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I m p r e s s u m Published by Beyond Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. H. Always Happy House, L2 Asrafee Magu 20034 Male’ Republic of Maldives Managing Editor David Kotthoff

Design & Layout Beyond Media Design Pvt Ltd. Print Novelty Printers & Publishers Pvt. Ltd.

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.

Almost three years have passed since our maiden issue back in 2005 - a time that has been full of surprises, obstacles and doubts, but also great experiences and support from people involved. Employees have come and gone, offices changed, contributors moved on to other countries, printing companies had to be switched; still, we somehow managed

to beat the odds and not only keep Hospitality Maldives alive much longer than many expected, but also improved the magazine from issue to issue.

The nearly 150 written comments and thank-you-notes we received to date bear testimony

to the impact and place our little magazine has found within the local hospitality community.

It is those comments that keep us motivated day in and day out to further improve in the future.

On that note, I would like to send out a sincere word of thanks to all those who have helped create and sustain Hospitality Maldives, first and foremost our advertisers and

sponsors, but also our printing company and in-house staff. Last but not least, the biggest thank you goes to you, the reader, without whom Hospitality Maldives would have stayed what is was 3.5 years ago, namely just an idea.

We hope you enjoy the contents of this issue and look forward to receiving your feedback as always. Happy Reading!

Yours in hospitality,

David Kotthoff


Cover ADAARAN Resorts celebrates the winning of the ‘Indian Ocean’s leading destination’ award by the Republic of Maldives and the ‘Maldives Leading Water Villas’ award by ADAARAN ‘Prestige’ Water Villas at the World Travel Awards 2008, held in Shanghai, China. The World Travel Awards were launched in 1993 to acknowledge and recognize excellence in the world’s travel and tourism industry. The awards are regarded as the very highest achievement that a travel or hotel product could ever aspire to receive. Read more on page 66...

Welcome to the 20th edition of Hospitality Maldives.


Contributors Adaaran Resorts Bert Van Walbeek Bob Selden Chris Longstreet Daydots David Wheelhouse Doug Kennedy Dr. Mark Menguita Dr. Rick Johnson Hulhule Island Hotel John Hendrie Jorely Mathew Kelley Robertson Mark Hamister Neil Salerno Roberta Nedry Ron Kaufman Schihab A. Adam Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts Steven Ferry Sun Spa Resorts W Retreat & Spa Maldives

Dear friends and colleagues,

editor’s note

Advertising Hassan Hisham




Last Words 68

Who’s Got The Monkey Now - Part 2 62

Frustrated With Your Hotel Web Site 60

How To Lose A Customer For Life 58

Hotel Lessons Learned 56

The Value Of Promotion From Within 52

Customer Service - The Differentiator 48

Hospitality Bites 46

Blend Your Training Investment 40

34 Taming The Guest From Hell

32 Lip Service Vs Guest Service

24 Why Should I Buy From You?

20 Don’t Fall Victim To Cross Contamination

19 Complaints + Compliments

16 How To Restore Your Lost Passion

10 Management Meetings

08 Vital or Fatal Attraction

03 Editor’s Note





His Excellency Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, President of Republic of Maldives being presented with a commemorative gift by the Chief Executive Officer and President of Singapore Airport Terminal Services, Mr. Clement Woon.

Official Opening Of The Deluxe Wing Of Hulhule Island Hotel

In his speech, the President noted that the Hotel is vital both to the Male’ International Airport and to the tourism industry as it increases the conveniences offered to travellers, being the only transit style hotel on the airport. The President also said that the future of tourism in the Maldives is bright and that the growth of tourism sector

The Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Airport Terminal Services, Mr. Clement Woon, Chairman of Maldives In-flight Catering, Mr. Ali Hussain Didi and the General Manager of Hulhule Island Hotel, Mr. Utkarsh Faujdar also spoke at the ceremony. The Directors of MIC Mr. Yacoob Piperdi, Mr. Peter Tay, Mr. Ahmed Shakeeb and Mr. Ibrahim Amir also shared the stage on this occasion. After the inauguration ceremony, the President toured the new deluxe wing of Hulhule Island Hotel along with the distinguished guests. He was shown around the newly developed landscaping, Deluxe and Super Deluxe rooms by the General Manager of Hulhule Island Hotel, Mr. Utkarsh Faujdar followed by the refreshments at the Uduvilaa restaurant. The President was appreciative about the developments in the hotel.

The new wing comprises of 51 Deluxe and Super Deluxe rooms that have a superior style, design, theme and finishes. All the guest rooms have a better sea view as there is a balcony with each of the rooms. In this new wing, Hulhule Island Hotel also has extended other facilities such as a rooftop restaurant with a panoramic view of both Male and the Indian Ocean. The revised inventory for Hulhule Island Hotel is now 136 rooms inclusive of various categories of rooms on offer. It is worth noting that Hulhule Island Hotel was also adjudged as the ‘Best Culinary Establishment’ at Maldives in the Hotel Asia Exhibition & Culinary Challenge 2008. This was the second time in succession that Hulhule Island Hotel has bagged the honours.


Further, the President noted that the rapid rise in prominence of the Hotel and the inauguration of its new deluxe wing today is the result of the good management of the Hotel and the high standards of service offered by its staff.

offers a vast number of job opportunities for Maldivians. In the ceremony, the President was presented with a commemorative gift. The presentation was made by the Chief Executive Officer and President of Singapore Airport Terminal Services, Mr. Clement Woon.


The new Deluxe wing of Hulhule Island Hotel was officially inaugurated by His Excellency Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, President of Republic of Maldives on June 02, 2008. Speaking at the ceremony, the President said that following the inauguration of the Hotel in 2001, over the past seven years, the Hotel has become a key member of the travel and trade business in the Maldives. He also said that the Hotel has become well-known for its excellent services and the hospitality offered to tourists.

Vital or Fatal




Hotel executives should be like coaches, teaching values, politeness, friendliness and respect to the staff and if that happens, it will attract staff (and eventually guests) with the same values. Evil Erik doesn’t understand the world anymore. Here he is, making the owner happy and satisfy his needs, but the staff is driving him nuts by complaining and, oh wonder, resigning one after another. So what does he do to make sure not everybody resigns? He writes nasty e-mails, full of negative comments to their future employers, hoping they won’t get the job and stay! Evil Erik is also getting nervous about his own future in the organization he is currently involved in and is now sending birthday greetings to people he “knifed” only a few month ago! One has to think about potential “feedback” in this industry, doesn’t one? Fact is that the local staff is quietly observing what they in the meantime call “Star Wars” but, thank heaven, some of the more senior staff help the associates to remember the Mahatma Gandhi quote that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won!

There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS. But before going any further with this article please note, as always, that any resemblance of the various persons described in this article with any existing person is purely coincidental and unintentional and bears no relationship to any living, ethical person working in the hospitality industry! But the result is sad, the staff has the sleepless nights worrying about their fate, their attitude is plagued by insecurity and, no wonder, they don’t do the job they are supposed to do, creating happy guests! One of the craziest, but also one of the best General Managers I worked with, Mr. Albert Elovic, had a big sign in his office, saying “The fish stinks from the head and not from the tail “. And after he had moved his office from the 6th floor to the ground floor, right behind the reception desk, he put an even bigger sign outside of his door : “ Please come in, I would like to meet you “.

This expression of the idea that “thoughts introduced into reality, can attract like energy” is also often linked to the statement by Lord Buddha: “What you have become is the result of what you have thought” Once you accept this concept, you can understand why some companies attract different staff, and customers, than other, similar, companies.

Or do they walk through the lobby and the restaurant, checking ashtrays and shafing dishes, but not seeing, let alone greeting, any guests? Evil Erik says he is “too busy” to be nice, to be kind!

Evil Erik is rude, moody, and unfriendly to the guests and often behaves inappropriate in relation to some of the perks of the job, and this, accordingly to the law of attraction attracts employees like him.

In both cases, be assured that those executives will attract staff with a similar attitude and thus create the culture that will carry over to their customers.

That’s why Atrocious Angela, back from holiday, is secretly hoping that he stays away from her hotel and concentrates more on the other hotels of the group. Guests don’t get paid to be nice, but hospitality employees do. It would be easier if all guests were nice, but as service providers we are getting paid for being friendly. Still many supervisors and managers forget that it is nice to be important, but that it is more important to be nice!

To quote Mahatma Gandhi once more: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” I hope this thinking attracts you to take a hard look at your present level of customer service, in too many hotels, the service policy presently seems to be: “If you want good service, serve yourself .......” And, if Evil Erik ever applies at your organization, be aware, despite his great skills, of the fatal attraction!

The litmus test for any hospitality organization: Observe the behavior of the senior management, do they show compassion, kindness, dignity, courtesy when in contact with both their associates and their guests?

Bert “Bow-Thai” van Walbeek has been a 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 a regular speaker at Hospitality Conferences and at Hotel Companies Senior Executive Meetings both in Asia and in Europe and can be reached at


This law suggests that a person’s thoughts (conscious and unconscious), emotions, beliefs and actions are said to attract corresponding positive and negative experiences “through the resonance of their energetic vibration”.

Hotel executives should be like coaches, teaching values, politeness, friendliness and respect to the staff and if that happens, it will attract staff (and eventually guests) with the same values.


What this General Manager was aware of, and what Evil Erik doesn’t have a notion about, is the Law of Attraction that states: “You get what you think about ; your thoughts determine your destiny.”

Guests don’t get paid to be nice, but hospitality employees do. It would be easier if all guests were nice, but as service providers we are getting paid for being friendly. Still many supervisors and managers forget that it is nice to be important, but that it is more important to be nice!

Management Meetings

Why are they such a waste of time? How to follow the 80/20 rule and five steps to success! How often have you sat in a meeting thinking “This is such a waste of time. I have so many others things to do. I wish I could be somewhere else” Sound familiar? I’m sure we all have had these thoughts at one time or another and maybe for some of us, it has been very recent!

My experience as a line manager, senior manager and organisational psychologist over the last thirty years, means that I have attended and run many meetings. In my work, one of the most common complaints I get from all levels of the organisation, is that “We waste so much time here sitting around talking. Nothing gets done as a result”. Why are so many meetings a waste of time? My conclusion is that the vast majority of meetings: •



• •

Cover information that could be distributed by other means Focus too much on the past – what has gone rather than what is to come Do not have a clearly defined purpose with intended outcomes

So, if you have to run meetings, the first decision to make is to decide what type of meeting it is : Is this an information sharing meeting or a problem solving meeting? If it is an information sharing meeting, then there are two guides to follow: 1.


• •

Can the information be distributed in another way (eg email etc)? In this case there is no need for the meeting, thus saving a lot of time. If the need to share the information must be by way of a meeting, then the focus of the meeting (and time spent) should be 20% past oriented - i.e. reporting on the information (e.g. results) and 80% future oriented – i.e. deciding what we are going to do with the information.

Using the “80/20 rule” for your meetings will ensure that everyone participates and can see some real advantage to having the meeting. By the way, if you are a participant in one of those boring meetings we mentioned earlier, it is possible to have some influence on the meeting process. Keep asking “What are we going to do with this information?” or, “How should we proceed now?”. In other words, every time the meeting starts to focus on the past, redirect it to the future. If it is a problem solving meeting, then there are five steps to follow to ensure the meeting is a positive one with some productive outcomes. As with Information sharing meetings, quite often problem solving meetings don’t reach their full potential because the meeting dwells too much on the present or past situation, rather than “how things ought to be”. Using the following five steps will ensure that your meeting stays focused on the future and is productive. 1.

“Assume that we have just had a very successful year, and that we have received heaps of feedback which suggested our service given to customers has been first rate over the last twelve months: • • •

What things did we do to get such great success? What problems or challenges did we have? How did we solve these problems or meet these challenges?”

some free advice on how to construct your “problem solving” meetings, or to discuss any aspects of meetings, please contact me at

At the meeting ask all participants for their ideas and list these on a whiteboard or flipchart paper etc. Note. It is very important to list these ideas so that everyone can see them – this helps maintain people’s interest, keeps people focused and is useful for keeping the meeting on track. 4.

When the meeting has reached consensus on which items are worthwhile and achievable, two further columns are added to each flip chart page. One column is headed “By when” and the other is headed “By whom”


It is important that the workload is shared by all participants. In the first column “By when”, the group is asked to allocate a time for when this aspect could be achieved. When this is agreed, people are asked to volunteer to undertake responsibility for ensuring particular items are undertaken (not necessarily to do them, but to take responsibility for them), by placing their name in the “By whom” column. Once this is done, the meeting now has an action plan for solving the problem. This can be written up and distributed to people following the meeting.

I have used this process at all levels of organisations and with mixed stakeholder groups with amazing success over the last 20 years. Whether your meeting is an information sharing one or a problem solving one, I’m sure that using the guidelines set out in this article will make them more rewarding for everyone. If you would like

Like most managers, Bob Selden has conducted and participated in hundreds (possibly thousands) of meetings during his career as an operator, line manager, senior manager and organisational psychologist. Currently he is MD of the National Learning Institute and gives free advice on meeting design and conduct to new, aspiring and experienced managers. Please contact Bob at


The meeting pre-work question must be framed on the assumption that the problem has already been solved – ie. it must be expressed at some future time. For example, if a telephone service department were looking for ideas on how they might improve their service, the question might be put:

At the meeting ask all participants for their ideas and list these on a whiteboard or flipchart paper etc. Note: It is very important to list these ideas so that everyone can see them – this helps maintain people’s interest, keeps people focused and is useful for keeping the meeting on track.



Ask each participant to prepare for the meeting a few days in advance (one week is ideal, but not always possible) by jotting down some notes in answer to a short “meeting question”. They need to bring these notes to the meeting.


differ in a lot of ways especially pertaining to a patient approach. I am a conservative type of Doctor, I give emphasis on the symptoms and treat them based on what they need only. As once said by Dr. Patch Adam “You treat a disease you’ll win or you’ll lose, but if you treat a person no matter what you will win”. This has been the corner stone of my patient management. To be able to touch a patient is a given privilege but to be able to build an appropriate emotional connection and alleviate their sufferings making them feel that they are special is an honor.



