hyperlink analysis as well as on-page analysis of content factors. This enabled Google to avoid the kind of manipulation seen in search engines that only considered Meta tags for their rankings. Since 2007, search engines consider a wide range of undisclosed factors for their ranking algorithms. Google says it ranks sites using more than 200 different signals. Today’s SEO Reality Search engine optimization, today, is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” or “organic” search results for targeted keywords. Usually, the earlier the site is presented in the search results, or the higher it “ranks”, the more searchers will visit that site. As a marketing strategy for increasing a site’s relevance, SEO considers how search algorithms work and what people search for; SEO efforts should involve a site’s coding,

overall design, navigation scheme, text-rich content, and structure; as well as fixing problems that could prevent search engines from indexing and fully spidering a site. More noticeable efforts may include adding unique content to a site, such as searchable photo galleries, quick facts pages, travel resources, etc. and ensuring that content is easily indexed by search robots, and designing the site to have the necessary sales elements to generate online reservations.

methods, and the practitioners who employ them, as either white hat SEO or black hat SEO. Many sites have had their site ranking reduced or even banned as a result of black hat spamdexing. Spamdexing is generally a result of unscrupulous or unknowing webmasters attempting to circumvent search engine guidelines by using hidden text or producing a different page if requested by a search engine and, another if requested by a human; this is known as “cloaking”.

Your web site’s marketing strategy should include search engine optimization, a well conceived link strategy, and understanding that your SEO partner should correct any technical issues that may keep search engines from fully crawling and indexing your site. It’s not rocket science, but caution there are many web site design and SEO pretenders out there.

Your Site’s Marketing Strategy Search engine optimization actually begins with the conceptual design of a web site. A search engine friendly web site incorporates the necessary elements into the design and content of the site. Applying SEO to a poorly designed and dysfunctional web site is futile. The site’s design, navigation scheme, and richness of its text content are essential to SEO success.

A successful search engine optimization campaign will drive organic search results to your site’s pages. A good campaign may also include the use of paid advertising or pay-perclick promotion to boost site visibility; search engine giant, Google, considers popularity a huge asset in the indexing of a site.

Beware of unknowing companies wishing to link your site with “link-farms” containing dubious non-travel, irrelevant links. These can do more harm than good. Search spiders can only read text, therefore, creating and writing the text content of a hotel web site is of paramount importance. The key is to provide the necessary information to serve the site visitor’s needs, while at the same time reflecting the site’s key word search relevance. White Hat versus Black Hat SEO We strongly suggest some caution when selecting an SEO partner for your site; making the wrong selection could have some severe repercussions. Although there are some great rewards which often result from a well conceived SEO program, there are also some severe search engine penalties for those bold enough to intentionally, or unknowingly, violate search engine accepted guidelines.

A well conceived and implemented search engine optimization program can dramatically improve the popularity and thus, the productivity, of your web site, but, the very best of marketing strategies are those which are diversified and attack the market from various directions. SEO should be supplemented with a link strategy to drive traffic from other web sites. It’s important to understand that search engines consider the number of relevant in-bound links when indexing a site. The key here is relevance; beware of unknowing companies wishing to link your site with “link-farms” containing dubious non-travel, irrelevant links. These can do more harm than good.

SEO techniques are classified by some into two broad categories; techniques that search engines recommend as part of good design, and those techniques that search engines don’t approve of, referred to as spamdexing. Industry commentators classify these

Neil Salerno, CHME, CHA, Hotel Marketing Coach,,

The 10

Most Stupid

Questions Vis-à-Vis Hospitality Service Evil Erik doesn’t understand the world anymore Here he is, breaking his back, making the owner happy and satisfying his needs, but the guests that are paying US $ 600 - 800 per night, are driving him nuts lately by complaining about the lack of aptitude of the staff to anticipate their needs.

