I have just returned from a trip to Australia. A journey incorporating both business, in the form of a sales trip, and leisure with a much needed holiday! The leisure time provided great revitalisation and an opportunity to reflect, but as a self-professed workaholic, it was also a brilliant opportunity to experience a host of accommodation and tourist attractions. With the hospitality and tourism industry running through my blood, I am sure many of you will identify with my admission that it is hard not to examine the service standards, product offering and other aspects of these businesses. The consequence of my holiday and my active psyche being, that I am not only revitalised but also full of ideas for blog posts!
I suppose your now wondering as to the title of this blog post. Please be rest assured that this isn’t my normal choice of language, it is in fact the phrase used by a tourism employee on a well-known Brisbane attraction that astonished me so much that I feel necessitated to share the story with you.
The cruise we decided to experience, had two options, one included lunch or ticket only. We had already enjoyed lunch elsewhere, so decided to take the ticket only option. When we were boarding, we were allocated a table set for lunch by the maitre’d, we presumed just the process for listening to the safety briefing. Once we started to set sail, the maitre’d proceeded to come and explain to each table about the buffet. When he came to our table, he checked his sheet and highlighted that we hadn’t paid for the buffet option and went on to tell us that he was the only person onboard that knew what ticket we had and to help ourselves to the buffet. Finishing off the conversation by saying; ‘It’s not my business, I don’t really give a f**k.’
Above and beyond my first feeling of sheer disappointment in his language and conduct, this incident and other responses we received as consumers during the trip really did reassert the importance of communicating and marketing internally to employees as well as externally.
I feel the basis of internal marketing and communication should be through clearly established core values. These core values are not rules, policies and procedures; they should set the basic moral beliefs that are the foundation of your business. Without having these core values clearly defined, how can you create a team culture and truly expect employees to understand your business.
One method of communicating these core values I found very positive in my time at St Clair Beach Resort, was through introducing a structured induction programme based around inspiring as well as informing. A concept I gleaned from changes in attitude by the HR team at my time at Gleneagles.
Whilst the induction process at Gleneagles was always thorough, it was very much based around information, not necessarily experience or inspiration. Fundamentally, the changes put into effect saw new employees treated to breakfast in the main dining room, guest activities, encouraged to socialise and get to meet other staff members, the result being, new team members were introduced to the hotel core values through experiencing them rather than simply being told.
Another great mechanism for inspiring and communicating with your team that I have seen in action in a number of environments from multi-national travel companies through to boutique hotels, can be employee forums. A place that employees can feel they are being listened too, either directly or through voted representatives. The forum is also a great opportunity to share financial information about the business that helps employees comprehend where the thousands of dollars they are cashing up each night, goes.
Educating staff around how the business makes money and its associated costs is a great way of encouraging pride in creating savings or increasing sales, however there are risks associated with this. I feel it’s important to be careful to ensure you aren’t too centred on profit and finances; I have seen firsthand how this can negatively motivate with employees believing the business is just about lining the pockets of the owners. Within tourism a good model that I have seen work is to concentrate on the philosophy:
Experience + Brand = Profit
Hopefully some of these suggestions may help you to ensure you’re business is not represented in this way. You might be able to sleep easy knowing you’re employees will always care, or in the terms of my friend from Brisbane, give a f**k.
I hope you found this blog post useful and as always please feel free to leave your own experiences or any comments. Make sure you rate the blog so I know whether you found it helpful. If you did – retweet it, to share it with others.