Doctor On Call In Paradise My journey started when I was working as an Emergency Resident Physician in St. Elizabeth Hospital in General Santos City, Philippines. At that time I only knew few things about Maldives, geographically I wasn’t even sure of its exact location on the map. All I can remember is seeing it somewhere on National Geographic. That is why, when I got an offer to work at the newly opened W Retreat & Spa Maldives, I took my chance and headed to this paradise with no hesitation, much excitement and a pinch of anxiousness; well, it was my first trip abroad. The flight takes about more or less 8 hours from my homeland with 1 stopover in Singapore. During those times my adrenaline level is fluctuating, my heart is pumping fast and my emotions are mixed. It’s a vague type of feeling that you can’t describe. Just like any other overseas worker, I left my country in exchange of a greener pasture. Armed with guts and strong will I am going to unravel my dream into reality. Maldives is a classic book description of paradise. Some say it’s a wonderland; others just simply describe it as an escape from reality. To reach Fesdu island, the home of W Maldives, it will take a 25min seaplane ride from Male. A gentle cool breeze awaits

and kisses everyone embarking to a once in a lifetime adventure. The tranquility of the pastel blue sea, the joyful contours of the wave resembles a magical welcome that is full of surprises. In an instant I feel in love with my new home. The warm welcome and hello from my fellow islanders make my escape simply amazing. Working in a 5 star hotel or resort is quite challenging. With approximately 21 nationalities on board, you are bound to make an enormous adjustment. Understanding the culture of the local folks is just another side of the coin. It entails buckets of patience. On my first few months I did wide research on the forefathers of the Maldivians, their customs and traditions and their religion as well. This paved way to a much greater comprehension of the socio-cultural diversity of their roots and origin. During those times I learned to appreciate their uniqueness. This hastened my transition and eventually I was able to adjust on time and settled down with ease and comfort surrendering my senses and embraced my new haven with promising thoughts and aspirations. The dictum in medicine is “If you can’t do any good, then do no harm”. Different doctors have their own trainings and they

Mark Dennis Coderias Menguita, M.D. is the Resort Doctor at W Retreat & Spa Maldives.

It is ordinary on the island to meet and encounter some famous international personalities, from actors and actresses to oil magnates, football stars, kings and queens, politicians, singers, and all other famous faces around the world in all walks of life, the rich and famous in general. To be able to mingle with them and help them with their medical concerns is a humbling experience. The challenges of being a resort doctor come with great responsibility of ensuring that each patient will receive a high class standard of medical attention and care. There are three qualities that make a good doctor the best one: the TLC attitude or Tender, Loving and Caring. In the hospitality industry, I should say this is the bread and butter of good patient handling. Sometimes it is the simple tap on the back or shoulder, a friendly chat and a sweet simple smile that make them feel better, which is commonly referred to as “The Healing Touch”. It’s just another day in paradise as they say. People come and go. Time can be dictating at certain occasions, new faces, new challenges, a lot of surprises await especially those who dare to face the upcoming test of island life. But what matters most at the end of the day is the good rapport you develop with your patients. They may not remember your name but surely they will not forget that once you took good care of them transforming their vacation into a fabulous one. As the sun sets to rest and the blue sky turns into gray, another day is about to end and with pride I can always say to my patients “It has been a pleasure serving you”.





WOW! W Retreat & Spa – Maldives wins Best New Hotel / Resort 2008 TravelWeekly (Asia), the region’s leading travel trade publication, hosted its Second Annual Asia Travel Industry Awards at the Marriott Hotel Singapore. There, the W Retreat & Spa – Maldives was awarded Best New Hotel/Resort. A record 2.2 million voters went online to choose the best of the best. General Manager Brian Segrave said, “On behalf of the entire team that worked incredibly hard in launching the W Retreat & Spa- Maldives, it is an enormous honor to have this effort recognized with this prestigious award… As the creative workshop of the W Retreat & Spa concept, we look forward to growing this exceptional brand, continuing to blend W soul with unique destinations, and infusing a contemporary twist to traditional Asian hospitality.” “We are absolutely thrilled to receive this award”, said Neil Palmer, Senior Vice President - Operations for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Asia Pacific, “And are grateful to the readers of TravelWeekly for their vote of confidence! Since its opening last year, the W Maldives has been offering guests a magic mix of an exclusive luxury destination – the

Maldives, a unique service philosophy with Whatever/Whenever/Wherever and a collage of Ws most innovative design and concepts, redefining the luxury retreat experience for its guests! It is truly a resort that stands out as amongst the worlds very best.” The TravelWeekly (Asia) Industry nominees are selected by a panel of distinguished judges who are travel experts and veterans in the industry. The winners are then voted on by TravelWeekly (Asia) readers and industry colleagues. W Maldives is also the recipient of Travel & Leisure’s Design Awards for Best Resort and included on the 2007 Condé Nast Hot List for Best New Resorts. Most recently, under the direction of award-winning Executive Chef Hector Jimenez-Bravo, the Culinary Team entered the 5th Annual Hotel Asia Culinary Challenge and medaled in 7 of the 8 categories entered. W Retreat & Spa – Maldives is the first Retreat in the W Hotels Brand. W Hotels is a global lifestyle brand with 22 properties, with 20 in the pipeline over the next 3 years.

The fastest growing luxury brand hotel brand in the world, W Hotels offers a unique mix of innovative design, comfort, and cultural influences from fashion to music to art and everything in between. Parent company Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. continues to aggressively grow its global footprint with a record number of new hotels projected by 2010. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 900 properties in more than 100 countries and 155,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft, and Element. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit

Contact: Rosemarie Domdom, Director of Marketing, Telephone: + 960 666 2208, Mobile: +960 977 3977, Email:,

Hulhule Island Hotel wins ‘Best Culinary Establishment Award 2008’ The culinary team of Hulhule Island Hotel led by Executive Chef Mr. Ravi together with the participants in Cocktail competition under the guidance of Food and Beverage Manager Mr. Safdar Ali Khan won 19 medals and awards at the recently concluded Hotel Asia Culinary Challenge Competition 2008.

Fruit Vegetable Carving - Gold Medal with challenge Trophy Kumar De Silva

Bread & Pastry Display - Merit Award Kumar De Silva Dress the Cake - Silver Medal Indra Kumar Limbu Desserts - Silver Medal Indra Kumar Limbu Lamb - Silver Medal Ismail

Lamb - Bronze Medal Ibrahim Naim

In all, Hulhule Island Hotel won 19 awards and medals which was the highest, won by any Hotel / Resort.

Fish - Bronze Medal Moosa Rameez / Saeed Mohammed Chicken - Silver Medal Moosa Rameez / Saeed Mohammed Chicken - Silver Medal Thusantha Gamage Innovative Breadmaking - Bronze Medal Dayan Kumara Beef - Silver Medal Abdul Raheem Beef- Bronze Medal Subas Chicken (student category) - Bronze Medal Aminath Azlifa Chicken (student categoy) - Bronze Medal Juthamas Bordeerat Cocktail - Silver Medal Sanka Nishantha

Hulhule Island Hotel also won the prestigious award for ‘Best Culinary Establishment 2008’ at Maldives. Hulhule Island Hotel received a trophy and USD 1000/- for the same. This is the second time in succession that Hulhule Island Hotel has been adjudged as the ‘Best Culinary Establishment’, the earlier being at the last Hotel Asia Culinary Challenge Competition in 2006. The jury comprising of professionals from the industry including Mr. Alan Palmer (Chairman of judges), Mr. Tarek Ibrahim (Senior Consultant Middle East & Africa), Mr. Gregory Lobo (Consultant Executive Chef Unilever Food Solutions) and Mr. Imran Hasan (Director of South Asia Exhibition Services) adjudged the participants from 32 resorts. ‘We are proud to be adjudged as the Best Culinary Establishment yet again and we shall continue to excel further. Our team is our biggest asset’ said Mr. Utkarsh Faujdar, General Manager of Hulhule Island Hotel appreciating the sincere efforts of his team emphasizing the continuous focus on quality in operations.

The team members who have contributed in Hulhule Island Hotel being awarded the prestigious award for ‘Best Culinary Establishment’ at Maldives. Sitting: (Left to right) Thusantha (Sous Chef), Ali Shakir (HR Manager), Utkarsh Faujdar (General Manager), Safdar Ali Khan (F&B Manager), D. Ravindran (Executive Chef) Standing: (Left to right) Juthamas, Ismail, Ibrahim, Subas, Indra, Moosa, Mathew, Abdul, Nishantha, Shiek, Kumara, Aminath, Dayan, Saeed.


Dress the Cake - Bronze Medal Kumar De Silva

Cocktail - Bronze Medal Mathew Poulose


Each of the participants in culinary challenge from HIH won accolades in their respective categories. The following are the details on participation and the prizes won:

Desserts - Silver Medal Ismail

Restore Lost Passion



How To Your

The German poet Hebbel wrote that “Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.” Those are inspiring words when you’re already inspired, but what do you do when your enthusiasm has dried up? There are four things that help me restore my passion when it’s on the wane: 1. Start Something New In order to get passion back in the driver’s seat, try getting involved in a new sector of business. Look for a job in a new industry, start a new business, or buy one. But whatever you do, follow Ben Franklin’s words of caution: “If passion drives you, let reason hold the reigns.” When I look for

new challenges, I take care not to stray too far from my present skill sets. Just because you’re good at one or two things, you shouldn’t assume that you can do anything. I learned this when I entered the sports management business in the late 1990’s. Although we had a number of great staff members, dedicated athletes, and many successes, we found that controlling the quality of play was an elusive and frustrating endeavor. The dynamics of league leadership and the agendas of other markets added to our dissatisfaction and caused us to disconnect from our core skills. Since my company has always been committed to providing quality service, the industry simply wasn’t a match for us.

The hotel business, on the other hand, was a perfect fit. The Hamister Group, Inc. has a 30-year history of excellence in longterm care management. About 25 years ago we adopted a hospitality-based culture by studying the Ritz-Carlton and Disney operating models. We therefore knew that we could successfully transfer our skill sets into the hotel industry. We bought our 1st hotel in 2004 and our 10th in November 2006. I am now very passionate about hotels. 2. Serve Your Community Mitch Albom wrote that “the way to get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your

“the way to get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” on its board I learned a great deal about strategic planning and thinking. I was able to see a different response to my leadership skills, since participants were not my paid employees. The intensity of the challenges that Independent Health continues to provide keep my passion flowing and make me a better leader in my own company.

3. Get Curious About the Opinions of Your Front Line Staff

One of the most challenging experiences I have ever had was my 15-year participation in the Board of Directors of Independent Health, of a non-profit health insurer. Independent Health operates in a complex business sector and requires its board members to engage at a consistently high level. While serving

Take them out to lunch—without their managers—and ask them what can be done to improve business. Ask them how you can serve your customers better and how you

When hotels or assisted living facilities lose their competitive edge, you have two choices: perform a major refresh/renovation or exit. If you’re going through a passion-low, the latter may seem to be the most attractive choice. But don’t fold too quickly. Figuring out what needs to be done to remake your business can be a real energy boost. One of our assisted living facilities became uncompetitive a few years ago and we had to decide whether to close the facility or commence a major renovation. We realized that it would take a large sum of money (the project ultimately cost $10 million), so we wanted to evaluate the situation carefully. We spent a great deal of time talking to our customers and asking them what they wanted, a task which really helped us to reengage with assisted living. Phase 1 of this renovation—which is so extensive that we call it a Reinvention of Luxury Senior Living—was completed in late 2006. It included a Grand Lobby as posh as those of luxury hotels, a 5-star Dining Gallery, a 12-seat movie theater, oversized rooms with king and queen beds, and a Computer and Recreation Center facing a landscaped inner courtyard. How can anyone not be passionate about such a spectacular facility? The same thing occurred during our recent refresh of one of our Marriott-branded hotels. We were due for a refresh, but after talking extensively with our customers, we decided to spend extra money and exceed the minimum refresh requirements for our property: we doubled the size of our breakfast room and added an Internet Cafe. These extra measures not only make us more competitive, but they also give us a greater sense of pride in our business. And pride also helps produce passion.

Mark Hamister is the CEO of The Hamister Group, Inc. and The Hamister Hospitality Group, LLC, a rapidly growing hotel property 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: and


community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” Serving others is both a great energy boost and a way to freshen up your leadership skills.

I firmly believe in the words of Samuel Johnson: “Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last.” We have housekeepers and nursing aides who have not even finished high school, but they have become service experts through years of direct contact with customers. So be curious about what these people think and never underestimate the value of their input.

4. Refresh


It doesn’t matter what kind of project you choose—whether it involves the performing arts, aiding the disadvantaged, environmental preservation, etc.—as long as it’s something you can be passionate about.

can improve their working conditions. Even ask them what they think the company does wrong. Their feedback is likely to be helpful and eye-opening. And enforcing the changes they suggest will give you a renewed sense of purpose.



Complaints + Compliments =

Good Communication A complaints and compliments ratio encourages staff to actively avoid or suppress written complaints from customers. After all, every written complaint will impact the ratio to their disadvantage.

I agree that staff should do whatever they can to satisfy customers right away, but they should also encourage customers to write down and submit their comments quickly and easily.

When comments filtered through managers replace direct commentary written by customers, subtle nuances may be lost. Don’t let this happen to you. Instead of a complaints and compliments ratio, try using a ‘comments from customers ratio’. With this approach, gathering bountiful customer input is more important – and rewarded – than suppressing customer complaints.

Key Learning Point Written feedback from customers is priceless. It gives you unvarnished input you can study, circulate and discuss. Instead of penalizing your staff for complaints, praise them for actively seeking input and ideas from the folks who know you best - your customers. Action Steps Design a small, attractive Customer Comment Card that is simple and easy to use. On one side print `Thank you for letting us know’ with a blank area for their comments. On the other side, provide space for your customer’s name and contact information (optional). Place the cards where customers will easily find them: on counters, in packaging, etc. Give cards to all staff members and encourage them to seek out customers’ comments. Track the volume of written input over time. Run a contest to increase the flow. Set a standard for the minimum number of customer comments each month.