And Atrocious Angela is not helping either, she likes her GM house so much that she has no time to be in the restaurant or the reception to talk to those precious guests and find out what is going right and, more importantly, what is going wrong in the hotel. What they don’t understand is that the consumer decision process has 5 steps

• • • • •

Awareness, you can’t buy a product you don’t know it exists Consideration, depending on various factors, you might consider the product Preference, you prefer a product over other similar products Loyalty, you always buy the same product Advocacy, you recommend the product to other people

And while the Hospitality Industry spends fortunes on Marketing and Sales, they often forget that these efforts can only influence step 1 and 2. It is the Hotel or Resort Operations that deliver the service that eventually turns preference into loyalty and then loyalty into advocacy ! But the amazing fact is that while most entertainment budgets are huge, nearly all training budgets are not even 10 % of that part of their marketing resources. This fact proves that many senior managers believe that entertaining ( potential ) customers is much more effective than training the front line staff that delivers the service that ultimately creates the advocacy ! So, in order to help Erik and Angela, and all the other people that run resorts or hotels like factories without understanding the concept of real hospitality, here are the 10 most stupid questions your front line staff should avoid : 1. 2.

Reception: Are you check in ? Room Service: “Melpu ? “ or May I help you ? 3. Operator: Are you there ? 4. Operator: “Mr. Smith ? “ can you spell that ? 5. Duty Manager: What seems to be the matter ? 6. Maid: Are you in the room ? 7. Laundry: Do you want laundry pickup ? 8. Restaurant: Everything OK ? 9. Luggage porter: Are you check out ? 10. Cashier: Did you do mini-bar ? But in defense to the hospitality industry, my all time favorite stupid question comes from the airline industry during economy class flights : Would you like chicken or beef ? Sorry, we only have chicken ............ A long time ago somebody ( and I wish I would remember who ) taught me to qualify service in 4, easy to understand, categories: The “Freezer” approach | Message: We don’t care The “Factory” approach | Message: You are a number

The “Friendly Zoo” approach | Message: We are trying hard ..... The “Sincere” approach | Message: We care and we deliver! The freezer approach has no procedural context, is slow, inconsistent and inconvenient for the guest and has no convivial dimension, it is just insensitive, cold and uninterested. A few weeks ago I stayed in such hotel and upon my telephone request to meet with the General Manager was told : “ You don’t understand what the role of a General Manager is “, this GM definitely had a good security system to avoid customers and really didn’t care. Of course then the staff doesn’t care either and let me carry my own plate from the breakfast buffet to the table while handling a crutch at the same time. It could have been Erik’s hotel, but his skills are not yet known in that country. The factory approach is characteristic for most of the large chain hotels, the procedures are dictated by a big P&P book and therefore are efficient and uniform. In such hotel the convivial dimension components are quite often apathetic, aloof and uninterested, I do my job and the guest is “ Room 2217 “, not Mr. Smith. The friendly approach is distinctive for many independent hospitality organizations, no real procedural dimension, but the staff shows friendliness, tries hard to please and is interested in the customer’s needs. Such establishments could improve their financial results very fast by looking for expertise in establishing service standards and by designing service blue prints according to their and their customer’s needs. It is a matter of adding skills to the attitude readily available and visible. The sincere approach is, of course, a combination of proficient procedural as well as responsive, sociable and welcoming convivial dimensions, where staff ( and management ) realizes that it is not the product of the service that makes the profits but the customers.

It is only the front line associates that can create the values to delight, the “ WOW “ factor every consultant is talking about ...... Therefore Erik should spend more time understanding the staff and Angela should talk to more guests and both will discover that customer satisfaction is “ a short term emotional reaction to a specific service performance “, and this reaction can range from disgust through dissatisfaction to satisfaction and eventually delight. Guest contentment through operational perfection creates loyalty & satisfaction, not a perfect Sales Department. It is only the front line associates that can create the values to delight, the “ WOW “ factor every consultant is talking about ...... And the result is continuation of value, which builds the loyalty and the advocacy ! In the present battle for guests it is not the hardware that influences the consumer decision process, it is the service delivery that starts at the top with a highly discernible General Manager taking time to be in the lobby during “ rush hours “ and that ends with the engineering staff simply saying “ good morning “ when they change a bulb in your room. What Erik, Angela and many of their colleagues in our wonderful industry don’t seem to understand is that they have to put the people who deliver the service first and make service delivery the centerpiece of their competitive strategy. The winning edge is simple: It is the front line that creates the bottom line!

Bert “Bow-Thai” van Walbeek has been an Hotelier for 45 years and Marketer of Tourism for 35 years, a Motivator for 20 years, a Master of Disaster for 15 and a Lecturer for 15 years. He is the Founder and the Managing Director of The Winning Edge, ( ) a boutique consulting company, offering marketing audit, sales and service training and consultancy services mainly to the Hospitality & Tourism industries. He is a regular speaker at Hospitality Conferences and at Hotel Companies Senior Executive Meetings both in Asia and in Europe and can be reached at

Who’s Got

The Monkey Now?

