This book won't win any prizes for design. It practically shouts out "textbook" at you on its unobtrusive cover. It does exactly what it says in its subtitle: that is, it presents the reader with 12 conversations between its author and a dozen leading hoteliers, in the process giving the reader an inkling of what constitutes good management in the hospitality sector.
The 12 interviewees have been plucked carefully from all sectors of the hotel world in order to cover the whole spectrum of operations: from executives of smaller groups, such as Robert Cook of Malmaison and Sir Rocco Forte of Rocco Forte Hotels, via the general manager of London's iconic Claridge's, to the giants of the international branded world, such as Peter Gowers of the InterContinental group.
It's fascinating to see, even on the printed page, how operators like Cook come across as far less corporate than, say, Gowers. Asked to give advice to wannabe hoteliers, they come up with similar nuggets but slightly different phrasing: Cook emphasising "hard work, determination and an undying desire to satisfy the needs of both staff and customers"; Gowers with, "My mantra is that you can accomplish anything if you harness insight, people and money."
The "work hard" advice is pretty much repeated by every interviewee in the book, along with an emphasis on staff motivation and providing career structure for employees. Other areas touched on are complaint handling and accurately identifying the customer market.
There is a certain amount of inevitable repetition in the ground covered, and the question-and-answer format is less than riveting. However, at the end of each interview Chande has delivered a useful summary of key points. So, if you're in a hurry, or revising for exams, this is where you should head.
At Your Service: 12 Elite Hoteliers Share Insights on Hospitality and Leadership
Arima Publishing, £14.99