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


For example, if your station gets 3 compliments and 0 complaints, and my station has 6 compliments and 3 complaints, whose station has a better ratio? Yours has, of course. But which station is gathering more written feedback from customers? Which station is harnessing more input, suggestions, responses and reactions for detailed review? Mine!

This real-time ‘voice of the customer’ feedback should be circulated widely within the organization and carefully studied by all departments. Such direct input can provide valuable insights and better understanding of current, and changing, customer expectations.


Some companies track a monthly ‘complaints and compliments ratio’ for each branch, store, department, country or station. This approach has a fundamental flaw. Here’s why:


Dont Fall Victim to

Cross Contamination

Everybody who has attended a food safety course has heard the term “ crosscontamination.” The word is even getting out to the public-atlarge through education campaigns such as Fightbac’s Separate. Don’t cross-contaminate”. Cross-contamination is simply the transfer of foodborne pathogens from contaminated surfaces to ready-to-eat foods.Sometimes mere transfer is enough to cause illness, and sometimes additional time and temperature abuse is needed to reach harmful levels. When cross contamination happens, the consequences can be devastating. Outbreak examples Every year people fall victim to food borne illness caused by cross-contamination. Here are some examples: •

Contaminated equipment can contaminate ready to eat foods. The fruit cut on the raw poultry cutting board is a classic example of this type of situation. Numerous outbreaks have been caused by this type of practice. Transfer of Listeria monocytogenes from equipment to food has recently been studied because meat slicers are difficult to clean. A higher prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes in deli-sliced meats over those sliced at food processors has increased interest in this a rea. This bacterium poses a severe health hazard to immunocompromised people especially if given time to grow to high levels.

The USDA estimated that the annual cost of Campylobacter, Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7 and other Shiga toxin E. coli, and Listeria monocytogenes foodborne illness in the United States for 2000 was $6.9 billion dollars when medical costs, productivity losses, and cost for pre m a t u re death are considered. If only a fraction of this cost is associated with cross-contamination, think of the savings that would be realized if people would just take the time to understand and implement the controls that can prevent cross- contamination.

People who handle both raw and cooked foods are prime candidates for causing cross-contamination. Ideally, one person should handle raw product and a different person should handle ready-to-eat product, but sometimes this isn’t practical. If that is the case, handwashing between handling raw and ready-to-eat food is essential and mandated by the FDA Retail Food Code. Care must also be taken with uniforms, aprons, gloves, and other equipment to make sure that crosscontamination is controlled. Failure to wash hands after using the re s t room is also a notable cause of the problem.

Cross - Contamination Causes

Cross - Contamination Prevention

Cross-contamination can occur in a number of ways. Raw foods can contaminate readyto-eat foods. The egg batter outbreak is an example of this type of contamination. It is essential to separate raw, contaminated foods from ready-to-eat foods. Storing raw meat and poultry in separate coolers if possible or on lower shelves is a fundamental food safety control. Care must be taken that juice accompanying raw meats does not drip on ready-to-eat product. Covering foods minimizes the potential for contaminated material to drip into food.

1. 2.

3. 4.


There are five basic strategies to prevent cross- contamination training that ensures that food handlers understand the issue and know how to prevent it, handwashing to control the human element of cross-contamination, sanitation to keep harmful bacteria at bay, 4) separation to prevent food to food transfer, and verification to make sure that people are doing what they are supposed to do.


These outbreaks demonstrate that crosscontamination can happen anywhere in restaurants, in delis, at food processors, and no doubt in homes. No one wants to be associated with any outbreak and when inadequate procedures such as crosscontamination are a root cause, the event can be even more devastating. If the emotional consequence of causing harm is not enough, product liability law is an additional issue since victims have the right to be compensated for their losses. In the contaminated potato salad outbreak, a class-action lawsuit resulted in a $3,000,000 settlement and the deli went out of business.


In 1989, Campylobactermade 101 people ill in Missouri after they ate cantaloupe, honeydew, or pineapple. The ultimate problem was that the fruit was sliced on cutting boards used for raw poultry. In 1990, 320 people became ill and 8 were hospitalized after eating foods from a salad bar cross-contaminated with Salmonella from uncooked meat and poultry. In 1992, 434 patrons of a New York restaurant became ill from a variety of cooked foods that were crosscontaminated with Salmonella f rom egg batter made with raw eggs. Seven victims were hospitalized. In 2001, watermelon contaminated with E. coliO157:H7 made more than 40 people ill and a 3 year old child died. Ultimately the source of the E. coli was traced to raw beef that crosscontaminated the watermelon. In 1998, 5600 people in Chicago became ill from enterotoxigenic E. coli in potato salad, which was cross-contaminated in a sink where sewage backed up. In one of the largest examples of crosscontamination, an estimated 224,000 people became ill after consuming ice cream contaminated with Salmonella. The pasteurized ice cream mix was transported in a tanker truck that had previously hauled raw eggs.

Constant vigilance can keep the potential for cross-contamination in check, but it needs to be constant. With persistence, you won’t fall victim to cross - contamination.



Training: One of the most important tools to prevent cross-contamination is training for all food handlers. Unless people are made aware of the cause and consequence of cros s -contamination they may get into a routine that puts products, consumers, and reputations at risk. When they are rushed for time, they may even cut corners and take additional risks, which frequently put an even greater number of people in jeopardy. Ongoing training and reinforcing that crosscontamination measures must be practiced at all times is essential to prevent problems. Handwashing: Handwashing is an essential element of any cross-contamination control program. Food handlers (and everyone else for that matter) should wash their hands after using the restroom, coughing, sneezing, or handling raw foods or other contaminated surfaces. Handwashing is i m p o rtant even if gloves are worn because gloves sometimes leak. Gloves can reduce the potential for cross- contamination only if they are changed frequently. A gloved hand that touches contaminated surfaces can also be a source of cross - contamination. Finally, reinforce good handwashing procedures by requiring everyone to wash their hands when entering the kitchen or processing area. That includes food handlers, managers, maintenance workers, visitors, and others. Sanitation: Cleaning and sanitizing are the third essential element in a crosscontamination prevention program. All equipment that comes in contact with food should be washed and sanitized often. Dismantle difficult to clean equipment to make sure all surfaces are cleaned. During cleaning, keep in mind that sponges, mops, cloths, and other cleaning implements can also be a source of cross-contamination if they are not maintained. Make sure that your clean surfaces a re not recontaminated by old cleaning implements.

Separating: Keep raw foods separate from ready to eat foods. If possible, dedicate different equipment for raw and cooked foods. Color coding equipment can be a very useful technique to reinforce the need to separate raw and ready to eat food. In some situations, time can be used as a form of separation. Prepare cooked foods, clean all equipment and surfaces, and then handle the raw foods. Verification: It is important to periodically verify that the training you conduct is effective and that the procedures that you expect are being followed. Basic “management by walking around” is the first step in verification.

One of the most important tools to prevent cross-contamination is training for all food handlers. Unless people are made aware of the cause and consequence of cross contamination they may get into a routine that puts products, consumers, and reputations at risk. Look at what people are doing and ask them periodically about their job. A well trained employee will be able to tell you what they are doing and why they are doing it. Use of a new set of eyes through independent third parties such as Ecosure ™ ( www. ecosure. com) can be very useful in identifying opportunities to improve the fight against cross- contamination. Cross-contamination is preventable; however, the battle against cross-contamination is never ending. Bacterial come in on raw products and on people. They can even become residents in nooks, crannies, cracks and crevices that exist wherever food is handled. Constant vigilance can keep the potential for cross-contamination in check, but it needs to be constant. With persistence, you won’t fall victim to cross - contamination.

Katherine M.J. Swanson is a recognized food safety leader with over 20 years of food safety and quality experience. She is currently Vice President of Food Safety at Ecolab, where she provides internal and external leadership by identifying emerging food safety trends and new control strategies. This article reprinted with permission by Daydots 2008.



Why Should I




From You?

Virtually every business you contact has this question in their mind. To truly maximize your revenues you need give people a reason to buy from you versus a competitor. Here are a few strategies that will help you differentiate yourself from your competition. First, it’s important to understand that people make their buying decision on two levels – logical and emotional. The logical aspect revolves around the product or service and includes such things as product specifications, warranty, price, colour, size, ease of use, etc. Anything directly associated with the product is a logical need. The second buying motivator and, perhaps the most powerful, is the emotional aspect of the sale. These criteria are the less tangible needs and include feelings of success, relief, pride, joy, fear and concern. For example, a person buying a pair of jeans will have specific logical needs such as waist size, inseam length, colour and style. But, ultimately, the emotional aspect of how they fit and look will influence that person’s buying decision. To uncover your customers emotional buying requirement learn to ask, “What are you

It’s important to understand that people make their buying decision on two levels – logical and emotional. Invest the time accurately and thoroughly learning your customer’s need and wants. This will help you to begin differentiating yourself from your competitor.

looking for in a…?” followed by “Why is that important to you?” The first question helps you learn the logical need while the second question will help the customer express the emotional reasons behind their purchase. In the hundreds of sales training workshops I’ve conducted, I’ve learned that most salespeople and business owners have a tendency to leap into a product demonstration before they have learned what is important to the customer. Invest the time accurately and thoroughly learning your customer’s need and wants. This will help you to begin differentiating yourself from your competitor. The next step is to give a presentation that focuses on the customer’s needs. Rather than discuss everything about your product or service, focus first on what the customer identified as being important. This demonstrates that you listened to what they said and will help you separate yourself more effectively. When presenting your product or service ensure you discuss the benefits as well as the features. The feature is “what it is” and the benefit is “what it means to the customer.” A

great way to phrase this is to say, “Our equipment extracts 97% of the water from your carpet (feature) which means your carpets will be dry to the touch within three or four hours (benefit).” This addresses the customer’s emotional buying needs which means there is a greater likelihood they will buy from your versus a competitor.


People also make buying decisions based on their overall experience in your store or place of business. Here are just three influencing factors: 3. 1.

Ease of business. Are you easy to do business with or do I, as a customer, have to jump through hoops to return something? Are you well staffed or do you reduce your costs by scheduling a skeleton staff at any given time?

Staff accessibility and attitude. Is your team friendly and well trained in customer services procedures? Do they exhibit the mentality that the customer is important and comes first or do they spend their time gossiping and gabbing? Do they eagerly approach the customer or do they wait for customers to come up to them first. I recently bought an aquarium and although the staff was knowledgeable they made me feel like I was intruding on their time. Product selection and availability. Do you have a good supply chain management or order fulfillment process in place. Prior to buying my aquarium I placed my order at one store and at the time of writing this article almost six weeks later I still haven’t been advised that my tank has arrived. And this was a stock order!

Lastly, equip your team with the tools they need to properly do their job. Take advantage of the product training most manufacturers provide, invest in the on-going development of your people, and help them succeed. I’ve worked with companies who invest a great deal in their employees and others who spend a bare minimum. The difference in their overall results is always significant. Today’s business environment is more challenging and competitive than ever beforewhich means you need to give people a clear reason to do business with you rather than someone else.

Kelley Robertson, President of the Robertson Training Group, works with businesses to help them increase their sales and motivate their employees. For information on his programs, contact him at 905-633-7750 or at


Soneva Gili Wine Tasting



On 17th June, we had some distinguished wine connoisseurs from New Zealand and Australia arrive at our shores to promote their wines and respective companies. In attendance were Blair Gibbs - Spy Valley Wines (NZ), Matthew Donaldson – Pegasus Bay (NZ) and Simon Napthine – TarraWarra Estate (AU). These owners, cultivators, distributors and sellers of fermented juice of grapes are dynamic pioneers in the world of new-age wines and have already gained notable applause and accolades for their outstanding contributions to the wine industry. Spy Valley Wines won numerous honors from various independent wine bodies, including a Gold Medal Award and Champion Gewurztraminer Trophy at the New Zealand Royal Easter Show in 2008 and a prestigious award from the New Zealand Institute of Architecture for the eye-catching design of its winery built in 2003 in 2006. In 2006 & 2007 Pegasus Bay produced three wines that gained a collective achievement rarely seen these days and which were also highly praised by none other than Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, the single most influential writer in the wine industry.

In the morning they presented around twenty hosts with a wine tasting spectacle. In the early evening at the cocktail party they openly conversed with the cosmopolitan group of guests and served them deliberated wines and finally later on that evening, they joined a small gathering of hosts for some scrumptious food with an array of delectable complementary wines chosen by our resident Dutch sommelier, Jasper Kok.

Below are the wines, their winery and region chosen by our revered wine specialists.

Fourteen hosts tasted eight wines from our guests carefully selected collection over a two-hour period in which numerous explanative answers were matched with their well consider questions. A few of the hosts were wannabe WSET trainees who had come to see the venerated wine experts at work, and of course sample the grand offerings in store for any wine enthusiast. Indeed, the knowledge that these wine experts shared with us was bountiful and so was their relentless enthusiasm for what they live and breathe for. Their evident passionate quest to enlighten those who wish to be wiser about wines was also plain to see and it will be remembered by all those who congregated at the over-water bar and restaurant here at Soneva Gili by Six Senses.

Tarrawarra Tin Cows Pinot Noir 2006 Yarra Valley, Australia

Kilikanoon Morts Block Riesling 2007 Clare Valley, Australia TarraWarra Tin Cows Chardonnay 2005 Yarra Valley, Australia

Stella Bella Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Margaret River, Australia Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Marlborough, New Zealand Spy Valley Gewurztraminer 2007 Marlborough, New Zealand Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Semillon 2007 Waipara Valley, New Zealand Pegasus Bay Main Divide Pinot Noir 2007 Waipara Valley, New Zealand

Jorely Mathew is the Training Manager of Soneva Gili & Six Senses Spa

W Retreat & Spa – Maldives: Chefs Win First Culinary Awards For The Property

What made the competition an even greater feat was the efforts it took to bring all the necessary materials to Male. Fesdu, the island that is home to the W Maldives, is only a 25 minute seaplane ride from Male or an hour and a half boat ride. Chef Hector and the first 3 chefs, had to take a 20 minute speedboat to another island for their departing seaplane, make two stops on the way to Male, all the while carrying all the necessary supplies for the competition.