How to find out How Well you Manage Your Time

Are you a manager? Would you like more available time? Yes, then read on . . . How come you’ve worked hard all day but haven’t started the one task that was most important to you? As a manager, how come your daily work schedule often falls in a heap by mid-morning? Who’s got the monkey? The answer is, you have - probably several! “Management Time: Who’s got the Monkey” has been the second most popular management article ever published by the Harvard Business Review (“Management Time: Who’s got the Monkey”, by William Oncken and Donald Wass, first published by Harvard Business Review, 1974) and has been reprinted several times. Thirty odd years later, the message Oncken and Wass sent us on management, still holds true today. They suggested that there are three types of management-imposed time pressure – Boss, System, and Self. Boss-imposed time pressure: Activities, which must be accomplished, or we’ll suffer the consequences! System-imposed time pressure: Those activities/requests which come from peers and colleagues. The penalties are not so severe or as swift, but we may still suffer if these things are not done. Self-imposed time pressure: Those activities we ourselves initiate or agree to do particularly those things which have been upwardly delegated from people who report to us. As managers, these activities impact heavily on our discretionary time, and the penalty for not doing these is stress. Oncken and Wass used the monkey analogy to make their point. As the manager, when someone in our team talks about a “problem” they want to “run past us”, the monkey (in other words, the problem) is very clearly on their back. But when we respond with something like “Well, I haven’t got time right now, but leave it with me”, the monkey immediately leaps from their shoulders to ours. We have just been on the receiving end of an excellent piece of upward delegation! If this happens to you every day (or at least more often than it should), you’ll soon be carrying a cagefull of monkeys on your back.

Not only have you reduced your discretionary time, you also must feed and care for the monkeys you’ve acquired. For example, your people are probably pretty good at keeping track of their delegated task, when they say things like “Hey boss, how’s that issue going that I told you about the other day?” The secret is to reduce the pressure of selfimposed activities to give us more discretionary time. You can then use this time to become more productive with your boss and the system and in the process, a better manager. How do you avoid catching monkeys and give yourself more discretionary time? The first step is to recognise that the monkeys are jumping onto your back! Use the following checklist to see whether as a manager you are a collector of monkeys. Answer each with “Always”, “Often” or “Rarely”. How often do I say . . . • • • •

• • •

“Leave it with me” “Can I think about that?” “I’ll get back to you on that” “I’ve seen something like that a thousand times. I’ll look after it for you” “I’ll get Bob to look after that” “Send me an e-mail on that will you?” “Don’t you worry about it”

If you found yourself answering “Always” or “Often” for most of these, then it’s probably too late. The monkey has just jumped! There’s a very good chance that you are taking on the problems of your people, rather than helping them solve the problems themselves and in the process, further developing their own skills and knowledge. In thirty years of running and designing management training programs, managers tell me that the one thing they would like to do better or more of, is delegate! Want to try again? Use the same “Always”, “Often” or “Never” on the following questions. How often do I say . . . • • • • •

“Let me know if you have trouble” “You know you don’t have to do it that way” “That’s interesting. I’ve never seen anything quite like that before” “I remember when that happened to.. “I think my last boss had something like that happen to him/her”

What you “can do” has nothing to do with your ability, rather it is about the amount of time you have available and how you use that time If you found yourself answering “Always” or “Often”, then the result is not as bad as the first list. However, beware! The monkey is about to jump! While the responses sound very supportive and helpful (which they are), starting out like this invariably ends up with you, the manager, taking on the problem to solve. How did you score on both lists of questions? Do you use similar phrases to some of the ones in the checklists? If you found yourself ticking a number of “always” or “often” columns, or you use similar phrases regularly, then chances are you need to be careful about taking on too many monkeys. Think about what: • •

you should and can do, then, what others could do for you.

What you “should do” is all about setting your priorities and sticking with them. What are the two or three things that you must achieve today, “come what may”. Do not be swayed from these! What you “can do” has nothing to do with your ability, rather it is about the amount of time you have available and how you use that time – in other words, effective time management. As the manager, you are the “expert” – your people know that there are lots of things that you can do. Do not be trapped into doing things just because you know how. While it may take a little bit of your time to teach or coach someone else, in the long run doing so will save you heaps of time. What “others can do for you” is about your willingness and ability to delegate. Remember, developing your people to take responsibility will provide you with more discretionary time to devote to other activities.

