If you’ve read an article in an international journal about service recovery from disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, you’ll probably agree with the observations of one group of scientists who described efforts to recover lost hotel services as a fruitless, back-breaking mission. The report concluded that recovery efforts should focus on human resources, rather than on infrastructure. Some might say that’s a bit backward. After all, the infrastructure is one aspect of disaster recovery that needs to be recovered as quickly as possible. You don’t want to lose all of the communications equipment in a disaster!
I’d like to suggest, however, that the American public shouldn’t give up on their hotel service recovery efforts until management commitment is at least recognized. Management’s first responsibility must be to ensure that top priorities like guest satisfaction and quality of operations are addressed. After that? It should be easy to accomplish.
If you take that approach, then recovery doesn’t have to include many costly endeavors. But even if management takes an approach that does include many costly endeavors, they can’t be avoided. Some of those endeavors include: restoring lost hotel guest experience; restoring lost or damaged service quality; and, of course, monetary cost. When you compare costs of various types of disaster preparedness, such as guest relations, guest facilities and other aspects of the operation against costs of emergency preparedness and disaster response, you may very well find that the extra expense makes little difference. (It really depends on the local economy.)
In other words, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to restore the guest experience in case of a disaster. You also don’t need to spend a lot of money to improve service quality. There’s no question that there will be some losses and some work that need to be done after a disaster, but in most cases, a hotelier has much more options available than the client in the event of a disaster. In most cases, the hotelier can evaluate these options before a crisis occurs. When you create a journal for monitoring your hotel service quality performance, then you are creating a document that will be useful in evaluating the relative strengths and weaknesses of your business judgment.
Why do we say that high-performance work engagement is a reliable indicator of a successful recovery effort? First, high-performance work engagement provides a useful benchmarking tool. We know from Schaufeli (1990) that the relationship between human resource management expectations and performance is a strong predictor of the results that managers get. Second, we know that there are many different types of performance. We recognize that there is a performance in human resources that is not easily measured. Finally, we know that high-performance work engagement is related to higher levels of perceived authority, higher levels of managerial responsibility and a higher level of worker cooperation.
So how do you create a successful hotel service diary? The first step is to be able to define one. Next, you need a system in place to track it. Most important, you need to be able to document the results of your high-performance work. I recommend using a desk calendar for this. A good way to organize your entries and reminders is to group similar events or activities under separate headings or tags so you can easily find them when you need to review what you’ve done.