Of more than 20 Hotels, 200 chefs and 8 categories, the W Maldives chose 7 to compete in and placed in each: Hot Beef: Angus beef medallion, truffle infused carrot puree, Szechwan guafrette Gold Medal, Rahul Rana Hot Fish: Curry infused poached barramundi, grilled prawns, garudya broth Silver Medal, Chaminda Rohan Dessert: (first participant), Valrhona chocolate mousse, Baileys center, coffee ice cream & chocolate noodles – Silver Medal, Ashok Kumar Hot Lamb: Pistachio crusted lamb loin, herb infused whipped potatoes, onion & berry compote – Bronze Medal, Chaminda Rohan Hot Chicken: Goat cheese & duxelle filled chicken breast, polenta tower, shiitake & brie foam – Bronze Medal, Manas Mallick

Dessert: (second participant) - Lemongrass & milk chocolate mousse, salted caramel & coconut sorbet – Bronze Medal, Manyula Indika Innovative Bread Presentation: Bronze Medal, Manyula Indika Fruit & Vegetable Carving: Merit Award, Ivan Ong Creative and modern recipes like these are what you would find when dining at any of the Eateries at the W Retreat & Spa – Maldives. Or, if you just wanted something simpler, there is something for every palate. As the W philosophy implies, “Whatever/Whenever” is truly a decadent indulgence. W Retreat & Spa – Maldives is the first Retreat in the W Hotels Brand. W Hotels is a global lifestyle brand with 22 properties, with 20 in the pipeline over the next 3 years. The fastest growing luxury brand hotel brand in the world, W Hotels offers a unique mix of innovative design, comfort, and cultural influences from fashion to music to art and everything in between. Parent company Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. continues to aggressively grow its global footprint with a record number of new hotels projected in 2009.

Contact: Rosemarie Domdom, Director of Marketing, Telephone: + 960 666 2208, Email:


The W Brand, a division of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, has always been ahead of the trends and there was no lack of innovative ideas when it came to creating delectable dishes. Executive Chef, Hector Jimenez-Bravo, a member of the Chaine de Rotisseurs Gastronomic Society, said he had to coerce his team to participate because they did not feel they had the confidence to prove their skills in these un-chartered waters…their talent and persistence proved them wrong.

The three chefs then took a ferry back to Fesdu and returned again the next morning with additional supplies and three more chefs. Most of the other competing resorts only had a 20 minute speedboat ride to arrive in Male.


Maldives, 23-25 June, 2008 – Take an awardwinning Executive Chef from Colombia (by way of Russia and Canada),The W Brand and talented chefs; put them together at the Fifth Annual Hotel Asia & Culinary Challenge and youget 1 Gold Medal, 2 Silver, 4 Bronze and one Merit award. This was the first time the W Retreat & Spa Maldives participated in the event, the largest of its kind in the Maldives, and the first time any of the competing chefs took part in a culinary competition.





Manafaru Glee

Cream Cheese Glee With Rhubarb Jelly And Sablé Hollandaise



Schihab A. Adam, Executive Pastry Chef The Beach House at Manafaru Maldives

Ingredients for the Glee:

Method for the Glee:

500 g (Elle & 250 g 3 each 3 each 500 g 200 g

Use electric mixing bowl with paddle attached. Mix cream cheese and icing sugar together until it turns smooth and creamy. Add the eggs and egg yolk to the cream cheese combination and mix carefully for about two minutes, and then add whipping cream. Combine it well for another two minutes.

cream cheese Vire French brand) icing sugar whole eggs egg yolk whipping cream strawberries

Ingredients for the Sablé Hollandaise:

Method for the Rhubarb Jelly: 1.


3. Method for the Sablé Hollandaise:

150 75 20 225

g g g g

salted butter icing sugar whole egg flour

Ingredients for the Rhubarb Jelly: 700 g washed fresh rhubarb 300 ml water 4 each gelatin leaves 150 g caster sugar

Mix the butter with the icing sugar. Add eggs and then flour. Beat the mixture, then set it aside for 3 minutes. Spread and cover it with cling film, then place it in the refrigerator to harden. Spread the cold dough and bake at 171°C. 1. Place the sablé with little melted butter into a baking tin or mold with a 4-cm thickness underneath it. Press down hard until it is very flat. 2. Place strawberries in the bottom of the tin, then pour in the cream cheese mixture. Bake it in a 140°C oven for about 20 minutes, then open the oven door and bake it for another 20 minutes. 3. Remove it from oven, let it cool down, then chill or freeze it for about 3 hours.



Clean the rhubarb stalks, cut them into small pieces and wash them well, then place them into a saucepan. Pour the sugar over the rhubarb and water in the saucepan and cook the rhubarb over low heat, stirring it all the time, to boil for about 25 minutes, or until it reaches the desired thickness. Stir the cold-water-soaked gelatin leaves and remove from heat. Pass it through a conical strainer. Leave jelly in ice bath, then cool it down and place it on a thin tray. Let it set in the refrigerator for about 2 hours before using it. Place the jelly on top e of delight. Cut into 10 cm by 3 cm rectangles.




Lip service vs. guest service Saturday is my day to recover from a busy week. I was ambitious recently and scheduled a full day to get my rest in one of Fort Lauderdale’s newer full-service day spas. On the agenda: a manicure and pedicure. When I called for my pampering experience, they told me to plan for 2 1/2 half hours. Perfect. I had a three-hour window and my toes already were wiggling with excitement. I asked the receptionist to confirm that treatments for me and a companion would begin exactly at noon and be completed by 2:30 p.m. so we could make our next relaxing appointment. She reassured me they would. We arrived at noon, our feet already undressed. The receptionist noted our excitement, remembered our time window and let us know our therapists would be with us shortly. At 12:25, our therapists came out to greet us. My anxiety was slight at this

point. I selfishly wanted all 2 1/2 hours to pamper my feet and knew we had just lost 25 minutes. Nonetheless, we were led to a private room, seated in comfy armchairs, received herbal tea and water –- but then had to wait some more. Our therapists had to assemble lotions and potions to get the job done, and at 12:45, the real treatments began. With increasing anxiety, we began to resent paying the hefty $65 for 45 minutes that did not involve our feet or hands. Although flustered, our therapists reassured us we would be out by 2:30. At 2:55, with tissue still between our toes and polish still wet, we had to leave. Although everyone involved knew of our time restraints, our bill was not ready and had to be redone twice before we finally could leave.

The next day, the spa called to tell us we owed an additional $18. Amazed, I returned the call and spoke to the spa owner. I relayed how upsetting our experience had been, how the time commitment had been broken during each step, how the service was not even close to satisfactory, and how surprising it was to learn that we had to pay even more because of a billing error. Aghast with my comments, she told me that, in 20 years, no one had ever complained about service at her spa. Although that may be true, I was not looking for a history lesson and certainly was not feeling any better about my first (and final) experience at her spa. Once we defenses, customer now had

got through all the excuses and she realized she had an unhappy and tried to make amends. She a huge opportunity to turn a

negative into a positive. Her commitment to me was that she wanted us to come back and have a positive experience. And she said we would not be further insulted by the additional charges. She promised that her assistant would call me the next morning to set everything straight. That was more than two months ago. I am still waiting for the call. This entire experience can be summed up in two words – lip service. At each point of contact, promises were made and broken. Service was not delivered. It merely was implied to get us in or off the phone. What message do most organizations communicate to their employees when management does not illustrate the exact service they want delivered? Why did the spa owner pass me to her assistant instead of using her authority to resolve my concerns immediately? What model should employees follow – lip service or guest service?

When dissatisfaction occurs, that business should address the concerns head-on and work with the guest for a mutually happy solution. This often creates even greater opportunities to secure a customer for life.

Being defensive or challenging a customer’s reaction only makes matters worse. Each guest experience is personal and real for that individual guest. Customers want to be happy, and they want their needs addressed. Sometimes, a simple acknowledgment and apology will do. Making amends, where reasonable, is even better. Going above and beyond is superb. These simple concepts apply to every link in the personnel chain, from top to bottom, back to front. A broken promise is twice as bad as the promise that never was made. Customers and guests remember how they are treated, and they love to tell others. Repeat and referral business affect the bottom line, and those who do not manage the guest experience guided by these facts probably will not be around for long. As a customer, I will not return to this spa, nor will I recommend it to others. In fact, I’d say my lips are sealed.


Obviously, the employees in this spa follow their leader and leave the guest experience to the guest. If a business makes a commitment to guests and charges money, it has the responsibility to follow through. If it wants customers to return, that business must create a reason. Service must exceed expectations and go beyond guest satisfaction.

Each guest experience is personal and real for that individual guest. Customers want to be happy, and they want their needs addressed. A broken promise is twice as bad as the promise that never was made.


Roberta Nedry is President of Hospitality Excellence Inc., consultants in guest experience management, and an adviser to the South Florida Business Journal’s The Guest Report. She can be reached at (954) 779-7772 or by e-mail at


Taming the Guest from Hell Hell was introduced to the industry in two articles entitled Besting and then Muzzling the Guest from Hell published by several industry organs. The feedback demonstrated strong support for the idea of an international database for the hospitality industry that would put an end to the free run of free service some guests have enjoyed by following the formula of “complain loud enough, be mean enough, and the suckers will comp you.” This strategy echoes Hitler’s “The bigger the lie, the more the people will believe it” — as long as they fail to face up to the unpleasantness and do nothing about it.

“Please let me know if anything comes of the national database. It is a wonderful idea and will find tremendous support from the hospitality managers if not the entire industry.”

“Reading your article about guests from hell has made my day. I had only been in this business for less than a year as the GM of a modestly sized hotel in a small Midwestern town, when I was ready to look for any other work. Why? Because of the stress caused by the few bad guests out of the thousands of good guests we had served. I believe, as you, that these are indeed serial criminals acting the way they do just to get free lodging.

Several readers shared their own experiences with guests from hell, such as the following:

“Take one guest who had reserved a room for one night. The next day, he asked to

Typical of the feedback received was, “Your articles have given us strength to carry on. It seems these people gravitate to new facilities such as ours in the hope less-experienced staff and managers will be easier prey....and they may be right.”

extend for a day and we granted that. The next day, his wife complained that a housekeeper had stolen make-up from the room. We checked with the staff, but no one had noticed any make-up in the room. Still, we purchased comparable make-up for her and I offered a discount on the cost of their room (as a result of which my owners now want to pre-approve all purchases). The next day, the couple was supposed to check out and did not do so, although all their possessions had been removed from the room; so we ran their card and checked them out. That night they came back upset that their key would not work. The gentleman ranted about having a five-day reservation and would not listen to anything else, including any apology. We put them back in the same room, rearranging future reservations for other guests in order to do so. I even extended the additional discount to all five days of their stay. When they finally left, it was a distinct relief for everyone involved.

There are also the saboteurs. We had a couple complain to our headquarters that the toilet constantly flushed all night and they could not sleep. It was not flushing when I was in their room helping them with Internet access, but after they left, it was running constantly because someone had moved the flapper off by 90 degrees. He complained that the AC would not

Loyalty appreciates the unique gifts of each member of your team and actively creates opportunities for learning, growth, and development in the workplace. In searching for a partner to create and manage this Guest from Hell database, early advice included: “Your article was quite something. I am told that Talbots has computerized customers who continually create problems, particularly with their gracious return policy. They track these folks and their history and actually get to the point where they inform this type of customer that they are no longer

However, the editor of the magazine publishing the articles said in July 2007 that he would like to use his resources to run the database. He put his Sales and Marketing Director onto the project and the Institute provided the initial text for the Web site and overview and policies on how the program should run, as well as a program of steps to take to bring it to fruition. After providing initial feedback on the name of the database (Guest from Hell was fine for editorial, not a serious business), the Sales and Marketing Director ran with the concept, brought in investors and by the beginning of 2008, launched the database as Hotel Safeguard. Keeping the Database on Target The danger of keeping a database on guests is that it can set the hospitality industry on a course that belies its true nature: hospitality being, after all, a caring welcome for strangers, no questions asked. We cannot turn into Stasi or FBI agents, suspicious and challenging of our guests, secretly collecting information on them in ever more intrusive ways or using the threat of blacklisting to bulldoze genuine guest complaints, justifying shoddy service. The answer is to define clearly the very few who are to be reported on, and hold vigorously and unfailingly to this definition. Otherwise, like the Federal Income Tax of 1913, or the current Alternative Minimum Tax, both of which targeted a small percentage of the very wealthy and gradually expanded to include everybody (Income tax currently, AMT predictably eventually), all guests may have files kept on them eventually.


“I have also had guests demand the manager come in late at night so they could argue about rates; one of these guests brought my front desk clerk to tears with his abuse, then complained to our HQ when I asked him not to return to our facility.

“I guess that in this business you see the full range of people and the 98% who are pleasant just seem to fade into the background due to the noise of the 2% of guests from hell. Thank you for offering a glimmer of hope for the future. Maybe with that database of guests from hell we would be better prepared and wouldn’t lose so many good people to less stressful jobs, like bomb squads and hostage negotiations.”

welcome to shop at Talbots. Hospitality and sensibility only go so far when someone has ransacked the relationship. Typically, the guests from hell you are referencing receive free meals, rooms, cocktails, etc, and sometimes they even bring suit—a nuisance and expense. Perhaps consider working with and being sponsored by insurance companies that cover hotels for such suits (presented on the expense side, it would fall under their umbrella, and insurance companies probably already have this info somewhere, as all businesses are subject to ruse), as well as the larger hotel chains and the AH&MA. Good lord, credit card companies have protection built in, too, for any charge, which may be the seamless protector needed and offered as a service or specialty to their market.”


“A few days later, the gentleman called the hotel demanding to know what the additional charge was on his credit card statement. I asked him to send me a copy of his statement so that I could research any unauthorized charges. When I pulled up his folio, the ‘additional charge’ was for the first two days and the other one was for the next three days. I refunded the first two days’ charges and ended my letter to him with, ‘I hope you find future stays in other hotels to be more enjoyable’ ...hoping he would take the hint and never return.

work and he could not get cool all night. She complained that it was too cold and she could not get the heat to work. Maintenance found that the PTAC thermocouple had been bent out of shape and was unusable. It had been working fine while I was up there earlier. They filed an official complaint that counted against us, and yes, they got their comp room.