Bob Selden is the Managing Director of the National Learning Institute and the author of the Negotiating Advantage™, a blended learning process on negotiating. You can get more information on Bob and the Negotiating Advantage™ at:

Adaaran ‘Prestige’ Ocean Villas wins Excellence Awards at the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects Design Awards 2008 COLOMBO – Adaaran Resorts latest property, Ocean Villas has won the Excellence Award in the ‘Hotel & Tourism’ category at the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA) Design Awards 2008. Every year Sri Lanka Institute of Architects Design Awards gives recognition to outstanding work to the latest architecture and provides a greater appreciation of excellent architectural designs. SLIA Design Awards classifies the awards into 4 key areas; which are buildings, projects, products/interiors and open. Each of these four areas is further expanded with awards given in various categories. Mr. Mano Ponniah, Consultant Architect and Mr. Jean-Michel Fragnay, Consultant Interior

Designer for the Ocean Villas project received the excellence award for ‘Hotel & Tourism’ under ‘Buildings’ category. Upon receiving the award, Mr. Ponniah commented that the simplicity of the structural design, quality of the interior and immaculate methods undertaken in the construction were pivotal to the winning of the award. Adaaran ‘Prestige’ Ocean Villas project was lead by Chairman of Adaaran Resorts. The first Adaaran Prestige property to be launched in the Maldives was Adaaran ‘Prestige’ Water Villas in 2005. Their second Prestige property Adaaran ‘Prestige’ Ocean Villas was inaugurated late last year and their next property, Adaaran ‘Prestige’ Vadoo is set to officially open in February 2009 is also an-

ticipated to further add to the collection of Adaaran Prestige properties represented by excellent architectural designs and exquisite interior designing.

How to Sell to


Let’s face it. We all have those difficult customers to whom we are required to sell. From the demanding, abrasive buyer to the individual who never seems to make a buying decision, we encounter challenging people on a regular basis. Part of the reason this happens is due to the disconnect we have because of conflicting personalities. This article will look at the four key types of people and how to improve your results with each. Direct Donna Donna is very direct in her approach. She tends to be forceful and always wants to dominate or control the sales call. Her behavior is aggressive, she points at you while she talks, interrupts your to challenge you, and she seldom cares about hearing the details of your new product or service. Instead, she

demands that you “cut to chase” and “tell me the bottom line.” Donna is very resultsfocused and goal-oriented and hates wasting time. To achieve the best sales results with this individual you need to be more direct and assertive. Tell her at the beginning of the sales call or meeting that you know how busy she is and how valuable her time is. Tell her that you will “get right to the point” and focus your conversation on the results she will achieve by using you product or service. Resist the temptation to back down if she confronts you because you will lose her respect. To Donna, it is not personal, it’s just business. Lastly, be direct in asking for her businessyou don’t have to dance around this issue.

Talkative Tim Tim is a gregarious and outgoing person but very ego-centric. He is often late for your meetings and his constant interruptions and long stories cause your sales calls to go beyond the scheduled time. He appears to be more concerned with listening to himself talk which is frustrating because you don’t always get enough time to discuss your solution. Relationships are very important to Talkative Tim so invest more time in social conversa-

Analytical Alice

ers in the company or how his status or image will improve. In other words, appeal to his ego. Steady Eddie Soft-spoken, Eddie is a “nice” fellow who seems more focused on his team and coworkers than on his personal results. He is very quiet compared to some of your other prospects and can be difficult to read. But most frustrating is his reluctance to make a buying decision. Eddie’s mantra seems to be “I’m still thinking about but thanks for following up.”

tion. Even if you don’t see the point in this, he will appreciate the gesture and will like you more. This person often makes buying decisions on intuition and how he feels about the sales person. Be careful not to challenge Tim because he will feel rejected and when this happens he will “shut down” and become unresponsive. During your sales presentation, tell him how good your solution will make him look to oth-

Structure and security is important to these people and it is difficult for Eddie to make changes. He often contemplates how the decision will affect other people within the organization. That means you need to slow down the sales process, demonstrate how your solution will benefit the team, and remove as much risk from the decision-making process as possible. Soften your voice and make sure your sales presentation flows in a logical manner. Use words like “fair” “logical” and “your team” in your presentation.

