Has the industry become removed from its basics and littered with too many catchphrases? Mark Walton, GM of Roomzzz in Leeds, considers
"Budget", "limited service", "offer", and "event pricing" - these are all buzz words and phrases but, in reality, what do they actually mean?
Does "budget" mean accommodating a customer's budget, or does it mean the operating company always makes its budget by cost cutting, lowering service standards and generally misleading the customer?
Is "limited service" really what the customer wants, or is this simply all the hotel can provide due to low wages, poor training and a lack of management expertise and focus?
The word "offer" is used by hotels, airlines and holiday companies alike to provide seats and rooms for a reduced price. Yet if you're the third person to log on, you might end up booking at the normal rate, which could well be more expensive than the competition. Or, if you do manage to find an offer rate, you might find yourself at a motorway service area on the M5 rather than the expected stay in Bristol.
With "event pricing", consider a loyal customer who for 51 weeks of the year uses a particular hotel or brand, then the Grand Prix arrives and the room rate triples. What kind of a thank-you is that for their loyal custom?
Even the modern-day general manager has changed his skills. He or she might be articulate and numerate, but they arrive at work after the guests have left and depart before they arrive.
Customers are often left in the hands of a duty manager, usually a young, enthusiastic, junior who spends their shift firefighting throughout the hotel and having running battles with an overstaffed, underskilled kitchen brigade. But at least the general manager's forecasts are always accurate.
I cannot think of another industry that misleads, undervalues and over-promises as much as ours.
Forget buzz words such as "market share" and "out of the box", why not grab a piece of plain paper and simply note down what the customer wants? You never know, the buzz words of the future might be "clean room", "courteous staff" and "transparent rates".
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