This database or directory should not be for guests who occasionally have issues and are either comp’ed by the hotel to redress an imbalance in service or product delivered, or who seek to be comp’ed in proportion to an actual failure to serve or damage done.



Nor is an angry, inconsiderate, rude, and generally highly unpleasant person really the definition of a guest from hell. Yes, there are hellacious guests and we’d prefer not to service them, but in hospitality, one is there to serve graciously. Such unpleasant guests are part of the terrain, they are often not always so, and it is not for hotels to screen guests according to their character. To illustrate the point, let’s take this story from a hospitality professional: “As I walked into the front desk area of a beautiful property, a woman was going ballistic at the hotel manager, ranting and raving and giving him a mouthful in a very serious manner about how she didn’t need to bring business to his hotel. I couldn’t help but ask the lovely front desk girl what the problem was all about, as I thought something really bad had happened. Can you believe that the woman had asked for a horseback ride to be arranged and, in order to be fitted with the correct horse, had been asked her age, height, and weight! What a very sad person she must have been to make such a commotion over something so trifling.” What hoteliers do have a right to do is prevent fraud. Anger and antisocial conduct in and of themselves do not show intent to defraud. Consider these two stories. “In 25 years, the strangest guest(s) was a family staying at large hotel near Disney I managed in the mid 1980’s. The husband reported money had been stolen from their room. The new Manager on Duty reported it to me as I was leaving for the day so I decided to assist. On arriving at the room, we were met by a husband, wife, and two kids. The husband was fuming and beet red, telling us how $10,000 had been stolen from his room while they were at the attractions. I asked to see where the money had last been seen. Yelling and calling us all kinds of names, he showed me a black overnight bag. I asked him if he travels differently when with family versus for business, and could he have put the wallet someplace else. Across the room

lunges his 4-foot 2-inch wife, bounding up on the bed in a feeble attempt to go eye to eye with my 6 foot 2 frame while calling us names that must still be hanging in space over Disney. “I called the law. The law arrives and took their report. Included in the wallet were credit cards and travelers checks. I offered the use of my phone and office so he could place cancellation calls. Again, he continued to call us names when in the office, in front of his kids and others. He placed a call to his boss instructing me to tell him what had happened. Feeling for the kids, we offered to buy them dinner in one of the restaurants. During the meal, he told anybody and everybody his opinion about what had happened to his wallet. He demanded to speak with the housekeeping staff and I told him that would not happen. His response was that he would talk to anybody he wanted on a Sunday morning. “The next morning, as I entered my unlit office, the phone line lit up. Looking down at it I said to myself ‘That has got to be Mr. Guest from heck.’ I answered the call. It was his wife. She wanted to tell me that they had found the wallet. She asked me if I could call their credit card and Traveler Check Company to cancel their cancellation. Hours later, the wife appeared in the lobby to checkout while her husband sat in the car...maybe, just maybe, too embarrassed to make eye contact. Method of payment? Credit card or traveler checks....those had been canceled...of course, I helped them out to help the kids.... “The award for second place goes to the case of the Lost-and-Found hand gun. Same hotel, highly populated by families with kids. A guest checks out. Room cleaner calls to report gun found. I approach it with caution, empty it, cover it in a towel and take to my office for inventory and placement in the safe. “Several days later, the guest calls housekeeping to see if he had left his gun at our hotel. The call is transferred to me. The caller announces ‘I cannot understand why that imbecile transferred me to you. All I want is my gun back.’ I asked the caller to describe the gun, with manufacturers name

and serial number. To which he replied, ‘I guess you are the hard ass there.’ My response was that I was just doing my job. After we exchanged stats and pleasantries, I asked when he would be stopping back to pick it up? He said ‘You ******ing idiot, I live in the Great Lakes area and will not be back there for years. Just mail it to me.’ I had to explain to him that I could not mail it to him as it is against the law and weapons can only be shipped from one dealer to another. At that point he said ‘Just stick it in a box and mail the ******thing, you *****’ To which I said, ‘OK, you can pick it up at the County Police Department,’ giving him the number and address. To this day, I can still here him yelling as we closed our phone conversation. Thanks for listening: better and cheaper than a psychiatrist.” To make the grade as a Guest from Hell, there really has to be the distinct intention to defraud, and a pattern of doing so or attempting to do so from one hotel to another. In such cases, the game or focus for hoteliers switches from providing hospitality to playing cop.

Loyalty appreciates the unique gifts of each member of your team and actively creates opportunities for learning, growth, and development in the workplace.

That is what should have happened at a hotel where I was training the butlers, but did not happen because no mechanism existed for defining and pushing back against guests from hell. It was what gave me the idea for such a database. Picture a hotel opening where the staff had pulled off miracles to open on time (the owner and his family even rolling up their sleeves to sweep floors, organize, push, debug and drive through the myriad projects and sub projects involved in constructing and opening a large, five-star standard hotel). With great anticipation, the opening ceremony goes smoothly. The full house includes one gentleman and his entourage in the Presidential and adjoining suite. We first started to notice trouble when this guest ordered breakfast from the butlers and from room service. He requested different items for different times from each department. When the butlers and room service independently delivered the requested items at the requested time, the guest complained they were early/late and had forgotten items. This upset the employees initially until they compared notes. At checkout, the guest listed these and myriad similar “failings” and demanded the entire week’s stay for himself and entourage be comped.

Another way of putting it, is we are not behavior monitors or censors, but hospitality professionals with a duty to employees, corporations, and guests to discourage and eliminate criminality when it raises its ugly head. Every time a Guest from Hell, who may have been written up in another hotel’s database, comes to your hotel(s), you are behind the 8-ball and have to go through grief before becoming the wiser. For the one-time effort of transferring any existing database and ongoing input of information, and a fee per hotel, you can have access to a far more complete database than your hotel alone can create, save on comps and their narrowing of the profit margins, increase employee equanimity for better service, and leave the chore of running the database to another. So the next time a guest trashes a suite or noisily demands to be comped at the end of a stay for reasons without merit, you don’t have to fawn or smile a smile you do not mean and hope that the steam coming out of your ears isn’t visible. You can do something about it! Skewer away!

Steven Ferry consults and trains butlers in hotels, hotel condominiums, private villas, resorts, and private estates; spa butlers in facilities with spas, and corporation employees on a variety of topics. He is Chairman of the International Institute of Modern Butlers ( and author of multiple industry articles and the best-selling industry texts, Hotel Butlers, The Great Service Differentiators and Butlers and Household Managers, 21st Century Professionals. He can be contacted at


Actions speak louder than words. The best way to ruin your reputation, your discipline, and your department’s efficiency is to keep telling your workers you are willing to go to bat for them “all the way to the top” and then when times get tough, you do not support them.


It was.

Subsequent enquiries with two hotel chains found this individual to be blacklisted within each chain for what essentially is fraud. It is this kind of deliberate effort to steal or defraud, as well as tendency to damage property, which should be the subjects of reports for any Guest from Hell database.





‘Blend’ your



training investment

The trickle of our alarm during recessionary times soon becomes a veritable rumble. Everything is at risk, as we attempt to advance revenue and cut costs. We see evidence of our wariness across the landscape: development on hold, support departments, like Marketing and Human Resources, punctured, Operating Budgets slashed, projections diminished - everything on hold, under review or just erased. One of the first areas always targeted is Training and Development monies. We know we have commitments to meet in the Continuing Education of our employees. Certain positions need their certifications, others are in the midst of degree granting Programs, Skills need constant attention, our practices change, and technology is always evolving, and we need to keep au courant. Most of us in Hospitality do not have either the resources or the commitment of a Marriott, although we recognize that our investment shall undergo an extensive challenge and transformation, as the battle for Human Capital intensifies. When you source talent, you must retain and develope that talent. Opportunity for Career Development is a means to accomplish those objectives, and this can be addressed even in a down Economy.

delivery and platforms available have taken a significant surge forward from the old time classroom approach, where we either trained our people on-site or in the locality or sent our people to larger cities. The Internet changed it all and also removed the usual, traditional excuses. Now, we can consider “blended” Training and Development, where our options are 24/7, at a variety of costs, platforms and schedules. We understand that Training dollars are limited. We know that time is money and also limited. Everyone has specific needs, learns comparatively through different mediums, and retains that knowledge to various degrees. The face-to-face, personal exchange is still very important, as shown by conventions, forums, association meetings, and specific training programs. The opportunity for networking, socializing, experiencing advanced products and perhaps learning something new is of great value. But, as associations, meeting planners and host properties and Destinations know, this type of convening shall take a radical tack in the near future, as companies further pull back from this type of expenditure for their Executives, middle management, technicians and staff.

their workstation computer, or take it home. And, we can always host a meeting for that personal exchange. Travel and down-time is minimized, while Program content and “takeaways” are maximized. This is a very exciting time for Training and Development - how we educate our people, advance their knowledge, enhance their skills and invest in their future (and, ours, I might add). The “Blend” recognizes the constraints of time, money and resources. What is available in the Marketplace is extraordinary. The audience can be thousands, such as the new Q Care program in Oregon, an effective Training tool used for Destination Development. Or, it might be as simple as a Housekeeping-How-To CD for your new employee. Perhaps, the CEO needs the latest on Revenue Management and signs-up for a Webinar. Or, your servers have a new POS system to learn, on-line. Goodbye to the days of raising the hand in the back row. “Blend” is here!

Many of us do not need a sophisticated Performance Evaluation system to assess the Training and Development needs of our employees. A given - we need to be more productive, more resilient and adaptive, and certainly more competitive. This stance does not organizationally resonate with just a motivational speech at a department meeting. You need to follow-up and through. Fortunately, the means of training

Sustainability and economics will dictate, and the familiarly called “boondoggle” shall become a low priority. Look for scheduled presentations and Workshops to be simulcast with Sponsors and Vendors to have infomercial time and Q&A an on-line interaction. The “Blend” maybe broadcasted remotely, but the essence is anything but remote. The “blend” shall strike the balance. Senior Management can participate in a Webinar in the comfort of their office or Conference Room, digesting specific information to help frame their strategies. Middle Management can also enjoy this type of platform or perhaps interact with a facilitator, hosting a specific discipline or skill based presentation. Staff can watch a CD in the cafeteria, pop it in

The author believes that Remarkable Hospitality is the portal to the Memorable Experience. Seek solutions at:, email:


Training has become “virtual”, an awareness that any employee or group can undertake any program, literally anywhere at any time. Training Professionals and enlightened Managers understand the new applications and implications. The “blend” is the panacea.


Skills need constant attention, our practices change, and technology is always evolving, and we need to keep au courant.

Sweet Dreams at Sun Spa at IruFushi Beach & Spa Resort



Announcing the first Sleep Spa Concept in The Maldives

Sun Spa at IruFushi Beach & Spa Resort, due to open in summer 2008, will launch the first Sleep Spa concept in the Maldives. In collaboration with the resort team, the programme, entitled Sweet Dreams, has one main goal – to help adults and children relax and to catch up on that much needed sleep that many of them can only dream of doing whilst on holiday. A holiday is something to look forward to, however, the stresses of modern day life can often take their toll and the sheer effort of getting away from work, let alone packing a suitcase and coping with any airport dilemmas can often be quite traumatic. So much so, that even whilst away in the most tranquil of surroundings, it can take some the entire holiday to begin to relax and catch up on their sleep. For Adults, the Sweet Dreams programme includes: •

Parents can rest assured that the younger member’s won’t lose sleep on holiday either as the Sweet Dreams resort plan extends to children, too. It includes: •

A selection of children’s books that can be borrowed from the library for a bedtime story

Commenting on the new Sweet Dreams concept, Tina Dotzauer, PR & Marketing Manager for IruFushi’s Sun Spa says, “We have customised some of the Sun Spa pavilions to include low and mood lighting and special relaxing aromatherapy. Its customary spa practice to leave a guest to relax for a few minutes after a treatment, but so many times we hear how they would prefer just to stay where they are and take a nap after their massages. Guests on the Sweet Dreams programme will be able to do just that, leaving the spa not just thoroughly relaxed but also refreshed and energised after enjoying a wholesome siesta. In addition, the Sun Spa yoga specialist will show guests who book the 1-week ‘Sweet Dreams’ program how to fill in a sleep diary, which will be discussed each day and aims to give a useful insight into each individual’s sleep patterns and will ultimately help with techniques for sleeping more soundly.” The Sweet Dreams packages can be prebooked via Sun Spa’s website www. or on arrival at IruFushi Beach & Spa Resort. Prices start from US$160 per adult. Sleep Statistics Lack of sleep can cut lives short and decrease the overall quality of life. Major risks of sleep deprivation can lead to heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, accidents, lower libido, faster ageing, infection and depression. A recent survey from the Gallup Organization says the majority of people return from holidays more tired than before they left. Poor planning, later bedtimes and unfamiliar accommodations were cited as impediments to a good night’s sleep. Russell A. Sanna, Ph.D., the executive director of Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine advises that medical

Guests on the Sweet Dreams programme will be able to do just that, leaving the spa not just thoroughly relaxed but also refreshed and energised after enjoying a wholesome siesta. studies conducted over the past 25 years are clearly showing us that, along with nutrition and exercise, good sleep health is vital to our overall well-being and optimal daily performance, both intellectually and physically. Sun Spa Resorts Pvt. Ltd. is a spa management company incorporated in the Maldives. Its primary aim is to develop, manage and operate full spa and wellness facilities. The company’s first Sun Spa was opened in December 2005 at Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort, followed by the second spa at Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort in February 2006. The third Sun Spa is scheduled to open in summer 2008 at the new 5-star island resort IruFushi Beach & Spa Resort in unspoilt Noonu Atoll in the Maldives. In 2007, the Sun Spa Resorts family grew even further by establishing its new brand within the company: ‘Shui’. The first ‘Shui’ resort spa has opened its doors in December 2007, at the luxury boutique resort The Beach House at Manafaru Maldives. Shui is closely linked with The Beach House Collection and offers a different product and treatment range than the Sun Spas, while still adhering to the same basic principles.