She reads every point and specification about your product or service and regardless of how much information you give Alice, she always wants more, including written guarantees and back up documentation. She is very difficult to read and it is extremely difficult to get her engaged in an open conversation because personal feelings and emotions do not enter the picture when Alice makes a decision. Whenever possible, give Alice a written, bullet-point agenda of your meeting-beforehand. Ideally, email it to her a few days in advance so she can prepare herself. Make sure it is completely free of typos, spelling mistakes and punctuation errors. When you meet, follow the agenda in perfect order and if you make any type of claim, have supporting documentation available for her to read. While the approach to use with each of these people may not make sense to you or seem completely rational, it is critical to recognize that how you naturally and instinctively sell may not be the best way to get results with someone else. Modifying your approach and style, even briefly, will help you better connect with your customers and prospects which means you will generate better sales.

© 2008 Kelley Robertson, All rights reserved. For information on his programs contact him at 905-633-7750 or Kell

Four Simple Steps to Effectively Handle

Upset Customers

Many times in my career I have been exposed to a simple and effective system to help deal with an irate or upset customer. There are other variations of this system, but the most effective I have found, and use, is what is called the service LEAP.

If you are facing a customer that is angry, upset, irate, or any other form of dissatisfaction, you can effectively handle the situation by taking the LEAP. Just four easy to follow steps that can make a huge difference in your customer service skills. Remember these simple steps and add them to your service toolbox. You will find the LEAP to be one of the most effective tools available, I know I have.

Step number one: LISTEN Listen to the customer, let them vent, let them get it out of their system; allow them to say everything they want to say without interrupting them. As you actively listen to the customer you can often learn all you need to know. You may hear some details about the situation that can give you a clue to the best way to enact step number four. By listening and letting the customer say all they want to say, you are not only learning about what has upset the customer, but you are also helping the customer to deal with their emotions on the subject. Once they have worked through their initial emotions then they are more open to a resolution.

For the most part, the customer simply wants somebody to listen to them, to feel that their concerns are important. Just as any of us, the customer needs to feel like they really matter. You can accomplish this by just listening to them. Step number two: EMPATHIZE Empathize with the customer. Let them know you understand why they are upset about the situation. Share your understanding and that if you were in their place you too would be feeling the same way. Nobody wants to feel like they are all alone, and if you let the customer know that you understand their feelings in this situation, they know that they are not alone. You become an advocate of theirs and they will now look to you to set things right.

Will Maguire, CHA Over 20 years working in the hospitality industry in jobs from dish-washer to hotel general manager. Will demonstrates success in every stage of his career. Most notably in the service side of the industry. His last hotel went from the mid 50% to the top 5% in brand service rankings.

Make sure you are sincere about your empathy. People can tell if you are sincere or if you are just trying to fake it. If the customer feels you are faking it, they will only become more upset. In these tense situations you really don’t want to add fuel to the fire. Step number three: APOLOGIZE This is a crucial part of the LEAP. It is important to apologize to the customer. Now keep in mind, you are not accepting responsibility, you are not saying that you are at fault for what the customer experienced. You are simply apologizing for the incident. You are telling the customer that you are sorry the situation even occurred in the first place. Do not, I repeat, do not place blame. It does no good to place blame for the problem on somebody else. For one thing the customer really does not care who is at fault, they just want the problem to be fixed. By blaming somebody you also demonstrate that your company or service is not efficient. It sounds to the customer that your business does not know what’s going on and all you have working with you are people who can’t perform their jobs. As a customer service professional you should be sorry that any customer does not receive the best service experience each and every time they deal with your company. When the experience is not perfect, regardless of who is at fault, you should apologize to your customer. This lets them know you care about them, that you care about their business. Step number four: PROBLEM-SOLVE This is the most important part of the LEAP. It can also be the most fun part too. Solve the problem; find a way to fix the situation. You have listened to the customer, you know what the problem is, you have expressed empathy to show you understand the customer’s point of view, you apologized that the customer experienced the problem. Now, fix it. Make things right for the customer. Come up with two suggestions that could solve the problem and explain the two options to the customer. Let them choose which solution would work best for them. Tell the customer how you are going to implement the solution they chose and actually do what you said you will do. Communicate with the customer; let them know what steps you have taken and when they can expect the final resolution to take place. Be sure they are happy with the process and that the problem was completely solved. There you have it. The service LEAP, four simple steps that can make the biggest impression on your upset customer. If you can save a customer by fixing the problem right away, you have a loyal customer for life. Memorize the LEAP and try it the next time you are faced with an irate customer. You may be surprised how easy it works.