For further information, please contact:Sun Spa Resorts Pvt. Ltd. Head Office: H. Maley-thila, Meheli Goalhi, Male 20-05, Maldives, Phone: +960. 332 5977, Fax: +960. 330 0639,,


Early evening dinner buffet, bedtime story groups and slumber parties, hosted in conjunction with the kid’s club Audio-book or music-related CD’s for children to listen to as they fall asleep Sleep inducing drinks such as warm milk or hot chocolate


• •

Special afternoon and evening spa treatments to encourage a siesta or good night’s sleep A yoga specialist who will offer private classes teaching special breathing techniques and stretching exercises designed to encourage relaxation Special teas designed to aid sleep Massages and baths with essential sleep-inducing oils A special extended pillow menu including buckwheat pillows, memory foam pillows, side sleeper pillows, etc... A sleep concierge who is on-call so if guests can’t sleep they can ring for encouragement CD’s of poetry, music or a talking book which can be delivered to the room so Sweet Dreams guests can listen to their very own bedtime story A Sleep-All-Night-Cap, a special cocktail created by the resort-team using ingredients to aid sleep





Hospitality Bites

President inaugurates Manafaru resort



President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom officially inaugurated “the Beach House at Manafaru Maldives” on Monday. Speaking at the ceremony after the inauguration of the resort, the President said that the tourism sector was expanding rapidly across the country and that the fruition of the Government’s efforts to promote the tourism industry was visible. He expressed his happiness on the progress of the industry and said that it was a great honour for him to inaugurate the resort. President Gayoom thanked the Chairman and Managing Director of the Sun Hotels and Resorts Pvt Ltd, Ahmed Siyam Mohamed, senior officials of the resort, members of staff of the resort and tour operators of the resort. President Gayoom then highlighted the services of Ahmed Siyam Mohamed to promote tourism industry in the country and noted his excellent efforts to maintain the high standard of tourist resorts. President Gayoom also said that the Government gave priority to providing job opportunities to Maldivians as new resorts were developed in the country. He said that the tourism sector is one of the pillars of the country’s economy and highlighted the importance of sustainable development of the industry. At the inauguration ceremony, the President was presented with a commemorative plaque. Ahmed Siyam Mohamed presented the plaque to the President on behalf of Sun Hotels and Resorts Pvt Ltd. Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Mahmood Shaugee, the Chairman and Managing Director of Sun Hotels and Resorts Pvt Ltd Ahmed Siyam Mohamed, Director of Job Market Maldives Pvt Ltd Mohamed Saleem and the Director of “The Beach House at Manafaru Maldives” Hussain Salim Mohamed also spoke at the ceremony.

Dr. Abdulla Mausoom appointed as the new Minister of Tourism. Dr. Abdulla Mausoom has been appointed as the new Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation on 15th July 2008. Dr. Mausoom also headed Maldives Tourism Promotion Board from 2004 until his appointment as the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation 0n 21st February 2008.Dr. Mausoom was sworn in following the resignation of Dr. Mahamood Shaugee who has accepted the President’s request for his service as the Vice-Chancellor of the first University to be established in the Maldives.

UAE-based Landmark Hotel Management Co said on Tuesday it plans to launch 10 sharia compliant hotels and serviced apartments in the UAE and Saudi Arabia by the end of 2010. Six of the 10 projects will be launched in Dubai, two in Abu Dhabi, one in Fujairah and one in Jeddah, the company said in a statement. All the projects will be alcoholfree, serve halal food and give a percentage of their profit to charity, it said. Source: WORLDHOTELS has been voted “Best Independent Hospitality Organization” in the TravelWeekly Asia Industry Awards 2008, which took place in Singapore on 18th July 2008. WORLDHOTELS is Europe’s longest established global hotel group for independent hotels and regional brands. It was the first time the awards had a new category honouring independent hotel groups. The prestigious awards 2008 promote excellence, professionalism and best business practices.

Diabetes Screening and Health Education Programs on Diabetes and Cancer conducted for staff of Chaaya Island Dhonveli A series of programs on Diabetes Screening and related health education were conducted by a team of the Diabetes and Cancer Society of Maldives (DCSM) for the staff of Chaaya Island Dhonveli on 28th of June 2008: 1. Cancer health education session by community educators 2. RBS Testing for resort 176 staff 3. Consultation by Doctor and Nurses on request especially for Diabetes and Cancer related illnesses at the program site 4. Presentation on Breast and Cervical Cancer for the female resort staff with special emphasis on Breast self examination and Pap Test 5. BMI calculations for the 16+ age group with advice on diet and exercise for the overweight population group. The programs were attended by a total of 176 staff of the resort and consequent testing yielded the following results: Percentage 06.82% Percentage 40.30% Percentage 19.90% Percentage 02.20% Percentage diabetes 15.35% Percentage 66.80% Percentage 44.90%

of people with high RBS level of people with high BMI of people with high BP of Diabetic patients of people with family history of

of people with high Fat % of smokers

For more information visit

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) announced that its St. Regis brand will debut in Malaysia with the signing of The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur.

Bangkok-based Scott Asia Communications and Singapore’s ICON Communications have won the PR contract for the inaugural ITB Asia 2008 which takes place in Singapore, October 22-24.

Hospitality Bites courtesy of

Per Aquum is pleased to announce the appointment of Axel Jarosch as General Manager, Desert Palm, Dubai. Located on a private polo estate just 20 minutes from the city centre, Desert Palm is a stylish alternative for those looking for a private, intimate escape from the hectic pace of this bustling city. Axel was previously General Manager of The Fortress, Per Aquum’s award winning property in Sri Lanka where he successfully increased revenue and built a strong reputation as the leading resort in the country.

Male’, 22 June 2008; The Maldives has been chosen as the Indian Ocean’s Leading Destination by the World Travel Awards (WTA). Male’ International Airport, Maldives won the “Indian Ocean’s Leading Airport” award. The Asia and Indian Ocean Winner Award Ceremony was held in Shanghai, China on the 19th of June 2008. Maldives Tourism Promotion Board accepted the award on behalf of the Maldives tourism industry. In addition, in the Regional category Conrad Maldives, Rangali Island won the “Indian Ocean’s Leading Hotel” award. Kurumba Maldives won the “Indian Ocean’s Leading Resort” award and Baros Residence, Baros Maldives won the “Indian Ocean’s Leading Villas” award. Vermillion International won the “Indian Ocean’s Leading Travel Agency” award. In the national category of World Travel Awards, Kurumba Maldives won the “Maldives Leading Resort” award and “Maldives Leading Spa Resort” award. Adaaran Prestige Water Villas Maldives won the “Maldives Leading Water Villas” award. Maldives won these prestigious awards after a voting campaign which reached more than 167,000 travel agencies, tour and transport companies and tourism organizations in over 160 countries across the globe. The World Travel Awards is hailed as the “The Oscar of the Travel Industry” by the Wall Street Journal. The World Travel Awards were launched in 1993 to acknowledge and recognize excellence in the world’s travel and tourism industry. Now celebrating its 15th Anniversary, the awards are regarded as the very highest achievement that a travel product could ever hope to receive.


The annual ITB Berlin is the largest travel trade show in the world. ITB Asia is parent company, Messe Berlin’s, initiative to diversify the brand to Asia. The Asian event, which is supported by Singapore Tourism Board, has been designed to serve the global travel needs of the increasingly important Asian traveler.

Ms Roberts-Brown, who will be based in Australia, will be responsible for overseeing business development, hotel relations and the operations of the SLH Regional Office in Sydney. Paul Kerr, Chief Executive Officer of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, said: “This appointment reinforces our commitment to the Asia Pacific region and demonstrates our strength in this market. With over 20 years experience, Ms Roberts-Brown will complement the strong team of industry professionals in the Sydney office and will help provide strategic direction for the region. She brings with her an extensive knowledge of the travel and tourism industry and a strong business network, as well as a deep understanding of cultural differences across the region.” Ms Roberts-Brown joins the company at an exciting time as the luxury hotel brand continues to go from strength to strength across all areas of the business. With over 440 hotels in 70 countries, including 74 new hotels in the last year, SLH was recently voted the number one luxury hotel brand and also the luxury brand that offers the “Best Customer Experience”, by the New Yorkbased Luxury Institute. Despite the global economic downturn, 2008 global reservations revenue year-to-date is up 14 percent on the same period last year.

Maldives chosen as the ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Destination’ at the World Travel Awards 2008.


Owned by ONE IFC Sdn Bhd, the newly constructed property will include 200 guest rooms and 200 whole-ownership St. Regis branded Residences, as well as a luxury Remède spa, gourmet dining and spacious meeting facilities. Offering an unrivaled dimension of luxury, sophistication and bespoke service, The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur will occupy one of the city’s most desirable addresses in the prestigious Kuala Lumpur Sentral Precinct (KL Sentral). “We are thrilled with the landmark entry of the St. Regis brand into Malaysia. The sustained demand for luxury accommodations, the legendary bespoke service of the St. Regis brand, and the unrivaled location of this hotel in the KL Sentral area will make St. Regis Kuala Lumpur an extremely attractive choice for travelers to this dynamic capital city,” said Mr. Miguel Ko, President for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Asia Pacific. “The growth of international arrivals has remained strong as a result of efforts by the Tourism Authority of Malaysia to promote Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur as a destination for business, leisure and meetings.”

Small Luxury Hotels of the WorldTM (SLH) has appointed travel industry expert Alison Roberts-Brown as Area Director, Asia Pacific.

Customer Services -


The Differentiator

Customer service is the one consistent differentiator in an economy with perceived parity of products and services between competitors -Follow these six (6) management tips to ensure customer service meets your customer’s expectations.


Tip #1: Telephone System When was the last time you evaluated your telephone system? Industry studies prove the telephone remains the most common method customers choose to communicate with suppliers. Do you have an automated system that can drive customers crazy because they have to choose from a menu? People want to speak to a live person. Going thru a list of options can be annoying. Take the time to check out your system and how your customers feel about it. Tip #2: E-mail The convenience and universal acceptance of E-mail by customers and vendors is obvious. The main problem is: customers send E-mail to individuals, e.g., orders, RFQ’s, and questions go to individual Customer Service/ Inside Sales reps. Vendor responses often

do too. When the recipient is not available, how can you ensure timely response if only the individual recipient can access his/her E-mail? Consider this: Customer E-mail is sent to one general E-mail box accessible to all. Individuals pick up their own messages. When someone is out, another person is assigned to pick up and respond to that person’s E-mail. To ensure proprietary E-mail only goes to intended recipients, e.g., managers, intra-company E-mail, work groups or teams, separate E-mail addresses are established. Tip #3: Call Your Company One customer service principle goes like this: “Pay attention to the details. It is often little things that cause customers to seek another supplier like what happens to them when they call you. Additionally, call several times to determine if you get the same price and service from different people. It is not uncommon to have different interpretations of the same pricing system by inside sales people. Managing your pricing system more effectively can often add as much as two points of margin.

Tip #4: Customer Satisfaction Surveys How many lost or inactive customers did you have in the past 12 months? Why did they become inactive? When customers take their business elsewhere, there’s usually a good reason. Check out these quotes: “We consistently lose 35% of our customers annually and 30% of our existing customers are new annually.” “In the past 2 years, we have lost over 50% of our accounts. It’s the big customers that hurt most, but we’re losing all types and sizes to competitors. Many of them didn’t even exist a few years ago.” “We wipe inactive customers off the files once a year. It’s too depressing to look at them.” Industry studies prove it costs five times more to get new customers than it does to retain existing accounts. A customer-focused service strategy is needed to earn loyalty through customer satisfaction and prevent lost accounts. Instead of just listening to informal, inconsistent feedback from field sales and other employees, create an

suppliers who answer calls and take orders at my convenience!”

Tip #5: Service

All require managers to put customer focused performance measures in place and periodically conduct customer satisfaction surveys. Make sure that you have a specific documented customer service strategy that includes process and structure that encompasses all phases of service excellence.

Your Customers View of

Some typical customer comments: “I can’t write ten (10) POs at $45.00 each just to buy from you! You need to eliminate that cost or we’ll go elsewhere!” “You’ve got the best product mix and Inside Sales people. You deliver complete and on time! That’s the good news. The bad news is: in the past 30 days, you sent us 300 invoices. We need a full-time clerk to process them! We can’t afford to do business like this!” “Whenever I call, your line is busy. If I leave Voice Mail, I don’t know if or when you’ll call back or if I’ll be here when you do. I want

examples demonstrate business and practice problems. All are the control of front-line personnel the purview of managers.

Tip #6: Customer-Focused Measures Though companies typically measure sales and profit contributions, customer-focused performance measures are different. They prove how your services affect customers. Not to be confused with sales measures, customer-focused measures explain reasons for lost sales, retention problems, timeconsuming and costly complaints, and costredundancies. These measures ‘benchmark’ performance from the customers standpoint, i.e., the one whose opinion counts!

3. 4. 5.

6. 7.


Order size The phone system – number of calls per sales person, dropped calls, time on hold, number of voice mails, time of call backs % of on-time delivery of the right quantity and the right product to the right place of blanket orders, contract, or special agreements, all other orders Telephone, Email, Voice Mail and FAX measures to prove how well inbound contacts are managed

What you measure proves your commitment to service excellence and what you expect of your employees. Employees pay attention to things that are measured and tend to ignore things that are not. (Hawthorne effect) When customer-focused performance measures are used, your employees know exactly what you mean by service excellence.

Consider these metrics to support service excellence. 1.

number of order errors by type and frequency and person responsible, e.g., wrong item, too much, too little, order

Rick Johnson, expert speaker, wholesale distribution’s “Leadership Strategist”, founder of CEO Strategist, LLC a firm that helps clients create and maintain competitive advantage. Need a speaker for your next event, E-mail . Don’t forget to check out the Lead Wolf Series that can help you put more profit into your business


Customer service is not confined to front line personnel. Front line services, and the personnel who deliver them, are “products” of strategic issues addressed by top management. Many surveys indicate that customers see a need for better internal operations for order handling, improved customer service with outside and inside sales, and better awareness of cost controls and how they affect price.

2. These process beyond and are

taking error, order entry error, freight error, etc. number of returns (Credits) due to distributor error, e.g., damaged goods, defective products, etc. number of back orders number of expedites number of partial shipments


annual customer satisfaction survey by mail supplemented with telephone calls. What do your really customers think of you? Ask them! Make no mistake; the “Voice of the Customer” is critical to creating and maintaining service excellence.





The Value of


from Within



You have a supervisory or management role within your organization. You are considering moving a server to an assistant manager position in a restaurant or moving a front desk agent to a shift supervisor or manager at your hotel? Is this the right decision? Or, should you open a search for someone outside your organization? In the hospitality business, most managers come from within a company’s own ranks. The hospitality industry survives on promotion from within. Unfortunately, the success rate of these managers remains low. Since both individual companies and the industry in general can ill-afford to lose these people, the special problems associated with transition of a line employee to management must be addressed. The Challenges of Promoting From Within A big problem of promoting people from line positions to management involves the employee’s own expectations. Often, the person wishing to be considered for promotion has an inaccurate perception of the management function and is merely dreaming about more money, longer lunch hours, better benefits, more authority, and status symbols like a private office and special parking spot. Be certain your candidates for promotion have a clear and realistic understanding of the job of a manager. It is a career change and involves entirely different skills and responsibilities, many of which they may not want to assume. The responsibility that comes from a management position does not suit every person who works in your organization. A second problem in promoting from within is the difficulty many existing managers

have in selecting the proper candidates. The best worker is often promoted on the false assumption that someone who does the job well must also be able to manage people effectively. However, the best food server is not necessarily going to be the best restaurant manager and the best front desk agent does not always make the best front office manager. Unfortunately, promoting good employees into positions about which they know nothing seems to be the rule rather than the exception in hotels and restaurants. Some feel the hospitality industry epitomizes the “Peter Principle” – where people are continually promoted until they reach a point where they can no longer perform well, and there they stay.

The Complexity of the Process The fact is that the skills required to be good on the line are not the same skills that is takes to be a successful manager. Since line employee don’t use supervisory skills like leadership, discipline, and delegating, it is extremely difficult to identify potential managers from among their ranks. With all the research and study that has been done, we still don’t have a proven list of traits of a successful manager. Looking at performance reviews isn’t very helpful, since, as we’ve seen, just being good at a current job

An important step in the promotion process is a clear paper trail. Without adequate documentation of the reasons surrounding each promotion – made at the time of the promotion – it is virtually impossible to go back later and justify the decisions that were made.

Although there are no foolproof methods of determining who will make a good manager, there are some observable characteristics that may help you recognize potential leaders. Good candidates should: •

• • •

• • •

Be able to cope with unfamiliar situations, deal with problems impartially, and ask for help when it is needed. Be able to act without having everything spelled out for them. Be open minded, tolerant, and unbiased. Admit their mistakes and accept the consequences rather than trying to blame others. Be good team players, tactful, and sensitive to others. Be calm and competent, rather than moody or volatile. Have physical stamina for the job.

Look around your department, organization, or team. Which server or front desk agent has potential? Don’t overlook those who speak out or even complain frequently.

The fact is that the skills required to be good on the line are not the same skills that it takes to be a successful manager. When It Works, It Works Well Promoting people from within can develop pride and loyalty in an organization. Employees see that the company cares to develop its people, support them, and provide room for growth. Employees who desire such a career path are encouraged and eager to see how they can follow a similar path. Plus, promoting from within provides you with someone who is familiar with your organizational culture. The learning curve is enhanced because a new person would have to learn operational functions prior to becoming a productive and effective leader. A server that is promoted would know the operational functions, the system, and the people allowing them to become effective in a shorter period of time.

Often, they have a strong interest in the department’s success, the drive to make change happen, and extensive job knowledge – all qualities that might be indicative of leadership ability.Ask around. Get the opinions of managers in different departments that interact with your staff. Ask your own supervisors. They have more knowledge of the people who report to them, and their ratings may be closer to the mark than yours. Talk to other line employees, since their judgments may also be very accurate. Cooks know a lot about food servers for example.


A wrong choice can be costly both from the standpoint of training and from the damage done to the department. The company loses all the way around – it loses one of its best workers when it promotes the employee and it loses productivity in the department because of lower morale and higher turnover when the person performs poorly as a manager. Ultimately, everything is lost in the investment of the employee if they leave.

The promotion process can be very complex. Choices may be limited to the candidates who will be ready for promotion at the right time. One may have just bought a house and be unwilling to transfer. Another may have a sick spouse or other dependent. Some may have been recently moved to a new position while others have no back-ups to replace them if they moved out. In some cases, selection is based on the candidate’s need to pick up experience in a specific area as a part of management’s overall succession plan. This far-from-complete list begins to illustrate the complexity of the promotion process and all the issues involved.

Spotting Potential Managers


A third problem of promoting someone from within is the individual’s ability to separate their “friendships” from their new role. Many employees form relationships with their fellow line employees. Servers form friendships with each other, just like housekeepers and front desk agents do. In accepting a new role as supervisor, will this person be able to separate their role as manager and friend? Will those they lead accept their role as supervisor? Does the promoted supervisor have the ability to make decisions, even if the consequences don’t favor their friends?

doesn’t always make a person promotable. More often, a variety of other factors must be considered. If a department has a particular problem, an attempt may be made to promote someone who has skill in that area.

Try asking your own employees, “If I were going away for two weeks, who do you think should run the department?” Or, “who would you go to for help in a tough situation?” Or, “which person in the department is the best at handling people?” You may be surprised how accurate and objective they can be. Career Pathing



Personal growth and development and job satisfaction have become serious priorities for today’s workforce. Managers are dealing with more and more employees who want to transfer, be promoted, or change careers. Some have the abilities to do so and some don’t. In either case, managers need to handle their inquiries properly to keep workers motivated in their jobs, to provide them with meaningful assistance, and to help the company by developing people to their full potential.

In career pathing, the manager deals with employees who wish to move up or to another job within the organization. The employee usually takes the first step by going to his or her immediate supervisor, because most initial moves will take place within the same functional area. The employer’s role is providing information and guidance about company needs. Inquiries of this kind should never have any negative consequences and must be handled in a serious manner, since the employee is obviously concerned. Experienced managers know that true career success involves a sense of belonging to the organization, doing meaningful work, feeling good about oneself, having some control over one’s environment, and developing individual abilities – much of which can be accomplished within the existing job. Be sure your employees are recognized and know their work is important and appreciated.

Experienced managers know that true career success involves a sense of belonging to the organization, doing meaningful work, feeling good about oneself, having some control over one’s environment, and developing individual abilities – much of which can be accomplished within the existing job. A clear and important distinction has to be made between career pathing (or career planning) and life planning. Life planning includes setting down long-term financial, family, religious, and other goals beyond the company’s scope. Furthermore, when employees really don’t know what they want to do in terms of career growth, it isn’t the manager’s place to decide for them. In that case, the best approach may be to refer the person to a professional career counselor.

Adapted from Managing Human Resources in the Hospitality Industry by David Wheelhouse, CHRE (Educational Institute of the AH&LA, Lansing, M, 1989). For more informaion on the SOCIETY FOR HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT, visit our website or call us at 616 457-3646. David Wheelhouse, CHRE, is an industry veteran who has spent over 25 years in hospitality human resouces, most recently as theVice President of Administration or the Woodlands Operating Company in The Woodlands, Texas For informaion on having Davidspeak or work with your organization, contact the Society for Hospitality Management. Chris Longstreet, CHA, is President & CEO of the Society for Hospitality Management. Chris is also a vising instructor for the Hospitality & Tourism Management Program at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.





From A Five-Star School Principal

For five years now I’ve had the privilege of being a parent-volunteer at my children’s public school, which is Hollywood Hills Elementary in Hollywood, FL. Now I might be a little biased in saying that this is the best elementary school anywhere, since Mrs. Roberts is my personal hero, but I do have lots of evidence to make the case that our school is one of the best in our state if not nation. For example, Florida has assigned a lettergrade to each school, based on its students performance on the annual standardized testing we call FCAT, and HHE has achieved the highest-possible (“A”) rating every single year since the program was launched! The state also awards a “Five Star” award for schools that also excel as a community, for example by having an active volunteer base, community/local business involvement, and student community service, and for the past 9 years HHE has also achieved this award too. Like hotels, absolute excellence in schools is neither accident nor coincidence, but rather the result of energetic, in-touch leaders who

inspire those around them to reach for even higher levels of performance. This is certainly the case with our school’s longstanding successes, thanks to the dedicated and passionate leadership of our very special Principal, Mrs. Vered Roberts. Having watched Mrs. Roberts in action for five years now, I’ve often told her that when she retires from her career in school administration she would make a fantastic hotel general manager! But since she loves her job and won’t be leaving anytime soon, perhaps our industry’s hotel general managers and other leaders can benefit from exposure to some of her “best practices” (although I’m certain she doesn’t call them that!) •

Highly Visibility. Mrs. Roberts always seems to be around, especially at key moments. I’ve often called her our “omnipresent Principal” because she seems to somehow be everywhere at once. For example, she can be seen personally overseeing morning drop-

off and afternoon dismissal, sending off the field-trip buses, and stopping by to speak at all school assemblies or PTA meetings. But beyond these scheduled times she just always somehow seems to be around when you need her. Like a good General Manager, Mrs. Roberts mostly manages our school from its hallways, corridors and classrooms, not from behind her desk in her office. •

Excels at Hospitality Communications Essentials. Mrs. Roberts greets everyone first, always with a smile and usually by name despite that we have 800 kids in our school. She never starts a conversation without first asking how you are doing, and she has an uncanny ability to remember everyone’s “story” such as “How was your recent business trip to New York?” or “Is your wife finished with her big project yet?” Shows gratitude. Even in the hospitality industry, I can’t think of anyone who is better at sending thank you notes and

personally expressing gratitude in other ways than our Mrs. Roberts. She seems to understand that great leaders always humbly attribute their successes to those on their team, and I’ve heard her deflect credit for her successes to her great teaching staff, the administrative office, our children, the parents, and our PTA volunteers, but never once to take credit personally. •

Makes Sure Our School Is A Good Neighbor. Mrs. Roberts knows that like a hotel a school must be a good neighbor in its community. Sometimes this means balancing the needs of the school with the needs of those living in the homes surrounding it. Especially in recent years with our school’s expansion project generating construction noise and traffic, Mrs. Roberts has at time had to make some tough decisions whereby no one party got exactly what they wanted but the decision was made for the collective good of all parties. Besides those in our immediate neighborhood, Mrs. Roberts also encourages our PTA and school to participate in fundraisers and other community events important to our city and county.

Although we could definitely use an extraordinary leader like Mrs. Roberts in the hotel industry, and she would make a great hotel General Manager, I’m thankful that she’s fully dedicated to her profession which is making a huge contribution every day to the education and quality of life of our school’s children, including my own. I know I’ve personally learned much about leadership by seeing her in action, and I hope readers find relevance in her exemplary actions as I continue to do every school day.

Supports Her Staff When The Chips Are Down. Part of being a great leader is being able to inspire loyalty from your team, and the best way to do that is to support their honest and best efforts through good times and bad. Since Mrs. Roberts is so in-touch with her teaching staff, she knows firsthand how each

Since 1996 Doug has been a regular contributor to the lodging industry’s number one rated publication, , where he has been a regular monthly columnist since 2001. Visit for details or e-mail him at:


Handles complaints well. Once in my five years as a school parent I had a single complaint about our school. (Not a bad track record considering that many years!) Knowing how many parents unjustly voice undeserved complaints, it was with reluctance that I complained at all. Yet this incident, although minor and non-intentional, was a bruise to my ego and a little egg on my face as a parent, so I really felt I needed to voice my compliant. Within minutes after I left a message with her administrative assistant, Mrs. Roberts returned my call and not only listened to my complaint in detail, which alone gave me validation, but she managed to support her staff’s position while still expressing empathy for my situation and circumstance.

Part of being a great leader is being able to inspire loyalty from your team, and the best way to do that is to support their honest and best efforts through good times and bad. HOSPITALITY MALDIVES

Door is always open. Despite how busy she might be running our large school while simultaneously overseeing the major construction involved with its expansion, when you really need Mrs. Roberts she’s guaranteed to be there. Most of my meetings with her have been impromptu ones, but when our children have had occasional issues/challenges over the years, Mrs. Roberts’ agenda has always been open for a meeting on one day I am in town or can sneak away from work.

is performing. In recent years I have more than once seen a top member of the teaching staff have to face undue criticism and scrutiny by the board of education for what I have happened to know firsthand to be completely unjust reasons. In both cases Mrs. Roberts was the voice of reason and returned her staff’s loyalty by standing up for these extraordinarily adored teachers until their reputations where cleared and their actions upheld.

How To

Lose a Customer



for Life

My friend Benny told me about a local restaurant that serves a variety of Chinese dim sum dishes. He went there with five friends for a business lunch and ordered widely from the menu. Each dish featured six bite-sized items, one per person. Most of the food was delicious, but one tofu dish did not measure up. All six diners popped the tofu into their mouths. Then all six turned up their noses at the taste. The tofu had gone rancid. Tofu disintegrates pretty quickly in the mouth, so everyone swallowed hard and reached quickly for their drinks to wash away the taste. The waitress apologized right away and promised to tell the owner. Better-tasting dishes soon followed. But when the bill was presented at the end of the meal, the tofu dish was still included! The waitress apologized again and referred to the restaurant owner. The owner appeared and defended the bill. ‘But you ate the tofu,’ he said, ‘so we still have to charge you. If the tofu was no good, why did you eat all six pieces?’ Despite their protests, the tofu remained on the bill.

And that was restaurant by ers…or their their business

the last bill ever paid at that any of the six lunchtime dinfamilies…or their friends…or associates.

Now, what should the owner have done? Provide free desserts or a round of free drinks for everyone at the table? Immediately remove the tofu from the bill? Apologize personally and thank the group for their valuable feedback? Promise to alert the chef immediately, and do so? Upon departure, give each of the six diners a business card from the restaurant with a hand-signed promise from the owner for ‘Six delicious and fresh tofu dim sum…free anytime within the next two months’? All of the above?