Ten Basic Tips to Maximize

Success 1.

Go back to basics in managing your business. ----- Take the time to review best practices as they apply to your business. Look at your processes, your procedures and your policies on a regular basis.


Understand your role in the market place. ----- Do an internal SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) with your management team and initiate a brainstorming or scenario planning session to reflect upon your changing role as a company in 2007 and beyond.


Develop or refine your strategic plans. --- If you don’t have a strategic plan, make it a priority to create one in 2008. It is money well spent. If you do have one, go through an extensive review of all the initiatives.



Create branch and operational plans that are in alignment with your strategies. --- If you have multiple branches insist upon a branch planning process that goes beyond turning in a budget. Make sure the plan is documented with timelines and accountability. Continue to develop and train employ-

ees (Don’t scrimp here). --- Continue to focus on people development. This will maintain employee respect, trust and will create a culture that will maximize employee efforts and willingness to do whatever it takes to create success. 6.

Upgrade your sales force and all support services. --- While employee development is critical to success, so is making sure that you have the right employees performing the right functions. Don’t let too much compassion for long tenure employees cloud your judgment.


Manage your inventory. --- Inventory for the vast majority of companies is generally the largest asset on the balance sheet and the easiest one to lose control of. Sales people like to say you can’t sell from an empty wagon but we all must realize that market forces will dictate what inventory levels are appropriate for individual success.


Understand and manage your cash to cash cycle. --- Inventory is certainly part of the cash to cash cycle but managing your payables and your receivables is also extremely important to cash flow. Profits are not necessarily cash so paying attention to cash flow is a very basic

Check out CEO Strategists Learning to Lead So Others Will Follow Planning Workbook and CD set.

principle of success. (e-mail for an excel cash to cash calculator – complimentary) 9.

Insist upon sales territory plans that target accounts based on potential for growth. --- It’s really fun being a sales person in an “Easy Profit” market. It is not difficult to do well and sometimes we can be lulled into a sense of eternal success that doesn’t require a 100% effort. It can lead to a comfort zone that is not healthy for long term success. Make sure your sales force practices a sales effectiveness discipline that requires documented action planning for specific targeted accounts that support individual territory plans.

10. Create change based on changes in your markets and your industry. --- Creating, instigating and managing change takes passion and courage. It’s not for the weak of heart. It is not for those who embrace simple traditional expectations. Effective leaders reach beyond these expectations. They become agents of change. Change is imperative in a “Tough Profit” market.

“The Hospitality Maldives journal is a must for all the stakeholders of the hospitality industry especially to the student-teacher community; it is a non-depreciable non-current asset for all concerned as it covers wider areas, provides latest trends, facts and figures and is simply superb.“ Michael Chinnappan, Senior Lecturer , Accounting & Finance, MAPS Institue

“A great magazine serving great things for the industry! Thank you Mr. David and crew for your dedicated service to the Maldivian hospitality industry!” Santhosh K. Krishnan, Chief Financial Officer, Mirihi Island Resort

“I have been reading your magazine from the very start, and I find that you are doing a great job in providing the best informative and educational articles on the largest industry in the Maldives. I find the articles unique & helpful. Most of the times when I get your magazine, there will be something that I would be looking for to help with a project I have at that time. Such an example is the sales training techniques in your issue 16 (as I remember), when I was about to conduct a sales training session. [...] Thank you for the great work you are doing for the hospitality work force and wish you would continue getting better day by day!” Ahmed Anees, Properties Coordinator, Platinum Capital Holdings Pvt. Ltd.


“The best community educator for the tourism industry in Maldives.” Mohamed Waheed, Assistant Manager, Summer Island Village

Hospitality Maldives Issue 18  

The magazine for the hotel, travel and tourism industry in the Maldives.

Hospitality Maldives Issue 18  

The magazine for the hotel, travel and tourism industry in the Maldives.