Key Learning Point Occasionally things do go sour. When it happens to you, fix the problem fast. Make it your speed, generosity and concern that gets remembered. Not the trouble, or the tofu.

Action Steps Develop a service recovery policy and display it with pride. Let your customers know: if something goes wrong, you will make it right.

This approach would help ensure that each diner returned in the near future, giving the restaurant – and the tofu – another chance. But no one eats just tofu. So there would be another round of lunchtime bills to pay by each diner…and their families…and their friends…and their business associates.

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






With Your Hotel Web Site?

Spent Too Much with Poor Results? Hotel sales and marketing has changed a lot in recent years. A decade ago, we dreamed that the Internet would become a new, exciting, and cost-effective, way to produce needed room business. For some hotels, that dream became a reality; many hotels report 50% or more of their total room business is now coming through their web sites. But, for many other hoteliers, the dream is fading. Every week, I hear from hotel owners and managers who express their frustration with the lack of sales results from their web sites. Almost universally, their disappointment stems from the fact that their sites were set-up for failure by improper design by web masters who simply don’t understand search engines or how to sell rooms on the internet. An all-too-common experience I spoke to a hotel owner the other day who expressed a fairly typical account of her experience with the Web. She spent $5000 to have a site designed for her hotel and an additional $7000 in search engine optimization efforts; all with just mediocre

results. The designer never spent a day in the hotel industry and the site reflected it. They designed a beautiful brochure; but a pretty bad selling piece. This experience is too common in our industry. All too often, we have the blind leading the blind; hoteliers who judge their sites by how good they look instead of how well they work and site designers who know nothing about hotel marketing or how search engines work. Some of them are even designing entire sites in flash; a certain recipe for disaster. There are some excellent designers out there; people who know how to apply all the necessary elements to produce a marketable hotel web site. Using some due diligence to find the right designer is well worth the investment of time and effort. Do they know as much about hotel marketing as they know about building a web site?

Here’s how to determine if you’ve found the wrong designer: 1.

When a designer tells you that all you need is SEO, as the first solution to your non-productive site, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.


When a designer wants to produce your site in flash because it looks cool, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.


When a designer uses more graphics than text content, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.


When a designer suggests using cute terminology for site navigation links, like ‘lobby’ for home page, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.


When a designer has placed lots of outgoing links prominently on your home page, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.


When a designer thinks that the number of ‘unique visitors’ or ‘hits’ on your site is the true measure of success, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.

But there are still many wrong designers who charge exorbitant fees and have no clue how to build an effective hotel web site.


When a designer charges $100 per hour, but passes the design job on to a $15 per hour associate, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.

12. When a designer tells you that you don’t need a ‘real-time’ online booking engine, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.


When a designer uses the same title and description tags on all your site’s pages, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.

13. When a designer is wearing a beanie with a propeller on top, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.


When a designer wants to use words like ‘cost’ and ‘price’ in your site’s text, instead of ‘rates’, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.

10. When a designer spends more time and effort on cool graphics instead of writing effective sales text, you’ve probably found the wrong designer. 11. When a designer forgets to put your hotel’s address or location on your site, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.

14. When a designer thinks ‘link strategy’ refers to sausage, you’ve probably found the wrong designer. The actual content of your site is extremely important from a search and a sales information delivery standpoint; it’s a twostep process. It’s wonderful that good sales content will result in more visitors and more reservations from those who visit. Would you, no could you, be content with only converting 3 or 4 reservations from every one hundred visitors to your site?

That’s about average for most hotel web sites with a booking engine. The mission is to increase the number of visitors and to increase the percentage of visitors who make a reservation directly on your site; now you’re cooking. The Internet is not simply hype; your hotel site can produce a substantial contribution to your overall room revenue. For those of you who have read some of my other articles, you can now find all of them on my web site; give me your feed-back, I’d love to hear from you.

Neil Salerno, CHME, CHA Hotel Marketing Coach,


Who’s Got

The Monkey Now?



Part 2:How To Make Delegation Work For You

In my earlier article “Who’s Got The Monkey Now? How To Find Out How Well You Manage Your Time”, I suggested that you may be caring for a cageful of monkeys (other people’s problems) unless you are managing your time effectively, and in particular delegating. For managers, there are two key aspects to successful delegation:

Managers who are successful are always good at delegating. Less successful managers, when asked why they don’t delegate more, often reply • • •

• •

Having people to whom one can delegate, and Selecting the most appropriate tasks to delegate

If you are not a manager, or do not have anyone to delegate to, then I suggest the excellent article by Beth Schneider (http:// e z i n e a r t i c l e s . c o m / ? H o w- t o - D e l e g a t e W h e n -T h e r e - i s - N o - O n e - t o - D e l e g a t e To&id=141500). The key to delegation is to develop within your people, the “initiative to take action” so that they learn to develop their skills and knowledge to their full potential.

“If only my staff were more experienced” or, “I don’t have enough faith in my staff to do the job properly” or, “Delegation. Sounds great in theory, but I need to have fully trained staff and I don’t have the time to train them”.

If some of these comments sound familiar to you, then the following steps will show you how to: • •

Identify the current “level of initiative” of each of your team members. Use the “level of initiative” ranking with your team to further develop their skills and knowledge.

When delegating, it is important to fit the task to the person and to ensure the reason for delegating is appropriate. Firstly, let’s look at the person. Is it possible to delegate to all your team members? For delegation

purposes, team members may be classified as those who: 1. 2.




Wait until he or she is told what to do. Do what is necessary, but refer to their manager or supervisor all problems or slightly unusual issues for a decision. Refer all problems or unusual occurrences for a decision, but when doing so recommend appropriate action. Take action on problems as they occur and then immediately report on the action taken. Take action on all issues and problems on his her own initiative and then report periodically on progress.

Less successful managers keep their team members at the second level, i.e. •

Do what is necessary, but refer to their supervisor all problems or slightly unusual issues for a decision.

by not encouraging them to make recommendations on problems or issues the encounter. As a consequence, their people

rarely develop the knowledge or skills they need to become fully competent. Successful managers quickly move all their people through to at least level three i.e. •

Refer all problems or unusual occurrences for a decision, but when doing so recommend appropriate action.

When people are at level three, they are always looking for solutions rather than just stating the problem. Not only do they look for solutions, but when they do bring a problem to you, they bring their recommended solution. Wouldn’t your life as a manager be so much easier if all your people did this? Successful managers then move individual staff from level three through levels four and five depending on the particular team member’s skill and how quickly they can gain the necessary experience.

The key to delegation is to develop within your people, the “initiative to take action” so that they learn to develop their skills and knowledge to their full potential. Let’s now look at the second aspect of delegation – tasks that may be delegated. Tasks suitable for delegation include: • • • •

Minor and repetitive decisions. Tasks you are expert in and that others should learn. Tasks for which you are least qualified, but that others could learn. Tasks you dislike, provided someone else likes them (delegation should not be an excuse to dump unpleasant tasks). Tasks that add variety and interest to another person’s role. Tasks that will increase the number of people who can perform critical assignments.

What level do you believe you are at now on each of your major job responsibilities? How can you move to the next level?

Which tasks could you delegate? Remember these remain part of your job and while you can delegate responsibility for them, you remain accountable for each.

Using this approach, managers can then be very clear about which aspects of a person’s job the team member can take initiative on, and how much initiative they may take. It is also a great opportunity to talk about training and development strategies to help move people to the next level on particular job responsibilities. In this way, you know exactly who within your team, you can delegate certain tasks to and most importantly, how they will respond.

One of the questions I am often asked by managers is

I have developed a Delegation Matrix of the five Levels of Initiative which I have been using with practicing managers for many years. If you would like a free copy, please contact me via au .

“How do I keep track of what’s been delegated?”

If you use the Levels of Initiative protocol by discussing and agreeing each person’s permitted level of initiative, you will note that levels 3,4 & 5 all have built in reporting mechanisms. Make sure you agree how these will operate with your people. Following the guidelines outlined here, will allow you to release some of your monkeys back to where they can be cared for and fed by others – your team!

Bob Selden is the Managing Director of the National Learning Institute. He has been an HRD consultant for over 30 years, prior to which he was a line manager in a fi nancial organisation. He is an Australian currently living in Switzerland and is a part time member of faculty at the International Management Development Institute in Lausanne and the Australian Graduate School of Management in Sydney . You can contact Bob at



Many successful managers take this one step further by involving their team members in the process of “developing initiative”. For instance, they explain the five-step “level of initiative” process to them and then ask:





ADAARAN Resorts celebrate the awards won by Maldives and ADAARAN at the World Travel Awards 2008



ADAARAN Resorts celebrated the winning of the ‘Indian Ocean’s leading destination’ award by the Republic of Maldives and the ‘Maldives Leading Water Villas’ award by ADAARAN ‘Prestige’ Water Villas at the World Travel Awards 2008, held in Shanghai, China. The evening of felicitation for the Ministry of Tourism, Maldives Tourism Promotion Board and the Management and staff of ADAARAN Prestige Water Villas, was held at the ADAARAN ‘Select’ Hudhuran Fushi. The function was attended by the Hon. Deputy Minister of Tourism, senior officials from the Tourism Ministry and Maldives Tourism Promotion Board (MTPB) and the Deputy Chairman and the Board of ADAARAN resorts. Adaaran ‘Prestige’ Water Villas, won the ‘Maldives Leading Water Villas’ award while Maldives lead the way in the Indian Oceans category bagging 8 awards at the inaugural World Travel Awards Asia and Indian Ocean Ceremony which was held on 19th June, 2008 in China. This most sought after awards programme spotlights the ‘best of the best’ and are considered the ‘Oscars’ of the global travel & tourism industry.

The World Travel Awards were launched in 1993 to acknowledge and recognize excellence in the world’s travel and tourism industry. The awards are regarded as the very highest achievement that a travel or hotel product could ever aspire to receive. Travel professionals from 167,000 travel agencies, tour and transport companies and tourism organizations in over 160 countries cast thousands of votes across the globe in order to select the winners of the awards. Speaking after receiving the award, Mr. Chethiya Perera, CEO/MD of Adaaran Resorts, Maldives, had this to say, “Most of the international hotel brands are present in the Maldives and everyone competes to provide the best level of luxury. At Adaaran, we differ ourselves by providing our valued guests “unique concepts” offering luxury and the highest standards, in fulfilling their personal preferences. At Adaaran Prestige, guests tailor-make their own, holiday and we deliver it”. Situated on Meedhupparu Island in Raa Atoll, the 20 luxury water villas are the epitome of what one could wish for and offer unparalleled comfort and pampering to the most discerning traveller. Each suite has been made with meticulous attention to detail by

a French interior designer to satisfy guest’s every requirement in offering total comfort and luxury. The spacious villas are equipped with private Jacuzzis on their open sun decks, large screen LCD TV, home theatre system, a collection of DVD s to select from and an espresso machine amongst many other facilities and amenities of internationally renowned brands that contribute in making this a luxury boutique resort. The Water Villas are complimented with an exclusive over water restaurant, bar and an infinity swimming pool located within a beautifully landscaped garden. The guests have a variety of facilities such as a Balinese spa, Ayurveda treatment centre, authentic Chinese reflexology, diving, snorkelling, water sports and different types of excursions to choose from, amongst the usual facilities such as the gym, sauna, tennis, discotheques and daily entertainment. The Asian and Indian Ocean ceremony was a part of The World Travel Awards Grand Tour, with regional awards staged throughout the world, ending with a Grand Finale at Turks & Caicos in the Caribbean on 12 December 2008.

For media queries or for more information please contact: Adaaran Resorts, Mr. M. U. Lantra, General Manager Marketing, 7th Floor A, S.T.O. Aifaanu Building, Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Male’, Republic of Maldives, Mobile: +960 779 4055, (+94) 0777 31555, Office: +960 334 3867 / 332 3323, Fax: +960 331 5237 Email:,

Shangri-La Hotels And Resorts Voted “Top Chain” By Sunday Times Travel Readers


Sunday Times Travel was launched in 2003 as an up-market consumer travel magazine, published under the auspices of the Sunday Times national newspaper. “The typical Sunday Times Travel reader enjoys the finer things in life and is a sophisticated

and seasoned traveller,” says Editor Ed Grenby. Sunday Times Travel is purchased by approximately 50,000 travel enthusiasts each month. Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts currently owns and/or manages 55 hotels under the Shangri-La and Traders brands with a rooms inventory of over 28,000. Shangri-La hotels are five-star deluxe properties featuring extensive luxury facilities and services. Shangri-La hotels are located in Australia, mainland China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. The group has over 50 projects under development in Austria, Canada,

mainland China, France, India, Japan, Macau, Maldives, Philippines, Qatar, Seychelles, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States. For more information or reservations, please contact a travel professional or access the website at

PRESS CONTACT: Elizabeth A. DeMotte, Vice President - Public Relations, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, Tel: (852) 2599 3323 Fax: (852) 2599 3374, E-mail:, Website:


Readers of Britain’s Sunday Times Travel magazine have “attested by an avalanche of votes for hotels in the chain” that ShangriLa Hotels and Resorts, Asia Pacific’s leading luxury hotel group, is their “Top Chain” worldwide for luxury accommodation. Over 3,000 readers of the monthly magazine responded online to a call to vote for their favourite hotel, agency and destination by endorsing individually listed candidates and volunteering others.

“I just came across four issues of Hospitality Maldives and l must confess after working in Jersey (Channels Islands UK) and Kenya this is the best Hospitality Magazine that l have come across in my years of Hospitality. It is informative, educational and dare l say almost like sitting in a class of Gurus.” Larry Mvoi, Front Office Manager, Irufushi Beach Resort & Spa




“I have been reading every copy of each issue since 3rd or 4th issue. Each edition is very educative and we must appreciate what you are doing to improve the industry and eventually our life as hospitality starts from our very own homes. Reading Hospitality Maldives has enhanced my knowledge and help me stretch my mind and thinking. I really think you are doing a great job and its nice to see passionate people in our community (rare). Mocham Shiham, Reservations Department, Kanuhura

Hospitality Maldives Issue 20  
Hospitality Maldives Issue 20  

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